Environmental Manager: Job Description and Requirements

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become an environmental manager. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about schooling, job duties and work experience to find out if this is the career for you.

Essential information

Environmental managers are responsible for making sure an organization is compliant with environmental regulations in areas such as air quality, waste, clean water, and pollution. Environmental managers play a scientific and administrative role in an organization. It is required for them to have a bachelor's degree to hold this position. It is also required that individuals have previous work experience in environmental science in order to hold this position.

Required Education Bachelor's degree in environmental science
Other Requirements Previous work experience in field
Projected Job Growth (2012-2022) 12% (as fast as average)*
Average Salary (2014) $92,250*

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)-administrative services manager

Environmental Manager Job Description

Environmental managers typically work for private entities such as energy, utility, aerospace and federal construction companies. Their job is to ensure that their employers comply with both internal and external environmental requirements. In other words, their corporation sets its own standards for keeping its operations environmentally sound and the state and federal government has numerous compliance laws as well. Environmental managers familiarize themselves with all of these requirements to see that superiors, peers and subordinates carry them out properly.

Job Duties

To accomplish their goals, environmental managers handle a number of tasks. They create, implement and maintain programs and procedures to facilitate a safer environment. They may train or direct employees to follow those procedures. They survey their employer's holdings to make sure everything's operating normally and file reports on what they find. They also prepare other types of paperwork, such as accident reports.

Environmental managers perform administrative tasks as necessary. Besides the above-mentioned training and coordination of employees, they may act as liaisons between their immediate employer and other branches of their company, like senior management. They might also be intermediaries to government agencies.

Salary and Employment Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) doesn't provide data just on environmental managers. For the related group of administrative services managers, the BLS predicted employment to increase at a rate of 12% from 2012 until 2022. The BLS groups environmental managers into the larger category of 'all other managers' when reporting salary, and this broad category had a median salary of $92,250 as of May 2014.

Job Requirements for an Environmental Manager


According to the BLS, a bachelor's degree in an environmental science is sufficient for many entry-level jobs at private companies (www.bls.gov). For instance, students can earn a degree in earth science. This field studies the planet and the interaction of living things on it, and may offer specializations in topics like geology or geophysics.

The BLS also noted that many environmental scientists earn 4-year degrees in traditional science fields like biology or chemistry and then apply their learning to environmental concerns.

Certain environmental science jobs may look for a master's degree. Applicable graduate-level studies include a master's program in environmental science, which emphasizes theories regarding environmental systems. Doctoral degree programs are available at some universities, though the BLS stated that this degree is most helpful to scientists who wish to teach or research in their field.

Work Experience

Besides an education, environmental managers need some work experience in their field. A January 2011 survey of open job postings from Monster.com indicated that employers looked for environmental managers with at least five years of relevant experience. The BLS reported that environmental scientists tend to start their careers in positions like research assistants, technicians or field analysts and work their way into more responsibility and autonomy as they develop their abilities. Environmental scientists who attain management or leadership positions can gain experience coordinating employees, an essential part of an environmental manager's job.

Technical Knowledge

Environmental managers need to keep up-to-date on the latest government environmental regulations, as well as any new policies instituted by their employers, to ensure that rules continue to be followed. In addition, environmental scientists employ a lot of modern technology in their jobs. Therefore, they require familiarity with computer modeling, digital mapping, Geographic Information Systems and the like.

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