Entry-Level Environmental Jobs & Salary

Jan 23, 2020

Individuals interested in working in the environmental sector will find there are many entry-level positions. This article will cover the job duties and outlooks for several careers.

Career Options for Entry-Level Environmental Jobs

Entry-level environmental jobs usually require a bachelor's degree. Career options include environmental scientists and environmental engineers. Read on to discover five entry-level positions in the environmental sector.

Job Title Median Salary (2018)* Job Growth (2018-2028)*
Environmental Scientist $71,130 (Environmental Scientists & Specialists, including Health) 8% (Environmental Scientists & Specialists, including Health
Environmental Engineer $87,620 5%
Sustainability Specialist $70,530 (Business Operations Specialists, All Other) 6% (Business Operations Specialists, All Other)
Marine Biologist $63,420 (Zoologists & Wildlife Biologists) 5% (Zoologists & Wildlife Biologists)
Meteorologist $94,110 (Atmospheric Scientists, including Meteorologists) 8% (Atmospheric Scientists, including Meteorologists)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

Career Information for Entry-Level Environmental Jobs

Environmental Scientist

An environmental scientist is an entry-level job that involves protecting natural habitats and people's health. Environmental scientists typically work for scientific or technical consulting firms or government agencies. Job responsibilities may include gathering soil, air, or water samples and analyzing them, creating solutions to prevent or remediate environmental issues like water pollution, and serving as a consultant to policy makers. Environmental scientists will need a bachelor's degree in environmental science, or in related areas such as biology or physics. The Ecological Society of American offers individuals in the field several certification options.

Environmental Engineer

Individuals interested in finding solutions to environmental issues may want to pursue an entry-level position as an environmental engineer. They specialize in creating and executing solutions for issues like waste disposal and recycling. Job duties can involve serving as a technical resource on environmental remediation projects, evaluating municipal agencies and manufacturers for compliance with environmental laws, and performing quality assurance checks. Environmental engineers usually work for engineering services firms or scientific and technical consulting firms. They will need a bachelor's degree in environmental, chemical, civil, or general engineering.

Sustainability Specialist

An entry-level career as a sustainability specialist involves assisting organizations with eco-friendly operating practices like waste stream management. Sustainability specialists can work for corporations or government agencies, such as a municipal government. Job responsibilities may involve creating organizational sustainability goals based on viability and cost, evaluating energy usage, and preparing marketing materials to better inform organizational personnel or the general public on environmental issues. Sustainability specialists will need a bachelor's degree in fields like environmental science, urban planning, or public administration.

Marine Biologist

Individuals interested in working with ocean wildlife may want to consider an entry-level position as a marine biologist. They specialize in examining marine species in their native environment. Marine biologists may gather and analyze samples, plot the movement of marine species, and provide recommendations on eco-friendly manufacturing processes to reduce pollution. Marine biologists will need a bachelor's degree in biology or zoology and typically work for government agencies.


An entry-level career as a meteorologist involves examining weather conditions and the impact on people and the environment. Meteorologists usually work for government or research agencies, educational institutions, or broadcasting companies. Job responsibilities may include analyzing things like atmospheric pressure and wind speed to predict weather conditions, utilizing computer programs for weather modeling, and creating and implementing programs to inform the general public about weather. Meteorologists can specialize in broadcasting, research, or forensics. They will need a bachelor's degree in meteorology or atmospheric sciences.

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