Environmental Biologist: Job Description, Duties and Requirements

Sep 24, 2019

Environmental biologists require significant formal education. Learn about the education, job duties and other requirements to see if this is the right career for you.

Assessing, researching and understanding wildlife and zoology are key skills utilized by environmental biologists. These professionals have doctoral degrees and have been versed in biological processes, data analysis and economics. Job opportunities revolve around conservation departments and other environmental awareness organizations.

Essential Information

Environmental biologists study specific regional environments as well as the organisms and wildlife that inhabit those locations. These professionals aid in the protection and survival of wildlife within any given ecosystem, and they assess the impact of human activity on the environment. A doctorate is often preferred for academic work; although, a bachelor's or master's degree may suffice for those interested in conducting field research. There are no mandatory licensure or certification requirements for environmental scientists and specialists, per the BLS.

Required Education Bachelor's degree (minimum requirement); master's degree or doctorate degree may be required for some positions
Training Recommendations Internship experience, knowledge of geographic information systems, familiar with data analysis, and up-to-date training on computer modeling
Projected Job Growth (2018-2028) Environmental scientists and specialists: +8%*
Average Salary (2018) Environmental scientists and specialists: $77,580*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Duties of an Environmental Biologist

An environmental biologist conducts research on-site by taking measurements and monitoring disease and contaminant levels of a specific location, then analyzing the collected data in a laboratory using computer programs, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation explained. Further, environmental biologists aid in developing wildlife management strategies, engendering plans for environmental conservation and preservation. Fund and grant acquisition for forthcoming projects requires an independent environmental biologist to be able to prepare and write project proposals to organizations.

Requirements of an Environmental Biologist

According to the BLS, an environmental biologist should hold a doctorate degree, especially if he or she wishes to conduct academic research. Those who have earned bachelors or master's degrees in the field, however, will be able to conduct research as an environmental biologist research technician, which includes inspecting and analyzing field sites.

College coursework for environmental biology degrees typically include biology, chemistry, mathematics and computer sciences, which are useful for the computer simulation of certain biological processes, equipment operations and data analysis. Student may also learn economics, geology, botany and zoology. Environmental biology programs encourage both scientific courses as well as courses that foster reading and writing proficiency. An environmental biologist must also be familiar with environmental laws and regulations.

Job Outlook and Salary Statistics

Public interest groups and policymakers are putting a lot of attention on environmental issues both globally and locally, and as a result the BLS predicts that available job opportunities for environmental scientists and specialists should grow by 8% during the decade between 2018 and 2028. Salary statistics gathered by the BLS during 2018 indicated that the average annual salary for environmental scientists and specialists, such as environmental biologists, was $77,580.

With specialized training in environmental biology, geology and botany environmental biologists play a key role in environmental conservation. These professionals are highly educated and have bachelor's, master's or doctoral degrees. As environmental conservation becomes more mainstream, environmental biologists continue to be in demand, with jobs growing at about an average rate from 2018 to 2028.

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