Whether you feel compelled to help conserve our limited natural resources or simply feel most at home in rugged environs, a career as an environmental scientist offers numerous rewards. Many environmental scientists spend their days out of office, on field sites, and in laboratories. They apply their earth science expertise to protecting the environment, locating natural resources, and predicting geologic hazards. Some environmental management experts work for government agencies, investigating and prosecuting companies that skirt environmental preservation regulations. A growing number of graduates work for companies that strive to prevent costly government actions by staging their own internal audits. Environmental scientists may also occupy managerial positions or specialize in fields as varied as policy formation and conservation. Whatever direction you take, a bachelor's degree in environmental science will furnish you with many interdisciplinary opportunities.
Environmental Science Degrees and Career Training
Environmental management majors master the basics of biology, chemistry, and geology, while focusing specifically on data analysis and geography. Students also learn to use state-of-the-art technology to help companies decrease pollutants and actually improve the environment.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) notes that while a bachelor's degree is satisfactory for entry-level jobs, those seeking advancement or research positions will want to continue their education with a master's degree in environmental science. Applicants who possess advanced computer skills, an understanding of Global Positioning System (GPS) technology, and strong oral and written communication skills will find themselves well prepared for the environmental science job market.
Environmental Science Job Outlook
Environmental scientists and hydrologists held about 92,000 jobs as of 2006, with the largest percentage in federal, state, and local government positions. The BLS predicts that job opportunities for environmental managers and environmental technology specialists will expand much more quickly than similar engineering jobs in other specialties. With public concern mounting over pollution, global warming, and corporate responsibility, businesses and government agencies have started aggressively recruiting the best environmental management graduates. Environmental scientists will also be in demand to help interpret (and eventually limit) the effect of human actions on our ecosystems, and to assist in the effort of restoring these ecosystems. Hydrologists will be especially sought-after in order to help minimize the dangers of natural, water-related disasters and to address issues such as water conservation and rising sea levels. According to recent surveys, entry-level workers start off with annual salaries of about $38,000. With hands-on experience, an environmental management graduate can quickly earn as much as $77,000 per year, depending on their specialty.