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Working as a Senior Environmental Scientist

Typically, environmental scientists use their understanding of the natural sciences to protect the ecosystem and human health. Senior environmental scientists are the experienced and highly trained environmental scientists who lead ecological planning projects and establish and manage schedules, goals, and budgets. They may even clean up contaminated areas, guide policymakers, or work with the industry to diminish waste. Additionally, they gather samples and observational data in the field and conduct tests in the lab.

They must have a master's degree or at least a bachelor's degree in a relevant field, as most senior environmental scientists possess a master's degree.

The average salary for a senior environmental scientist is $80,184. So, they can make between $75,000 and $83,000 per annum. Besides, there are significant chances for a salary increase if they can accumulate good experience and skills throughout their career.

There is more than meets the eye when it comes to being a senior environmental scientist. For example, did you know that they make an average of $40.61 an hour? That's $84,463 a year!

Between 2018 and 2028, the career is expected to grow 8% and produce 7,000 job opportunities across the U.S.

What Does a Senior Environmental Scientist Do

There are certain skills that many senior environmental scientists have in order to accomplish their responsibilities. By taking a look through resumes, we were able to narrow down the most common skills for a person in this position. We discovered that a lot of resumes listed analytical skills, communication skills and problem-solving skills.

When it comes to the most important skills required to be a senior environmental scientist, we found that a lot of resumes listed 10.4% of senior environmental scientists included environmental compliance, while 9.5% of resumes included regulatory agencies, and 5.2% of resumes included oversight. Hard skills like these are helpful to have when it comes to performing essential job responsibilities.

When it comes to searching for a job, many search for a key term or phrase. Instead, it might be more helpful to search by industry, as you might be missing jobs that you never thought about in industries that you didn't even think offered positions related to the senior environmental scientist job title. But what industry to start with? Most senior environmental scientists actually find jobs in the professional and energy industries.

How To Become a Senior Environmental Scientist

If you're interested in becoming a senior environmental scientist, one of the first things to consider is how much education you need. We've determined that 47.5% of senior environmental scientists have a bachelor's degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 40.6% of senior environmental scientists have master's degrees. Even though most senior environmental scientists have a college degree, it's impossible to become one with only a high school degree or GED.

Choosing the right major is always an important step when researching how to become a senior environmental scientist. When we researched the most common majors for a senior environmental scientist, we found that they most commonly earn bachelor's degree degrees or master's degree degrees. Other degrees that we often see on senior environmental scientist resumes include doctoral degree degrees or associate degree degrees.

You may find that experience in other jobs will help you become a senior environmental scientist. In fact, many senior environmental scientist jobs require experience in a role such as environmental scientist. Meanwhile, many senior environmental scientists also have previous career experience in roles such as environmental specialist or project manager.

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Average Salary$84,463
Job Growth Rate8%

Senior Environmental Scientist Career Paths

Top Careers Before Senior Environmental Scientist

Top Careers After Senior Environmental Scientist

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Average Salary for a Senior Environmental Scientist

Senior Environmental Scientists in America make an average salary of $84,463 per year or $41 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $114,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $62,000 per year.
Average Salary
$84,463

Best Paying Cities

City
Average Salary
San Francisco, CA
Salary Range75k - 116k$93k$93,294
Washington, DC
Salary Range74k - 117k$93k$93,286
Seattle, WA
Salary Range74k - 112k$92k$91,531
Houston, TX
Salary Range63k - 119k$87k$87,327
Roswell, NM
Salary Range66k - 115k$87k$87,256
Roswell, GA
Salary Range64k - 110k$84k$84,169
$42k
$119k

Recently Added Salaries

Job TitleCompanyCompanyStart DateSalary
Environmental Scientist I, II or SR.
Environmental Scientist I, II or SR.
PNM Resources
PNM Resources
01/15/2021
01/15/2021
$67,99601/15/2021
$67,996
Environmental Senior Specialist
Environmental Senior Specialist
State of North Carolina
State of North Carolina
11/22/2020
11/22/2020
$42,78011/22/2020
$42,780
Environmental Specialist Senior
Environmental Specialist Senior
Iowa Department of Administrative Services
Iowa Department of Administrative Services
11/18/2020
11/18/2020
$54,45411/18/2020
$54,454
Stormwater Environmental Specialist SR
Stormwater Environmental Specialist SR
City of Boise
City of Boise
11/16/2020
11/16/2020
$54,00011/16/2020
$54,000
Environmental Scientist or Environmental Scientist Senior
Environmental Scientist or Environmental Scientist Senior
City of Austin, Tx
City of Austin, Tx
09/25/2020
09/25/2020
$61,96309/25/2020
$61,963
See More Recent Salaries

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Senior Environmental Scientist Demographics

Gender

male

65.5 %

female

30.5 %

unknown

4.0 %

Ethnicity

White

84.3 %

Hispanic or Latino

6.3 %

Asian

5.0 %

Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

53.3 %

Portuguese

13.3 %

Ukrainian

6.7 %
See More Demographics

Senior Environmental Scientist Education

Majors

Biology
12.8 %
Geology
8.4 %

Degrees

Bachelors

47.5 %

Masters

40.6 %

Doctorate

5.8 %

Top Colleges for Senior Environmental Scientists

1. University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,584
Enrollment
10,764

2. University of Southern California

Los Angeles, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$56,225
Enrollment
19,548

3. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Chapel Hill, NC • Public

In-State Tuition
$8,987
Enrollment
18,946

4. University of California, Berkeley

Berkeley, CA • Public

In-State Tuition
$14,184
Enrollment
30,845

5. Duke University

Durham, NC • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,695
Enrollment
6,596

6. Columbia University in the City of New York

New York, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$59,430
Enrollment
8,216

7. University of California - Davis

Davis, CA • Public

In-State Tuition
$14,402
Enrollment
30,698

8. SUNY Stony Brook

Stony Brook, NY • Public

In-State Tuition
$9,625
Enrollment
17,407

9. University of Michigan - Ann Arbor

Ann Arbor, MI • Public

In-State Tuition
$15,262
Enrollment
30,079

10. Stanford University

Stanford, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$51,354
Enrollment
7,083
See More Education Info
Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Top Skills For a Senior Environmental Scientist

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 10.4% of senior environmental scientists listed environmental compliance on their resume, but soft skills such as analytical skills and communication skills are important as well.

Best States For a Senior Environmental Scientist

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a senior environmental scientist. The best states for people in this position are Washington, California, West Virginia, and New Mexico. Senior environmental scientists make the most in Washington with an average salary of $90,926. Whereas in California and West Virginia, they would average $90,403 and $88,287, respectively. While senior environmental scientists would only make an average of $86,952 in New Mexico, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. Washington

Total Senior Environmental Scientist Jobs:
368
Highest 10% Earn:
$133,000
Location Quotient:
2.56
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

2. New Mexico

Total Senior Environmental Scientist Jobs:
48
Highest 10% Earn:
$144,000
Location Quotient:
1.63
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

3. West Virginia

Total Senior Environmental Scientist Jobs:
23
Highest 10% Earn:
$136,000
Location Quotient:
1.09
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here
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Top Senior Environmental Scientist Employers

1. AECOM
4.5
Avg. Salary: 
$79,445
Senior Environmental Scientists Hired: 
14+
2. Tetra Tech
4.6
Avg. Salary: 
$77,075
Senior Environmental Scientists Hired: 
14+
3. Science Applications International ...
4.8
Avg. Salary: 
$84,738
Senior Environmental Scientists Hired: 
10+
4. Alabama Department of Insurance
4.7
Avg. Salary: 
$62,651
Senior Environmental Scientists Hired: 
8+
5. Arcadis
4.7
Avg. Salary: 
$83,341
Senior Environmental Scientists Hired: 
8+
6. Louis Berger
4.5
Avg. Salary: 
$78,467
Senior Environmental Scientists Hired: 
7+

Senior Environmental Scientist Videos

Updated October 2, 2020