Environmental specialists are experts in natural science who are responsible for monitoring the environmental impact of a population, identifying environmental problems, and recommending measures to solve these issues. These scientists perform various duties and responsibilities that include overseeing field examinations and reporting hazard materials and locations, evaluating environmental health concerns, and investigating preparing reports related to environmental issues. Environmental specialists are also responsible for consulting with agencies or clients about an issue or situation and working with other companies to reduce pollution and waste.

Environmental Specialist Responsibilities

Here are examples of responsibilities from real environmental specialist resumes representing typical tasks they are likely to perform in their roles.

  • Lead the effort for the EHS group to begin to utilize SharePoint to manage documents, communications, and tools.
  • Lead numerous consultation meetings with USACE, BOEM, USCG, NMFS, USFWS and other state and federal agencies.
  • Train employees on corporate and site-specific procedures including pollution prevention, water quality monitoring and protection, and energy reduction measures.
  • Conduct environmental and safety due diligence on industrial facilities of clients to evaluate compliance with applicable OSHA safety guidelines and EPA regulations
  • Arrange for people to get HAZWOPER training.
  • Oversee PSM, PHS, MOC and PSSR's.
  • Update operating procedures to meet PSM requirements.
  • Prepare monthly NPDES reports, quarterly air reports, and monthly SPCC and SWPPP inspections.
  • Perform weekly, monthly and quarterly environmental inspections including hazardous waste, storm water monitoring, SPCC and waste water compliance.
  • Analyze environmental incidents, determine root causes, implement corrective action and communicate this information to plant leadership and corporate EHS.
Environmental Specialist Traits
Analytical skills have to do with gathering information from various sources and then interpreting the data in order to reach a logical conclusion that benefits the business.
Communication skills shows that you are able to relay your thoughts, opinions and ideas clearly to those around you.
Problem-solving skills is the way that one is able to effectively solve a problem in a timely manner.

Environmental Specialist Job Description

Perhaps the hardest question to answer when deciding on a career as an environmental specialist is "should I become an environmental specialist?" You might find this info to be helpful. When compared to other jobs, environmental specialist careers are projected to have a growth rate described as "faster than average" at 8% from 2018 through 2028. This is in accordance with the Bureau of Labor Statistics. What's more, is that the projected number of opportunities that are predicted to become available for a environmental specialist by 2028 is 7,000.

On average, the environmental specialist annual salary is $51,812 per year, which translates to $24.91 an hour. Generally speaking, environmental specialists earn anywhere from $36,000 to $72,000 a year, which means that the top-earning environmental specialists make $36,000 more than the ones at the lower end of the spectrum.

It's hard work to become an environmental specialist, but even the most dedicated employees consider switching careers from time to time. Whether you're interested in a more challenging position or just looking for a fresh start, we've compiled extensive information on becoming a water quality analyst, technical fellow, field scientist, and environmental engineering internship.

Environmental Specialist Jobs You Might Like

Environmental Specialist Resume Examples

Environmental Specialist Skills and Personality Traits

We calculated that 12% of Environmental Specialists are proficient in Procedures, Hazardous Materials, and Environmental Compliance. They’re also known for soft skills such as Analytical skills, Communication skills, and Problem-solving skills.

We break down the percentage of Environmental Specialists that have these skills listed on their resume here:

  • Procedures, 12%

    Instituted testing procedures and identified secondary markets to open additional revenue streams for incoming recycled electronics that retained their functionality.

  • Hazardous Materials, 11%

    Identified and collected hazardous materials to prevent contamination of local aquifers and surrounding water table within Sarasota County.

  • Environmental Compliance, 7%

    Provide support for the Environmental Management Information System (EMIS) database which tracks environmental compliance processes and sustainability metrics Company-wide.

  • Regulatory Agencies, 7%

    Reviewed environmental documentation received from consultants and regulatory agencies to determine the environmental risks associated with collateral considered for securing loans.

  • Facility, 5%

    Investigated environmental complaints involving state and federal Air, Land, and Water regulations Conducted facility inspections for environmental regulatory compliance.

  • EPA, 4%

    Conducted environmental and safety due diligence on industrial facilities of clients to evaluate compliance with applicable OSHA safety guidelines and EPA regulations

"procedures," "hazardous materials," and "environmental compliance" aren't the only skills we found environmental specialists list on their resumes. In fact, there's a whole list of environmental specialist responsibilities that we found, including:

  • The most important skills for an environmental specialist to have in this position are analytical skills. In this excerpt that we gathered from a environmental specialist resume, you'll understand why: "environmental scientists and specialists base their conclusions on careful analysis of scientific data" According to resumes we found, analytical skills can be used by a environmental specialist in order to "organized and implemented water quality studies involving collection and analysis of chemical, micro and macro biological samples. "
  • While it may not be the most important skill, we found that many environmental specialist duties rely on communication skills. This example from a environmental specialist explains why: "environmental scientists and specialists may need to present and explain their findings to audiences of varying backgrounds and write technical reports." This resume example is just one of many ways environmental specialists are able to utilize communication skills: "managed projects and cross-organizational communications regarding hazmat regulatory processes, specifically dg in commercial air transport. "
  • Problem-solving skills is also an important skill for environmental specialists to have. This example of how environmental specialists use this skill comes from a environmental specialist resume, "environmental scientists and specialists try to find the best possible solution to problems that affect the environment and people’s health." Read this excerpt from a resume to understand how vital it is to their everyday roles and responsibilities, "answered and resolved complaints on water quality and open burning. "
  • See the full list of environmental specialist skills.

    After discovering the most helpful skills, we moved onto what kind of education might be helpful in becoming an environmental specialist. We found that 63.8% of environmental specialists have graduated with a bachelor's degree and 11.6% of people in this position have earned their master's degrees. While most environmental specialists have a college degree, you may find it's also true that generally it's possible to be successful in this career with only a high school degree. In fact, our research shows that one out of every eight environmental specialists were not college graduates.

    Those environmental specialists who do attend college, typically earn either environmental science degrees or biology degrees. Less commonly earned degrees for environmental specialists include business degrees or geology degrees.

    When you're ready to become an environmental specialist, you might wonder which companies hire environmental specialists. According to our research through environmental specialist resumes, environmental specialists are mostly hired by State of Florida, Voca Corp Of North Carolina, and Jacobs Engineering Group. Now is a good time to apply as State of Florida has 20 environmental specialists job openings, and there are 6 at Voca Corp Of North Carolina and 5 at Jacobs Engineering Group.

    If you're interested in companies where environmental specialists make the most money, you'll want to apply for positions at Phillips 66, Chevron, and Texas Instruments. We found that at Phillips 66, the average environmental specialist salary is $73,672. Whereas at Chevron, environmental specialists earn roughly $69,681. And at Texas Instruments, they make an average salary of $68,275.

    View more details on environmental specialist salaries across the United States.

    We also looked into companies who hire environmental specialists from the top 100 educational institutions in the U.S. The top three companies that hire the most from these institutions include United States Environmental Protection .., Tetra Tech, and AECOM.

    The industries that environmental specialists fulfill the most roles in are the health care and manufacturing industries. But the highest environmental specialist annual salary is in the professional industry, averaging $58,841. In the manufacturing industry they make $57,152 and average about $56,712 in the energy industry. In conclusion, environmental specialists who work in the professional industry earn a 30.3% higher salary than environmental specialists in the government industry.

    The three companies that hire the most prestigious environmental specialists are:

      What Water Quality Analysts Do

      In this section, we compare the average environmental specialist annual salary with that of a water quality analyst. Typically, water quality analysts earn a $1,952 higher salary than environmental specialists earn annually.

      While their salaries may differ, one common ground between environmental specialists and water quality analysts are a few of the skills required in each craft. In both careers, employees bring forth skills like environmental compliance, regulatory agencies, and epa.

      There are some key differences in responsibilities as well. For example, an environmental specialist responsibilities require skills like "procedures," "hazardous materials," "facility," and "customer service." Meanwhile a typical water quality analyst has skills in areas such as "laboratory equipment," "diagnostic tests," "data analysis," and "water chemistry." This difference in skills reveals how truly different these two careers really are.

      On average, water quality analysts reach similar levels of education than environmental specialists. Water quality analysts are 1.6% more likely to earn a Master's Degree and 0.1% more likely to graduate with a Doctoral Degree.

      What Are The Duties Of a Technical Fellow?

      The next role we're going to look at is the technical fellow profession. Typically, this position earns a higher pay. In fact, they earn a $43,245 higher salary than environmental specialists per year.

      A similarity between the two careers of environmental specialists and technical fellows are a few of the skills associated with both roles. We used resumes from both professions to find that both use skills like "epa," "federal agencies," and "gps. "

      In addition to the difference in salary, there are some other key differences that are worth noting. For example, environmental specialist responsibilities are more likely to require skills like "procedures," "hazardous materials," "environmental compliance," and "regulatory agencies." Meanwhile, a technical fellow might be skilled in areas such as "new technologies," "r," "sql," and "data analysis." These differences highlight just how different the day-to-day in each role looks.

      It's been discovered that technical fellows earn higher salaries compared to environmental specialists, but we wanted to find out where technical fellows earned the most pay. The answer? The professional industry. The average salary in the industry is $135,553. Additionally, environmental specialists earn the highest paychecks in the professional with an average salary of $58,841.

      In general, technical fellows study at similar levels of education than environmental specialists. They're 2.7% more likely to obtain a Master's Degree while being 0.1% more likely to earn a Doctoral Degree.

      What technology do you think will become more important and prevalent for Environmental Specialists in the next 3-5 years?

      Deborah Aruguete Ph.D.

      Assistant Professor of Environmental Science, Penn State Behrend

      Anything with databases and associated computing. In the environmental sciences, our issue nowadays is not so much that we cannot get data, but we have so much we don't know what to do with it. For example, one area that environmental scientists handle is land use management. The government and universities collect tons of data, map land, monitor flow rates in streams, etc. The key to making this data useful for your land management questions is the ability to search for what you need and analyze this. Advances are being made with databases all of the time.
      Honestly, if I were a student and had the time, I'd want to take a class about information management systems or computer programming.
      Show more

      What technology do you think will become more important and prevalent for Environmental Specialists in the next 3-5 years?

      Dr. Doug Spieles Ph.D.

      Professor, Denison University

      I would place data science and geographic information systems at the top of the list. We live in the information age, which is both exciting and overwhelming. I believe that we will increasingly need scientists who know how to obtain and use data to solve spatially explicit environmental problems.Show more

      How a Field Scientist Compares

      The duties of a field scientist depend on one's line of work or industry of employment. In general, their responsibilities typically include conducting studies and scientific research, visiting various sites to observe and gather samples, performing laboratory analyses and experiments, maintaining records of all operations, and coming up with conclusions from the research findings. When it comes to employment opportunities, a field scientist may work for learning institutions, government agencies, and private companies, where they usually work together with other scientists and experts.

      The field scientist profession generally makes a higher amount of money when compared to the average salary of environmental specialists. The difference in salaries is field scientists making $9,755 higher than environmental specialists.

      By looking over several environmental specialists and field scientists resumes, we found that both roles utilize similar skills, such as "hazardous materials," "epa," and "water quality." But beyond that the careers look very different.

      As mentioned, these two careers differ between other skills that are required for performing the work exceedingly well. For example, gathering from environmental specialists resumes, they are more likely to have skills like "procedures," "environmental compliance," "regulatory agencies," and "facility." But a field scientist might have skills like "r," "diagnostic tests," "aerial photographs," and "sample collection."

      Field scientists make a very good living in the technology industry with an average annual salary of $96,288. Whereas environmental specialists are paid the highest salary in the professional industry with the average being $58,841.

      Field scientists typically study at similar levels compared with environmental specialists. For example, they're 3.5% less likely to graduate with a Master's Degree, and 0.3% less likely to earn a Doctoral Degree.

      Description Of an Environmental Engineering Internship

      An environmental engineering intern is someone who provides environmental compliance. Environmental engineering interns assist environmental program administrators. They conduct surveys or studies for the completion of documents. It is their duty to help in the development and rehabilitation of monitoring wells to ensure productive water samples. They collect and compile data to establish a water-management plan on a state level. Also, they perform evaluations, establish and validate procedures, and improve record keeping.

      Now, we'll look at environmental engineering interns, who generally average a lower pay when compared to environmental specialists annual salary. In fact, the difference is about $17,113 per year.

      While both environmental specialists and environmental engineering interns complete day-to-day tasks using similar skills like hazardous materials, environmental compliance, and regulatory agencies, the two careers also vary in other skills.

      Even though a few skill sets overlap, there are some differences that are important to note. For one, an environmental specialist might have more use for skills like "procedures," "facility," "customer service," and "hazwoper." Meanwhile, some environmental engineering interns might include skills like "powerpoint," "environmental intern," "data analysis," and "cad" on their resume.

      Now, let's take a closer look at the financials in each career. The manufacturing industry tends to pay more for environmental engineering interns with an average of $38,521. While the highest environmental specialist annual salary comes from the professional industry.

      In general, environmental engineering interns reach lower levels of education when compared to environmental specialists resumes. Environmental engineering interns are 7.6% less likely to earn their Master's Degree and 1.0% less likely to graduate with a Doctoral Degree.