Degree Guides

100+ Degree Guides: Explore job opportunities in your field of study.

Read More

Top 15 Environmental Studies Degree Jobs

By Ammar Ahmed

Published:

In today’s rapidly evolving environmental landscape, professionals with a degree in environmental studies are more crucial than ever. They play a key role in addressing global challenges such as climate change, resource management, and sustainability. 

This article offers a comprehensive look at the various environmental degree jobs available for these graduates. It aims to provide insights into how these roles contribute to environmental protection and sustainability efforts.

From research and policy development to conservation and advocacy, the article showcases the breadth of careers that can make a real difference in our world, equipping readers with the knowledge to pursue meaningful work in the environmental sector. 

Let’s take a look at our top 15 Environmental Studies Degree Jobs

  • Environmental Scientist
  • Sustainability Consultant
  • Environmental Policy Analyst
  • Conservation Scientist
  • Environmental Educator
  • Environmental Planner
  • Renewable Energy Specialist
  • Environmental Engineer
  • Environmental Health and Safety Specialist
  • Urban Planner
  • Environmental Lawyer
  • Ecologist
  • Environmental Advocate/Activist
  • Forester
  • Zoologists and Wildlife Biologist
degree guide environmental studies

1. Environmental Scientist


Environmental Scientists study the environment and its various components to understand the impact of human activities on natural ecosystems. Their work is crucial in developing sustainable practices and policies that promote the conservation and protection of the environment for future generations.

As an Environmental Scientist

You’ll be conducting research, analyzing data to evaluate and predict environmental change, and producing reports based on research findings. You may also have to work with policymakers to develop strategies to address environmental problems such as pollution, climate change, and the well-being of ecosystems.

Benefits

  • Field Work Opportunities: The chance to work outdoors in diverse locations, from remote wilderness areas to urban settings, providing a break from the typical office environment.
  • Contribution to Environmental Preservation: The rewarding experience of contributing directly to environmental protection and sustainability initiatives.
  • Mental Health Benefits: Engaging with nature and environmental work can have positive effects on mental health and overall well-being.
  • Career Flexibility and Growth: Diverse career paths within the environmental sciences, from research and academia to policy and consultancy, allow for dynamic career progression and specialization.

Working Conditions

Environmental Scientists typically have a mix of fieldwork and office work. Fieldwork can involve various outdoor locations, from remote natural sites to urban areas, and may require travel. Working conditions in the field can be challenging, including exposure to all weather conditions and potentially rugged terrain. Office work often includes analyzing data and writing reports. Work hours can vary depending on field assignments and project deadlines, sometimes requiring flexibility.

Further Studies

  • Master’s Degree in Environmental Science or Related Field: A master’s degree in environmental science, ecology, or a related field such as environmental engineering or environmental policy deepens knowledge and research skills. It focuses on specialized areas like environmental assessment, conservation biology, and environmental policy, equipping graduates with advanced expertise for more complex roles in research and policy-making.
  • Ph.D. in Environmental Science: For those interested in academic or high-level research positions, a Ph.D. offers an opportunity to contribute original research to the field. This advanced degree is essential for those looking to lead research projects or teach at the university level.
  • Professional Certifications: Certifications such as the Certified Environmental Scientist (CES) designation from the National Registry of Environmental Professionals or similar credentials can enhance a professional profile. These certifications typically focus on areas like environmental compliance, sustainability, and resource management, demonstrating expertise and commitment to the field.

What Skills Make You a Strong Candidate

To be a strong candidate for an Environmental Scientist position, one should possess excellent analytical skills for interpreting data and conducting research. Proficiency in environmental sampling and testing techniques is essential. Strong communication skills are crucial for effectively conveying findings to diverse audiences. Additionally, a good grasp of environmental laws and regulations, along with problem-solving skills and adaptability to work in various settings, are highly beneficial.

Salary & Job Outlook

  • Average Salary ($76,480)
  • Job Outlook (6%)

Environmental Scientists typically receive competitive compensation, with a median annual salary of around $76,480.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment for Environmental Scientists and Specialists is projected to grow 6% from 2022 to 2032, a rate that’s faster than the average for all occupations. This growth is driven by the increasing need for environmental consulting services, particularly in response to environmental regulations and policies.

Related Article


2. Sustainability Consultant


A Sustainability Consultant is an impactful career choice for those with an Environmental Studies degree. In this role, you advise businesses and organizations on how to manage and improve their environmental footprint.

As a Sustainability Consultant

You assess the environmental impact of business operations and develop strategies to reduce waste, conserve resources, and promote sustainability. Your responsibilities include conducting sustainability audits, analyzing data to identify areas for improvement, advising on renewable energy solutions, developing corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives, and assisting with the implementation of sustainable practices. You also work on stakeholder engagement, preparing sustainability reports, and ensuring compliance with environmental regulations and standards.

Benefits

  • Remote and Flexible Work Options: Often having the flexibility to work remotely or consult for clients globally, providing work-life balance and reducing environmental impact through less commuting.
  • Engagement in Innovative Projects: Involvement in cutting-edge projects that aim to develop sustainable solutions, fostering a sense of innovation and creativity.
  • High Demand and Job Security: With increasing focus on sustainability, consultants are in high demand, offering job security and growth potential.
  • Comprehensive Benefits Packages: Competitive salaries, health benefits, and often, additional perks like wellness programs and professional development funds, reflecting the value placed on these professionals.

Working Conditions

Sustainability Consultants usually work in office environments but also travel frequently to client sites for assessments, meetings, and presentations. Their work may involve visiting industrial facilities, corporate offices, or construction sites to evaluate sustainability practices. Travel can be local or involve longer distances, potentially including overnight stays. Standard office hours are typical, but project deadlines can require additional hours.

Further Studies

  • Master’s Degree in Sustainability or Environmental Management: A master’s degree in sustainability, environmental management, or a related field such as sustainable development or corporate social responsibility offers in-depth knowledge on sustainable practices in business and government.
  • Professional Certifications in Sustainability: Certifications like the LEED Accredited Professional (LEED AP) or the ISSP Certified Sustainability Professional (ISSP-CSP) provide specialized knowledge in sustainable building practices and sustainability strategy, respectively, enhancing credibility and expertise in the field.

What Skills Make You a Strong Candidate

A strong candidate for a Sustainability Consultant position should possess in-depth knowledge of sustainability practices and environmental regulations. They should have excellent analytical skills to assess and improve an organization’s environmental impact. Strong communication and interpersonal skills are essential for advising and influencing stakeholders. Strategic thinking, project management abilities, and a knack for problem-solving are also crucial, along with staying abreast of current sustainability trends and technologies.

Salary & Job Outlook

  • Average Salary ($71,119)
  • Job Outlook (6%)

The average annual salary for a Sustainability Consultant is around $71,119.  While specific BLS data for Sustainability Consultants may not be available, it can be classified under the category of Environmental Scientists and Specialists which is expected to grow 6% over the next decade. 


3. Environmental Policy Analyst


An Environmental Policy Analyst is a rewarding career for those with a degree in Environmental Studies. This position is key in shaping policies that balance environmental conservation with economic and social needs. 

As an Environmental Policy Analyst

You conduct in-depth research on environmental legislation, policy, and regulations. Your tasks include analyzing data on environmental trends, preparing reports, presenting policy recommendations, and advising government bodies or organizations on environmental policy matters. You also engage in stakeholder consultations, assess policy impacts, and collaborate with experts across various sectors to ensure informed and effective policy-making.

Benefits

  • Potential for Government and International Work: Opportunities to work with government agencies or international bodies, broadening the scope and impact of your work.
  • Opportunities for Public Engagement: Engaging with stakeholders, community groups, and the public, fostering a deep understanding of diverse perspectives and needs.
  • Career Growth and Mobility: Potential to advance into senior policy-making roles or transition into related fields like advocacy, consulting, or academia.
  • Comprehensive Benefit Packages: Competitive salaries along with benefits such as health insurance, retirement plans, and potentially, flexible working hours or remote work options.

Working Conditions

Environmental Policy Analysts primarily work in office settings, often within government agencies, nonprofit organizations, or research institutions. Their role involves analyzing policy documents, writing reports, and preparing recommendations, which may require extended periods at a desk. They may also attend and participate in meetings, hearings, and workshops, which can involve travel. Work hours are generally standard, but periods of intense policy development might necessitate longer hours.

Further Studies

  • Master’s Degree in Environmental Policy or Public Policy: A master’s degree specializing in environmental policy, public policy, or environmental law provides deeper insights into policy-making processes, regulatory frameworks, and environmental legislation.
  • Law Degree (J.D.) with Environmental Specialization: A Juris Doctor with a focus on environmental law is beneficial for those looking to delve into legal aspects of environmental policy, regulation, and advocacy.
  • Specialized Training in Data Analysis and GIS: Training in data analysis, statistical software, and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) is advantageous for analyzing environmental data and informing policy decisions.

What Skills Make You a Strong Candidate

To excel as an Environmental Policy Analyst, one needs a strong understanding of environmental legislation and policy-making processes. Proficiency in data analysis and research methods is crucial for evaluating policy impacts. Effective communication skills are essential for articulating findings and recommendations to policymakers and stakeholders. The ability to synthesize complex information and an aptitude for strategic thinking are also key, alongside a commitment to staying informed on evolving environmental issues and trends.

Salary & Job Outlook

  • Average Salary ($74,593)
  • Job Outlook (7%)

Environmental Policy Analysts earn an annual median wage of around $74,593. The profession falls under the career cluster of Political Scientists, which includes policy analysis. According to the BLS, the job outlook for Political Scientists is projected to grow 7% from 2022 to 2032, about as fast as the average for all occupations, reflecting a steady demand for expertise in public policy and analysis.


4. Conservation Scientist


Pursuing a career as a Conservation Scientist is ideal for those with an Environmental Studies degree who are passionate about nature conservation. Your role focuses on managing, protecting, and improving natural resources, including forests, rangelands, and other habitats.

As a Conservation Scientist

You conduct field studies, collect and analyze environmental data, develop conservation plans, and advise on resource management practices. Your responsibilities include monitoring wildlife habitats, evaluating environmental impact assessments, liaising with government agencies and landowners, and implementing restoration projects. You also participate in research, provide conservation education, and work on policy development to promote biodiversity and sustainable land use.

Benefits

  • Stable Career with Diverse Opportunities: Strong demand for conservation scientists in various sectors, including government, nonprofits, and academia, offering job security and diverse career paths.
  • Outdoor and Nature Immersion: Frequent opportunities to work in natural settings, providing a deep connection with the environment and outdoor experiences.
  • Direct Impact on Conservation Efforts: Contributing meaningfully to the preservation of ecosystems, wildlife, and natural resources.
  • Professional Growth and Development: Access to ongoing training, workshops, and conferences that keep skills and knowledge up-to-date.

Working Conditions

Conservation Scientists commonly work outdoors in natural areas, parks, and forests, conducting field research and overseeing conservation projects. This can involve working in various weather conditions and potentially remote locations. They also spend significant time in offices or labs analyzing data and planning projects. Work hours can be irregular, especially during fieldwork phases, and may include early mornings, late evenings, or weekends to accommodate fieldwork schedules.

Further Studies

  • Master’s Degree in Conservation Science or Related Field: A master’s degree in conservation biology, wildlife management, or ecological science deepens understanding of ecosystem dynamics, species conservation, and habitat restoration, enhancing the ability to lead conservation projects.
  • Ph.D. in Conservation Biology or Ecology: Pursuing a doctoral degree is essential for those aiming for advanced research or academic positions. It involves extensive research, often with a focus on specific conservation challenges or ecosystems.
  • Professional Certifications: Certifications such as the Certified Wildlife Biologist from The Wildlife Society or similar credentials focus on areas like habitat management, endangered species conservation, and ecological consulting.

What Skills Make You a Strong Candidate

A strong candidate for a Conservation Scientist position should have a robust understanding of ecological systems and conservation practices. Key skills include proficiency in field research methods, data analysis, and the ability to use Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Strong problem-solving skills, coupled with the ability to develop and implement conservation plans, are essential. Effective communication skills for collaborating with stakeholders and disseminating findings, along with a passion for environmental stewardship, are also crucial.

Salary & Job Outlook

  • Average Salary ($64,420)
  • Job Outlook (4%)

For Conservation Scientists, the BLS reports a median annual wage of $64,420 as of May 2022. The employment of Conservation Scientists is projected to grow 4% from 2022 to 2032, about as fast as the average for all occupations. This growth is expected due to the ongoing need to manage, protect, and conserve natural resources in forests, parks, and other natural areas.


5. Environmental Educator


An Environmental Educator role is a fulfilling choice for those with an Environmental Studies degree, especially if you enjoy teaching and outreach. You will educate people about the environment, fostering awareness and understanding of ecological issues.

As an Environmental Educator

You design and deliver educational content on various environmental topics to diverse audiences, including schools, community groups, and the public. Your tasks involve planning curriculum, organizing field trips, conducting interactive presentations and activities, and creating educational materials. You also collaborate with environmental organizations, participate in community outreach, and may engage in advocacy and public speaking to promote environmental awareness and action.

Benefits

  • Continual Learning and Growth: Constant exposure to new environmental information and educational strategies, ensuring continuous personal and professional development.
  • Flexible Work Arrangements: Potential for varied work schedules and locations, including part-time, full-time, and freelance opportunities.
  • Opportunities for Grants and Funding: Access to educational grants and funding for innovative environmental education projects and initiatives.
  • Creative Teaching Opportunities: Freedom to design and implement innovative and interactive educational programs and materials.

Working Conditions

Environmental Educators work in settings like classrooms, nature centers, parks, and outdoor camps. Their job often involves outdoor educational activities, requiring them to work in varying weather conditions. They may also travel to schools or community centers for educational programs. Work hours can vary, with potential for weekend and evening programs, especially during busy educational periods like school vacations. Flexibility is often required to accommodate the scheduling needs of different groups.

Further Studies

  • Master’s Degree in Environmental Education or Science Education: This advanced degree offers deeper pedagogical knowledge and skills, focusing on curriculum design, educational research, and advanced teaching methods in environmental science.
  • Certifications in Environmental Education: Professional certifications, such as the Certified Environmental Educator from the North American Association for Environmental Education, validate expertise and commitment to the field.
  • Ph.D. in Education with a Focus on Environmental Sustainability: For those interested in academic research or teaching at the university level, a doctoral degree in education with a focus on environmental issues can lead to advancements in educational methods and strategies.

What Skills Make You a Strong Candidate

An ideal candidate for an Environmental Educator position should have a strong foundation in environmental science combined with excellent teaching and communication skills. They should be adept at designing and delivering engaging educational content tailored to diverse audiences. Creativity, enthusiasm for environmental topics, and the ability to inspire and motivate learners are key. Additionally, organizational skills for planning educational programs and events, along with the ability to adapt teaching methods to various settings, are essential

Salary & Job Outlook

  • Average Salary ($57,167)
  • Job Outlook (6%)

Environmental Educators earn an average salary of around $57,167 per year. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not provide specific data for Environmental Educators, but they are often included in the broader category of Environmental Scientists and Specialists. This category has a positive outlook with a projected growth rate of 6% over the next decade. 


6. Environmental Planner


An Environmental Planner is a strategic role for those with an Environmental Studies degree, focusing on sustainable land use and community development. This career involves integrating environmental considerations into planning processes for urban and rural areas.

As an Environmental Planner

You conduct environmental impact assessments, develop land use plans, and ensure compliance with environmental regulations. Your work includes collaborating with various stakeholders, including government officials, developers, and the public, to create sustainable and viable community plans. You also analyze data on environmental constraints, urban trends, and community needs, and present findings to inform planning decisions and policies.

Benefits

  • Career Flexibility: Opportunities to work in government, private sector, or consultancy, offering diverse career paths.
  • Competitive Compensation and Benefits: Attractive salary packages, often with additional benefits such as healthcare, retirement plans, and paid time off.
  • Strategic Impact on Urban Development: Influencing the design and development of sustainable communities and urban spaces.
  • Professional Development Opportunities: Access to continuous learning through workshops, certifications, and conferences in urban planning and sustainability.

Working Conditions

Environmental Planners primarily work in office settings but also engage in field visits and community consultations. They often collaborate with various stakeholders, requiring travel to project sites, public meetings, and planning sessions. Work can sometimes extend beyond standard office hours, particularly when meeting project deadlines or attending community events. Planners need to adapt to both the structured environment of office work and the dynamics of field assessments.

Further Studies

  • Master’s Degree in Urban and Regional Planning: This degree, with a specialization in environmental planning, provides advanced knowledge in land use, sustainable development, and environmental impact assessment.Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and spatial analysis
  • Certification in Planning (AICP): The American Institute of Certified Planners certification offers recognition of expertise and professional standards in planning, including environmental aspects.
  • Sustainability Certifications: Certifications like LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) can be beneficial, focusing on sustainable building and community design.

What Skills Make You a Strong Candidate

A strong candidate for an Environmental Planner position should have a thorough understanding of urban planning and environmental regulations. They need excellent analytical skills for assessing environmental impacts and developing sustainable land-use plans. Strong communication and negotiation skills are crucial for collaborating with stakeholders and the public. The ability to interpret GIS data, along with project management skills, is essential. A commitment to sustainability principles and the ability to balance ecological concerns with development needs are also key qualities.

Salary & Job Outlook

  • Average Salary ($69,674)
  • Job Outlook (4%)

The average annual salary of Environmental Planners is around $69,674. The profession is typically classified under Urban and Regional Planners. According to the BLS, employment for this category is projected to grow 4% from 2022 to 2032, driven by the need for sustainable development and environmental planning.


7. Renewable Energy Specialist


A Renewable Energy Specialist is an innovative career path for those with an Environmental Studies degree, focusing on developing and promoting sustainable energy solutions.

As a Renewable Energy Specialist

You evaluate and implement renewable energy technologies, such as solar, wind, and biomass. Your responsibilities include conducting feasibility studies, developing renewable energy projects, and advising on energy policies and practices. You also work on optimizing energy systems, assessing environmental impacts, and educating stakeholders about renewable energy benefits. Collaborating with engineers, scientists, and policymakers is a key part of your role.

Benefits

  • Competitive Salary Packages: Attractive salaries reflecting the growing demand and specialization in the renewable energy sector.
  • Job Security: High demand for specialists in renewable energy, offering long-term career stability.
  • Retirement Plan Offerings: Access to retirement benefits like 401(k) plans, often with employer matching contributions.
  • Diverse Work Environments: Opportunities to work in various settings, from research labs to field installations.
  • Global Travel and Fieldwork Opportunities: Chances to travel for project work, conferences, and collaboration with international teams, expanding professional horizons.

Working Conditions

Renewable Energy Specialists typically work in a combination of office, laboratory, and field settings. Their job may involve site visits to renewable energy installations like wind farms or solar panels, requiring travel and occasional exposure to outdoor conditions. Office work includes data analysis and project planning. Work hours can vary, with potential for extended hours during project implementation phases or when conducting field assessments.

Further Studies

  • Master’s Degree in Renewable Energy or Energy Engineering: Advanced degrees in renewable energy or related fields like energy engineering or sustainability provide in-depth knowledge of energy technologies and systems.
  • Certifications in Renewable Energy Systems: Professional certifications in specific renewable energy technologies, like solar or wind energy systems, enhance technical expertise.
  • Ph.D. in Energy Studies: For a focus on research and innovation in renewable energy, a Ph.D. provides opportunities for deep specialization and original research contributions.

What Skills Make You a Strong Candidate

For the role of a Renewable Energy Specialist, a strong candidate should possess in-depth knowledge of renewable energy technologies and systems, such as solar, wind, and hydro power. Proficiency in technical analysis and project management is crucial for developing and implementing renewable energy solutions. They should have excellent problem-solving skills and the ability to innovate. Good communication skills are essential for collaborating with diverse teams and stakeholders. Additionally, staying current with advancements and trends in renewable energy technologies is vital.

Salary & Job Outlook

  • Average Salary ($71,898)
  • Job Outlook (6%)

Renewable Energy Specialists earn an average annual salary of $71,898. This profession also falls under the category of Environmental Scientists and Specialists which is expected to grow 6% by 2032. This growth is partly driven by the increasing focus on renewable energy, environmental regulations, and sustainability initiatives.


8. Environmental Engineer


Environmental Engineers with an Environmental Studies degree play a crucial role in solving environmental problems through engineering solutions. This career involves designing systems and processes that reduce pollution, improve public health, and promote sustainability.

As an Environmental Engineer

You design and oversee projects related to waste disposal, water and air pollution control, and remediation of contaminated sites. Your tasks include conducting environmental assessments, developing treatment systems, ensuring regulatory compliance, and managing environmental data. You also collaborate with other engineers, scientists, and professionals to develop effective and sustainable engineering solutions.

Benefits

  • Workplace Flexibility: Potential for varied work environments, including office settings, fieldwork, and remote project locations.
  • Rewarding Career Path: Personal satisfaction from knowing your work contributes to sustainable development and environmental protection.
  • Professional Growth and Advancement: Access to continuous professional development through workshops, certifications, and advanced degrees.
  • Policy Development Contribution: Involvement in shaping environmental regulations and standards.

Working Conditions

Environmental Engineers often split their time between office work and field sites. Fieldwork can include visits to industrial plants, construction sites, or environmental remediation locations, sometimes in varying weather conditions. Office duties involve designing systems, analyzing data, and preparing reports. Work hours are usually standard, but certain projects, like field surveys or emergency responses, may require additional hours or travel.

Further Studies

  • Master’s Degree in Environmental Engineering: An advanced degree in environmental engineering deepens expertise in areas like water and air quality, waste treatment, and sustainable design.
  • Professional Engineer (PE) License: Obtaining a PE license demonstrates advanced competency and allows for higher-level responsibilities, including signing off on projects and supervising other engineers.
  • Certifications in Specialized Areas: Certifications such as the Board Certified Environmental Engineer (BCEE) credential from the American Academy of Environmental Engineers and Scientists (AAEES) recognize expertise in specific areas of environmental engineering.

What Skills Make You a Strong Candidate

A strong candidate for an Environmental Engineer position should have a solid foundation in engineering principles, particularly as they apply to environmental systems and sustainability. Key skills include proficiency in designing and managing projects related to waste management, pollution control, and water treatment. Analytical and problem-solving skills are essential for developing effective environmental solutions. Effective communication skills are also crucial for collaborating with multidisciplinary teams and communicating technical information to non-experts. Adaptability and a commitment to ongoing learning in this rapidly evolving field are also important.

Salary & Job Outlook

  • Average Salary ($96,530)
  • Job Outlook (6%)

For Environmental Engineers, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports a median annual wage of $96,530. The job outlook for Environmental Engineers is projected to grow 6% from 2022  to 2032, which is about as fast as the average for all occupations. This growth is driven by the need for water reclamation, waste treatment, and pollution prevention projects, reflecting the ongoing emphasis on environmental sustainability and public health concerns.


9. Environmental Health and Safety Specialist


For those with an Environmental Studies degree, becoming an Environmental Health and Safety Specialist offers a chance to ensure safe and healthy working environments. This role involves implementing and monitoring programs that ensure safety, compliance with environmental and health regulations, and risk management.

As an Environmental Health and Safety Specialist

You conduct safety audits, develop hazard control practices, and provide training on health and safety procedures. Your responsibilities include ensuring workplace compliance with environmental, health, and safety regulations, investigating accidents, and recommending preventive measures. You also prepare reports and maintain records on health and safety issues, and liaise with regulatory bodies.

Benefits

  • Diverse Industry Opportunities: Working across various industries, from manufacturing to healthcare, providing a broad range of experiences.
  • Competitive Salaries: EHS Specialists typically earn competitive salaries, which can be particularly attractive for individuals looking for financially rewarding careers.
  • Performance Bonuses: Many organizations offer performance-related bonuses, recognizing the critical role of EHS Specialists in maintaining safety standards and compliance.
  • Travel Reimbursements: For EHS Specialists who need to travel as part of their job, companies typically provide travel reimbursements, easing the financial burden of work-related travel.

Working Conditions

These specialists typically work in industrial or corporate settings, overseeing health and safety protocols. Their role may involve regular inspections of workplaces, which can include factories, construction sites, or office environments. Work hours are generally standard, but there may be instances of overtime or irregular hours, especially during safety audits, training sessions, or after an incident.

Further Studies

  • Master’s Degree in Occupational Health and Safety or Environmental Science: This advanced degree provides deeper insights into occupational health, industrial hygiene, and environmental safety practices.
  • OSHA Training and Certifications: Specialized training and certifications offered by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) are essential for staying current with safety standards and regulations.

What Skills Make You a Strong Candidate

A strong candidate for an Environmental Health and Safety Specialist position should have thorough knowledge of workplace safety and environmental regulations. Key skills include risk assessment, hazard identification, and implementing safety protocols. They must possess excellent communication and training abilities to effectively educate staff on safety practices. Attention to detail, problem-solving skills, and the ability to develop and enforce safety policies are also essential in this role.

Salary & Job Outlook

  • Average Salary ($71,199)
  • Job Outlook (13%)

The annual median wage for an Environmental Health and Safety Specialist is around $71,199. The profession falls under the broader category of Occupational Health and Safety Specialists and Technicians. According to the BLS, employment for this category is projected to grow 13% from 2022 to 2032, faster than average for all occupations, driven by the need to maintain safe work environments and comply with regulations.

Related Article


10. Urban Planner


Urban Planning is a dynamic field for those with an Environmental Studies degree, involving the development and implementation of land use policies and plans.

As an Urban Planner

Your role includes analyzing demographic and environmental data, reviewing site plans, preparing reports, and presenting development proposals. You work closely with public officials, architects, and developers to plan and design land use, infrastructure, and public spaces. Balancing environmental concerns, economic needs, and community desires is a central part of your job.

Benefits

  • Professional Development Opportunities: Access to ongoing education and specialization in areas like environmental planning or urban design.
  • Retirement Benefits: Access to robust retirement plans, such as 401(k) or pension schemes, often with employer contributions.
  • Flexible Work Settings: Potential for diverse work environments including government agencies, private firms, and nonprofits.
  • Personal Fulfillment: Contributing to the creation of sustainable, functional, and aesthetically pleasing spaces.

Working Conditions

Urban Planners usually work in office environments but also conduct site visits and attend public meetings or hearings. Their role involves balancing time between planning, research, and community engagement. Planners may travel to different locations within a city or region for site assessments or community consultations. Work hours are predominantly standard, but evening or weekend meetings with community groups or stakeholders are common in this profession.

Further Studies

  • Master of Urban Planning (MUP): Specializations in this program could include land-use planning, environmental and sustainability planning, or urban design, which are directly applicable to the challenges faced in urban planning.
  • Certification in Planning from the American Planning Association (APA): This certification, particularly the AICP (American Institute of Certified Planners) credential, is highly regarded in the field and focuses specifically on planning principles and ethics.
  • Sustainable Urban Development Programs: Specialized training or certifications in sustainable urban development, focusing on green building practices, sustainable transportation, and urban resilience.

What Skills Make You a Strong Candidate

An effective Urban Planner should possess a deep understanding of urban development and land use planning principles. Key skills include proficiency in Geographic Information Systems (GIS), spatial analysis, and project management. They should have strong analytical and problem-solving abilities to develop and evaluate urban plans. Excellent communication and public engagement skills are crucial for collaborating with stakeholders and the community. Additionally, a keen awareness of sustainability and environmental impact in urban settings is essential.

Salary & Job Outlook

  • Average Salary ($79,540)
  • Job Outlook (4%)

Urban and Regional Planners earn a median annual wage of $79,540. The job outlook for Urban and Regional Planners is expected to grow 4% from 2022 to 2032. This growth can be attributed to the increasing need for sustainable development, environmental conservation in planning, and the management of growing and changing cities and regions.

Related Article


11. Environmental Lawyer


For those with an Environmental Studies degree, becoming an Environmental Lawyer offers an opportunity to advocate for environmental protection and sustainability through legal channels.

As an Environmental Lawyer

You represent clients in environmental litigation, provide legal advice on compliance with environmental laws, and participate in drafting and negotiating environmental policies. Your work involves legal research, preparing briefs, arguing cases in court, and advising on transactions or activities that have environmental implications. You play a critical role in shaping and enforcing laws that protect the environment.

Benefits

  • Potential for Pro Bono Work: Opportunities to engage in pro bono work, supporting environmental causes and underserved communities.
  • High Earning Potential: Environmental Lawyers can command high salaries, especially in private practice or specialized areas.
  • Paid Leave and Sabbaticals: Policies allowing for paid leave, including sabbaticals for personal and professional development.
  • Continuing Legal Education (CLE) Support: Financial support for ongoing legal education and specialization in environmental law
  • Dynamic Work Environment: Engaging in a variety of legal cases, from local to international environmental issues.

Working Conditions

Environmental Lawyers primarily work in office settings, law firms, or government offices, focusing on legal research, case preparation, and client consultations. They also spend time in courtrooms and hearings. Work hours can be long and demanding, especially when preparing for court cases or meeting filing deadlines. Travel may be required for trials, meetings, or to visit sites relevant to a case.

Further Studies

  • Juris Doctor (J.D.) with a Focus on Environmental Law: This is the foundational degree for a career in law. Prospective environmental lawyers should focus on courses related to environmental law, such as natural resources law, environmental policy, land use, and administrative law during their J.D. program.
  • Master of Laws (LL.M.) in Environmental Law: After obtaining a J.D., lawyers can pursue an LL.M. for advanced specialization in environmental law. This degree offers in-depth study in specific areas like climate change law, international environmental law, or environmental justice.

What Skills Make You a Strong Candidate

An Environmental Lawyer should have a strong legal background with a specialization in environmental law, including knowledge of environmental regulations and policies. They must possess excellent research, analytical, and argumentation skills for preparing and presenting cases. Effective communication and negotiation abilities are crucial for representing clients, whether in court or in settlements. A deep commitment to environmental issues, along with the ability to interpret complex legal and scientific information, is also key for success in this field.

Salary & Job Outlook

  • Average Salary ($89,411)
  • Job Outlook (8%)

Environmental Lawyers earn an average salary of $89,411 per year. The BLS categorizes this profession under the career cluster of Lawyers. The employment of Lawyers is projected to grow 8% from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations. Environmental Lawyers, in particular, may see opportunities driven by increasing environmental regulations, sustainable development projects, and advocacy for environmental issues.

Related Articles


12. Ecologist


Ecologists with an Environmental Studies degree play a crucial role in understanding and preserving natural ecosystems.  Your work involves studying the interactions between organisms and their environments, contributing to conservation efforts, and addressing ecological issues.

As an Ecologist

You conduct field research, collect and analyze ecological data, and monitor biodiversity and ecosystem health. Your responsibilities include publishing research findings, developing conservation strategies, and advising on environmental management practices. Collaboration with conservation organizations, government agencies, and educational institutions is often a key part of your work.

Benefits

  • Competitive Salary Packages: Ecologists often receive competitive salaries, especially those with advanced degrees and specialized expertise.
  • Outdoor Field Work: Engaging in fieldwork that allows for direct interaction with diverse ecosystems and species.
  • Professional Development Opportunities: Funding for attending conferences, workshops, and additional training in ecological research and methods.
  • Paid Time Off (PTO): Generous vacation, sick leave, and personal days, supporting work-life balance.
  • Career Advancement Prospects: Opportunities for advancement into senior research or academic positions.

Working Conditions

Ecologists divide their time between field research in natural environments and office or laboratory work. Fieldwork can involve travel to remote locations and working in varying weather conditions, requiring physical fitness and adaptability. Office work includes data analysis, writing research papers, and grant applications. Work schedules can be irregular, especially during field seasons or when meeting research deadlines.

Further Studies

  • Master’s Degree in Ecology or Environmental Science: This advanced degree provides deeper insights into ecological theory, research methods, and specific areas like conservation biology, landscape ecology, or marine ecology.
  • Ph.D. in Ecology: Essential for those aspiring to conduct high-level research or to teach at the university level. It offers opportunities to engage in original research and contribute new knowledge to the field.
  • Professional Certifications: Certifications such as the Certified Ecologist from the Ecological Society of America can enhance credibility and expertise.

What Skills Make You a Strong Candidate

A strong candidate for an Ecologist position should have in-depth knowledge of ecology and environmental science, with skills in field research and data analysis. They must be proficient in using tools like Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and statistical software for ecological modeling. Critical thinking and problem-solving abilities are essential for interpreting ecological data and developing conservation strategies. Strong communication skills for reporting findings and collaborating with diverse stakeholders, along with adaptability for working in various outdoor environments, are also crucial.

Salary & Job Outlook

  • Average Salary ($74,924)
  • Job Outlook (6%)

Ecologists earn an average salary of $74,924 per year. The profession falls under the broader category of Environmental Scientist and Specialist which is projected to grow 6% over the next decade. This growth is driven by the ongoing need for conservation, wildlife management, and ecological research, particularly in response to environmental changes and habitat preservation efforts.


13. Environmental Advocate/Activist


Being an Environmental Advocate or Activist with an Environmental Studies degree, you are at the forefront of promoting environmental awareness and change. Your role involves campaigning for environmental protection, influencing policy, and mobilizing public support for sustainability initiatives.

As an Environmental Advocate/Activist

You organize and participate in advocacy campaigns, engage with the media, and collaborate with environmental organizations to address environmental challenges. Your work includes lobbying policymakers, organizing community events, and leading public awareness campaigns. Being an effective communicator and a passionate advocate for environmental causes are essential aspects of this role.

Benefits

  • Competitive Salary Packages: Ecologists often receive competitive salaries, especially those with advanced degrees and specialized expertise.
  • Outdoor Field Work: Engaging in fieldwork that allows for direct interaction with diverse ecosystems and species.
  • Professional Development Opportunities: Funding for attending conferences, workshops, and additional training in ecological research and methods.
  • Paid Time Off (PTO): Generous vacation, sick leave, and personal days, supporting work-life balance.
  • Career Advancement Prospects: Opportunities for advancement into senior research or academic positions.

Working Conditions

Ecologists divide their time between field research in natural environments and office or laboratory work. Fieldwork can involve travel to remote locations and working in varying weather conditions, requiring physical fitness and adaptability. Office work includes data analysis, writing research papers, and grant applications. Work schedules can be irregular, especially during field seasons or when meeting research deadlines.

Further Studies

  • Master’s Degree in Ecology or Environmental Science: This advanced degree provides deeper insights into ecological theory, research methods, and specific areas like conservation biology, landscape ecology, or marine ecology.
  • Ph.D. in Ecology: Essential for those aspiring to conduct high-level research or to teach at the university level. It offers opportunities to engage in original research and contribute new knowledge to the field.
  • Professional Certifications: Certifications such as the Certified Ecologist from the Ecological Society of America can enhance credibility and expertise.

What Skills Make You a Strong Candidate

An effective Environmental Advocate/Activist should possess a deep passion for environmental issues, coupled with a strong understanding of environmental policies and sustainability practices. Key skills include persuasive communication, public speaking, and the ability to mobilize and engage communities. They should be adept at campaign strategy, grassroots organizing, and social media outreach. Resilience, creativity, and the ability to work collaboratively in diverse teams are essential. Strong research skills and adaptability to rapidly changing situations are also vital in this role.

Salary & Job Outlook

  • Average Salary ($59,893)

The median annual wage for Environmental Advocates is around $59,893. The BLS does not provide specific data for this profession, as they often fall under a variety of categories. Job outlook can vary widely depending on the specific role, organization, and geographic location. Generally, these positions may see growth due to increasing public interest in environmental issues, policy advocacy, and community engagement in sustainability initiatives.


14. Forester


A career as a Forester is ideal for those with an Environmental Studies degree who are passionate about forest conservation and management. Your role involves maintaining forest ecosystems, ensuring sustainable forest use, and contributing to habitat conservation and biodiversity.

As a Forester

You manage forest resources through activities such as timber harvesting, reforestation, and habitat restoration. Your responsibilities include monitoring forest health, developing forest management plans, and enforcing forestry laws and regulations. You often work outdoors in various weather conditions and terrains, as well as in an office setting for planning and administrative tasks.

Benefits

  • Active Management of Forest Resources: Engaging directly in the conservation and management of forested lands, contributing to environmental sustainability.
  • Competitive Salary Structure: Foresters generally earn competitive salaries, particularly in government and private sector roles.
  • Fieldwork in Diverse Environments: Opportunities to work in various outdoor settings, from national parks to private woodlands.
  • Health Insurance Benefits: Access to comprehensive health insurance plans, often including dental and vision coverage.

Working Conditions

Foresters primarily work outdoors in forests and natural areas, conducting surveys, managing resources, and overseeing conservation efforts. They often work in different weather conditions and terrains. Office work for planning and data analysis is also a part of their job. Foresters might have irregular work hours, particularly when dealing with issues like wildfire management or field surveys.

Further Studies

  • Master’s Degree in Forestry or Forest Science: This degree offers advanced knowledge in forest management, ecology, and conservation, and is often essential for higher-level management or research positions.
  • Professional Forestry Certifications: Certifications like the Certified Forester credential from the Society of American Foresters can enhance professional credibility and expertise.
  • Wildland Fire Management Training: Specialized training in fire ecology and management, which is crucial in many forested regions, especially with the increasing prevalence of wildfires.

What Skills Make You a Strong Candidate

A strong candidate for a Forester position should have a solid background in forestry, ecology, and natural resource management. Key skills include proficiency in forest inventory methods, land management practices, and the use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS). They must be capable of conducting rigorous fieldwork in various terrains and weather conditions. Effective communication and collaboration skills are essential for working with landowners, government agencies, and conservation groups. A commitment to sustainable forest management and conservation principles is also crucial for success in this role.

Salary & Job Outlook

  • Average Salary ($64,420)
  • Job Outlook (4%)

Foresters earn an average annual wage of around $64,420.  According to the BLS, employment in this field is projected to grow 4% from 2022 to 2032, about as fast as the average for all occupations. This growth is attributed to the continued need for sustainable forest management, wildfire prevention and control, and conservation efforts.


15. Zoologists and Wildlife Biologist


For those with an Environmental Studies degree, a career as a Zoologist or Wildlife Biologist involves studying animals and their interactions with ecosystems. Your work is crucial in understanding wildlife behavior, habitat requirements, and the impact of environmental changes.

As a Zoologists and Wildlife Biologist

 You conduct wildlife research, collect and analyze biological data, and work on conservation projects. Your tasks include observing and tracking animals in their natural habitats, conducting laboratory experiments, and publishing scientific findings. Collaboration with conservation agencies, conducting environmental impact assessments, and engaging in public education and outreach are also important aspects of your job.

Benefits

  • Competitive Earnings: Zoologists and wildlife biologists often receive competitive salaries, especially with advanced degrees and specialized skills.
  • Fieldwork and Travel Opportunities: Opportunities to conduct field research in diverse and sometimes remote locations, offering unique travel experiences.
  • Cross-Disciplinary Collaboration: Working alongside ecologists, conservationists, and other scientists, offering a rich, collaborative work environment.
  • Paid Leave Policies: Generous vacation and sick leave allowances, supporting a healthy work-life balance.
  • Career Growth Potential: Opportunities for advancement in research, academia, or managerial roles within wildlife and conservation organizations.

Working Conditions

These professionals typically conduct field research in various natural habitats, which can involve travel and working in challenging outdoor conditions. Laboratory and office work for data analysis, writing reports, and preparing for presentations are also significant. Work schedules can be irregular, especially during field research phases, which may include long days and non-standard hours.

Further Studies

  • Master’s Degree in Zoology, Wildlife Biology, or a Related Field: This degree deepens expertise in areas such as animal behavior, conservation biology, and ecological research, which are crucial for advanced positions in the field.
  • Ph.D. in Zoology or Wildlife Biology: Essential for careers in independent research and academia, offering opportunities to conduct original research and contribute to the scientific understanding of wildlife.
  • Professional Certifications: Credentials such as the Certified Wildlife Biologist from The Wildlife Society recognize professional expertise and are important for career advancement.

What Skills Make You a Strong Candidate

A strong candidate for a Zoologist or Wildlife Biologist position should have a robust background in biology, ecology, or a related field, with a focus on animal behavior, physiology, and conservation. Proficiency in field research techniques, data collection, and analysis is crucial. They must possess the physical stamina for fieldwork in diverse habitats and conditions. Strong observational, analytical, and documentation skills are essential. Effective communication for conveying research findings and a deep commitment to wildlife conservation and ethical research practices are also key attributes.

Salary & Job Outlook

  • Average Salary ($67,430)
  • Job Outlook (3%)

Zoologists and Wildlife Biologists have a median annual wage of $67,430, as reported by the BLS in May 2022. The job outlook for Zoologists and Wildlife Biologists is expected to grow 3% from 2022 to 2032, which is about as fast as the average for all occupations. The demand in this field is primarily driven by the need for wildlife conservation and management, research on the effects of population growth and development on wildlife and habitats, and the impact of climate change on ecosystems.

Making the Right Career Choice

Unlocking the potential of your environmental studies degree is a matter of understanding the diverse range of opportunities available to you.

Luckily, the world of environmental studies offers a multitude of avenues for aspiring eco-warriors to forge their way. By unveiling the top jobs that merge passion with profession, we aim to guide you toward the perfect career path that will enable you to make a real impact on the planet.

Embrace the challenge, channel your enthusiasm, and let us chart a course toward a future that promises both a fulfilling career and a greener world!


Ammar Ahmed

About the Author

Read more articles by Ammar Ahmed