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Career Paths in Environmental Science

Environmental Lawyer

    ▪       Description:  As an environmental lawyer, you will deal with a broad area of law which covers issues related to specious protection, water, and air pollution, waste management, climate change or any other element on Earth that needs to be protected and preserved from humans’ impact. You can specialize and be an expert for a specific area of Environmental Law. Lawyers who can advise clients on using green standards and sustainability issues are in demand as well. Moreover, environmental matters should be considered also from a global perspective, so an interest in International Law is a huge plus if you want to direct your legal expertise towards practicing environmental law.

    ▪       Qualifications: Environmental Lawyers have to obtain a law degree, but also, they have to choose subjects related to environmental matters or a master course which will provide them with theoretic and practical knowledge in this field. As a lawyer, you need to have strong skills in advocating, advising, research, and other communicative skills. Those will help you resolve complex problems, but since the collaboration with experts having different kind of backgrounds, you need to be ready for a multidisciplinary approach in finding a solution of your environmental case.

    ▪       Salary: The majority of Environmental Lawyer salaries range between $43,000 to $90,000, but an average annual salary is $74,433.

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    ▪       Recommended courses: International Climate Change Law and Policy International Climate Change Law and Policy (University of Newcastle)

Environmental Engineer

    ▪       Description: By using the principles of engineering, an Environmental Engineer conducts various tasks to influence impact on the environment. An Environmental Engineer thinks of methods in order to lower the environmental impact of projects and finds ideas of choosing more sustainable options, which will have both results: bring a profit and preserve the environment. Also, an Environmental Engineer plans such projects and conducts research and audit on their environmental impact. You can specialize in different fields, depending on your interests: chemistry, soil, waste, water, sustainability… Options are various for this challenging job. You only need to find what drives you to design modern solutions to protect the environment.

    ▪       Qualifications: An Environmental Engineer needs to obtain a bachelor’s degree in environmental engineering or a related field, such as civil, chemical, or general engineering. This position requires good analytical and mechanical skills, familiarity with regulations and best practices, and as many like to say, the ability to think outside the box. In order to plan and conduct quality projects, Environmental Engineers should have project but also personnel management skills.

    ▪       Salary: According to Career Explorer, an average Environmental Engineer salary is $61,309, and it can range from from $53,464 and go up to $90,537.

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    ▪       Recommended courses:  Engineering: Building with Nature (Delft University of Technology)

Zoologist and Wildlife Biologist

    ▪       Description: Zoologist and Wildlife Biologists study animals in their natural habitats and make an inventory of species, following their behavior in different conditions. They also observe the effects of pollution on the quality of their lives. This vacancy is often required in governmental agencies, medical labs, or it is engaging in various tasks within an organization working to preserve and protect wildlife. Zoologists and Wildlife Biologists can work as educators, researchers, awareness promoters or analysts, and this kind of job includes working in offices, laboratories, or outdoors.

    ▪       Qualifications: Zoologist and Wildlife Biologist have to obtain bachelor’s degree in wildlife biology or related field for entry-level jobs, and master’s degree, or Ph.D. is required for upper-level positions. You need to be detailed-oriented and patient when it comes to analysing data and its processes, but also should have an ability to critical thinking.

    ▪       Salary: According to the Bureau of Laboratory Statistics an annual salary for Zoologist and Wildlife Biologist is $63,420 on average.

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    ▪       Recommended courses: Ecology and Wildlife Conservation (University of Leeds)

Environmental Science and Protection Technician

    ▪       Description: An Environmental Science and Protection Technician is in charge of monitoring the environment and investigating sources of pollution and contamination. His or her job is to determine the effects of these factors on public health. Usually working under the supervision of a specialist, tasks of Environmental Science and Protection Technicians is to collect samples of water, soil, air and prepare for the laboratory inspection, use equipment needed for evaluation of results, and discuss it with clients. Environmental Science and Protection Technicians may work with geoscientist and hydrologists or any other expert with different background whose additional help is needed to get the best results. This position can be found in consulting firms, state and local governments or testing laboratories.

    ▪       Qualifications: Usually, in order to become an Environmental Science and Protection Technician, a person needs to have a degree associated with environmental health, science, public health, or any other degree related to it. For specific fields, additional training certificates might be necessary. For example, a person who deals with hazardous waste has to complete certified training in accordance with prescribed standards.

    ▪       Salary: In 2018, Bureau of Laboratory Statistics announced that an average annual salary for Environmental Science and Protection Technicians is $46,170 per year.

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    ▪       Recommended courses: Global Warming I: The Science and Modeling of Climate Change (University of Chicago)

Conservation Scientist

    ▪       Description: Conservation Scientists’ task is to research and manage land quality in different kind of areas: parks, forests, and other natural resources. Having knowledge about the soil quality and its conservation, their job is to advise farmers on how to transform the soil into fertile land. Besides scientific skills, this position requires familiarity with regulations, so it can be ensured that monitoring places and its conservation are compliant. Conservation Scientists need to know where trees should be planted on specific sites. Also, they need to possess negotiating skills to get the best terms for harvesting. On the other side, a Conservation Scientist is responsible for the supervising of all activities conducted by forestry workers.

    ▪       Qualifications: A bachelor degree in forestry is desired, but you may obtain any other degree related to it, like agricultural or environmental degrees. Familiarity with regulations is also required. A background in Geographic Information System is a huge plus since this tools’ usage is very common.

    ▪       Salary: For Mid-level Conservation Scientist salary is approximately $38,033 per year and when we speak of senior-level Conservation scientist, an annual wage is $45,088.  

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Environmental Consultant

   ▪       Description: An Environmental Consultant can work on a broad variety of issues and tasks. Commonly an Environmental Consultant evaluates current environmental policies, management systems and processes, and measures environmental contamination of surroundings, inside and outside. Providing clients with support and help to design and implement projects which will ensure security and avoid environmental damages, Environmental Consultants advice within consultancy firms. Moreover, a responsibility that this position brings relates to the revision of environmental policies and procedures for compliance with environmental laws and regulations.

    ▪       Qualifications: To become an Environmental Consultant, you need to obtain an undergraduate degree or postgraduate qualification in biology, chemistry, environmental science, environmental management, environmental geoscience, engineering, geology, ecology, agricultural sciences, or any similar. Most companies provide employees with needed in-house training courses, but it is beneficial if you gain previous experience through internships and jobs.

▪              Salary: According to Glassdoor, salary for Environmental Consultant ranges from $41,000 to  $84,000$62,692 per year. An average annual salary is $62,692.

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Environmental Education Officer

   ▪       Description:  Environmental Education Officers make people aware of issues related to the environment, they empower, educate and engage people in causes regarding the environment. His or her task is to research and develop educational programmes, not only for children but for people of all ages. By promoting those programs and conducting various workshops, conferences, and training courses, Environmental Education Officers influence communities, families, kids and youth to change behaviours and adopt new habits in everyday life, live in more sustainable way, and be aware of environmental issues around us, as well as of the ways how an individual can contribute to its improvement. Environmental Education Officers should act as a contact point for teachers and other educationalist and provide them with information on educational matters. Most probably, you can land yourself a job in an non-governmental organisation, or national and state parks.

    ▪       Qualifications: A bachelor’s degree in agriculture, zoology, biology, ecology, environmental management, forestry, botany or plant science, and other fields related to the environment are required for this position. Since Environmental Education Officers have an educational role, previous experience is also desirable, so you can transfer the knowledge you have in the right way. The best educators talk not only about topics they read in a book but also use situations and examples from experience and case studies.

    ▪       Salary: Depending on level and experience, Environmental Education Officer’s salary range from $34,000 to $92,000 a year.

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Marine biologist

   ▪       Description: Marine biologists have several different titles. Depending on your interests, you can work as a reef restoration project manager, professor in marine ecology, research assistant, oil spill response specialist, marine policy expert, and many others. What is common for all these positions is that a marine biologist is a person who is dedicated to protecting marine life, and preserving natural habitats of species in oceans and seas. This broad ranging career can bring you responsibilities such as carrying out an environmental impact assessment, conducting expeditions on fishing, interviewing divers about animal behavior, lecturing or teaching on policies, providing policymakers with the scientific results and information, and advocating for the improvement of marine life. Tasks are various and depend on your knowledge, experience, and will to contribute to a certain part of the marine world.    

    ▪       Qualifications: To become a Marine biologist, you need a marine-focused degree as marine biology, marine science, oceanography or ocean, and earth science. Also, if your undergraduate degree is geology, statistics or computer science or zoology, you can always take a Masters and move into marine science if you find this your true call. However, you need to be passionate about marine conservation and have the ability to adapt to live in often basic living conditions. Since you are going to have many colleagues with different background, strong teamwork skills are required for being a professional Marine biologist. This position can be found within private companies dealing with waste and recycling, or at local authorities and environmental charities.

    ▪       Salary: According to the Payscale, the average salary for Marine Biologist is $51,480 per year. The lowest is $34,000, and it goes up to $97,000 for the most experienced ones.

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Recycling Officer

   ▪       Description: Recycling Officer plans and develops policies which regulate waste, and acts through the management of recycling networks, designs programs and projects to educate and improve the recycling system. Also, a Recycling Officers’ task is to promote recycling as the way of reducing waste, and its reduction in landfills. By monitoring and reporting how the recycling system functions in a local community, Recycling Officers have responsibilities of managing local recycling facilities and keeping up-to-date with the best practices and current laws, as well as sharing that information with the government. Often a Recycling Officers’ duty can include to train volunteers and shareholders.

    ▪       Qualifications: A Recycling Officer typically holds a bachelor’s degree in waste management or in environmental science. In order to successfully fulfill his or her tasks, it is preferred that the Recycling Officer possess analytical, communicational, and IT skills. Also, having good leadership, organizational and time management skills, can help you become a professional in this position.

    ▪       Salary: According to ZipRecrutier, an average annual salary for Recycling Officer is $47,283, starting with $16,500 and going up to $143,000.

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Water Quality Scientist

   ▪       Description: Water Quality Scientists take care of the essential element for life on Earth. His or her job includes monitoring and reporting changes noticed in water quality. By testing and analyzing, their responsibility is to ensure that minimum standards are met, and if not, to notify relevant governmental bodies or a team of managers within a company in order to take the necessary measures to prevent its pollution. Also, by working within a private company, Water Quality Scientists can advise clients, companies or facilities on how to improve the quality of tap water. In his or her work, Water Quality Scientists use different methods like chemical, biological, and other testing procedures. Besides working for regulatory bodies, governments, and multi-utility providers, this position can also be found within commercial consultancies and non-governmental entities.

    ▪       Qualifications: To work as the Water Quality Scientist, you will need a degree in biochemistry, biology, chemistry, environmental science, geology, or related scientific disciplines, but as usual, practical experience can bring you better positions and benefits. Logical thinking and organizational skills are must-have, as well as good analytical skills and detail-oriented mindset.

    ▪       Salary: The lowest wage for Water Quality Scientist is $40,350, and the highest is $118,070 per year. Approximately, the annual salary is $67,460.

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Sustainability Consultant

   ▪       Description: A Sustainability Consultant works to advise companies and individuals on how to run business and do every-day activities by choosing to preserve natural resources in the best possible way. Also, this position can include designing products which will meet sustainability requirements or on how to achieve carbon neutrality. Specifically popular are Sustainability consultants for building construction. Their task is to make plans, so that buildings will use less energy e.g. for heating or cooling. A Sustainability Consultants’ everyday duties can include to advise, make and conduct plans on how to reduce waste, or usage of oil, energy, and water, as well as to install and implement measurements for monitoring. Also, providing training and educational programs on sustainability can be responsibilities of a Sustainability Consultant.

    ▪       Qualifications: In order to become Sustainability Consultant, you should consider obtaining a degree in biology, building and construction management, business and management studies, civil engineering, environmental science, estate management, geography, geology or urban planning. Options are various. Besides the relevant degree, you should have the ability to explain the necessity of transforming business in the sustainable form and be confident about the knowledge you have, as well as to be persistent to represent the importance of sustainability, and remove dilemmas that it will make additional and unnecessary costs for the company.

    ▪       Salary: An average salary of Sustainability Consultants is $69,253, according to the ZipRecruiter, and it ranges from $19,500 to $151,500.

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Nature Conservation Officer

▪  Description: The task of the Nature Conservation Officer is to plan, manage, protect, and improve environmentally important areas. This conservation work includes responsibilities such as coordinating volunteers and jointly helping the realization of conservation projects, monitoring areas and preparing reports, developing visitors attractions, observation of wildlife, and many more. Nature Conservation Officers work in non-governmental and governmental organizations, charities, and National and Wildlife Trusts.         

▪  Qualifications: Natural Conservation Officers hold a degree in biology, zoology, geography, botanical or plant sciences, or any other related to environmental sciences.

▪  Salary: Annually, Nature Conservation Officer can earn from $18,000 to $122,500, while the average salary is $47,836 per year.

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