Career Options that Help the Environment
For people interested and passionate about helping the environment, there are numerous career options that span the life and social sciences. Below are some great options for careers that aim to help the environment, whether through conservation, management or advocacy.
|Job Title||Median Salary (2016)*||Job Growth (2014-2024)*|
|Environmental Science and Protection Technicians||$44,190||9%|
|Geological and Petroleum Technicians||$56,470||12%|
|Environmental Lawyers||$118,160 (for all lawyers)||6% (for all lawyers)|
|Environmental Scientists and Specialists||$68,910||11%|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Career Information for Jobs that Help the Environment
Environmental Science and Protection Technicians
Environmental science and protection technicians try to prevent any environmental violations by closely monitoring the environment. This requires investigating any source of contamination or pollution, which can then affect human health. These technicians may inspect public places, businesses or other locations by taking soil, air and water samples to analyze. They report their findings to their clients and ensure compliance with government regulations. Environmental science and protection technicians usually need an associate's degree, but some jobs may require a bachelor's degree.
Hydrologists study a wide variety of characteristics and issues concerning water. They use their knowledge in this area to solve water quality and availability problems, which helps to conserve this necessary resource. They may collect water samples to test for pollution, study the impacts of pollution or erosion and analyze the effects of different kinds of water-related projects, like wastewater treatment facilities. Hydrologists must have a bachelor's degree, but some hydrologists hold a master's degree or higher.
Conservation scientists work to manage and conserve natural resources in the long term. They oversee the conservation and/or forestry activities in forests, rangelands, parks and more, with the ultimate goal of sustainability of our natural resources. They must also make sure that all activities comply with any government regulations. Conservation scientists need a bachelor's degree.
Geological and Petroleum Technicians
Geological and petroleum technicians work with scientists and engineers to extract natural resources, such as oil, natural gas or minerals. Although this career may not seem to be in the environment's best interest, these professionals often work closely with environmental scientists and technicians on projects to closely monitor the environmental impact of drilling. Geological and petroleum technicians use samples and scientific tests of rock and soil to help find areas that likely contain the desired resource to be mined. They typically need an associate's or bachelor's degree and receive some on-the-job training.
Environmental lawyers specialize in handling a variety of legal issues concerning the environment and environmental regulations. They may conduct research, interpret laws and present facts on behalf of their client. They often work for advocacy groups, government agencies and more to ensure compliance with current laws. Environmental lawyers need to have a law degree and pass their state's bar exam. These professionals can prove highly valuable in fighting for the protection of the environment in the court of law.
Environmental Scientists and Specialists
Environmental scientists and specialists protect the environment and human health by working to monitor various environmental issues. They may travel to different locations to collect a wide range of air, water, soil and other samples that they then analyze for environmental hazards and/or warning signs. They report their findings in technical reports and presentations that are often given to the public and government officials. Environmental scientists and specialists must have a bachelor's degree in one of the natural sciences.