In the modern world, it’s easy to take for granted certain specialists and structures that keep us healthy or safe every day: sanitation workers and pharmacists, bridge girders and highway paint, even fungi and worms (and soon their secretions?) — to name a few. Most of us could add environmental scientists to that list.
Whether or not you’ve met an environmental scientist in person, it’s certain that their work has shaped your life, often for the better. This could be about everyday support for physical and mental health or the myriad civic systems that benefit our lives, given the wide scope of the field. But what is an environmental scientist?
What does an environmental scientist do?
At its core, the field of environmental science usually involves identifying and limiting harm between humans and the natural world. Prosecution often illuminates how this harm can go both ways.
Specialists in this field typically observe and study interactions between humans, animals, plants, or other forces of change, such as chemicals.
As such, the field is inherently interdisciplinary, often overlapping expertise in chemistry, atmospheric physics, oceanography, glaciology, hydrology, ecology and others, according to Harvard University, which offers tailored paths within a respected environmental science program.
Despite its wide scope and application, the framework for this university program and training is only global arose in the 1960s and 1970soften along with our understanding that climate change and environmental changes are interrelated with human actions.
Careers with an Environmental Science Degree
Job opportunities for people with environmental degrees range from conservation and public policy analysis to energy management, urban planning and commercial development.
As an example of the demand for such skills, consider the operations in any industrial factory where waste products may contain toxic substances. Analyzing these compounds and their potential impact on humans as well as the surrounding ecosystem is vital to developing a responsible management protocol and safeguarding the safety of nearby residents.
That’s why private companies hire environmental professionals, as do city, county, state, and federal governments. These roles often assist with permitting, regulation, and oversight.
Search for jobs in the field of environmental science
Like climate change and societal hazards gained global awareness In recent decades, the demand for jobs in the field of ecology has also increased.
In the U.S. alone, approximately 80,000 jobs for environmental scientists and professionals are reported in 2021, according to US Bureau of Labor Statistics.
This employment figure is projected to increase by 5 percent by 2031.
The growth wind energy sector — now expanding offshore in the US — offers an excellent example of new opportunities for this type of work.
As the US Department of Energy gives the green light new wind projects, environmental scientists assist with the permitting process, establish new regulations, communicate policy changes, and conduct impact studies required for each facility. Many other industries face similar demands.
The pay in this field isn’t bad either. The median salary for environmental scientists in the US is $76,500 (almost twice the sector average), according to the 2021 Labor Report; when it comes to training, the typical entry-level environmental professional has a bachelor’s degree, although advanced degrees are often preferred in the field.