Jobs in Environmental Protection

There are a wide number of jobs available that involve environmental protection. We will discuss the educational requirements necessary to obtain some of these positions and what each career entails.

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Career Options in Environmental Protection

Individuals who have an interest in the environment may want to consider pursuing a career in environmental protection. There are several different ways in which one can work in the field of environmental protection, depending on an individual's personal interests and educational background in science or engineering subjects. We will look at five different careers that are heavily concerned with environmental preservation and protection in detail below.

Careers in Environmental Protection

Job Title Median Salary (2016)* Job Growth (2016-2026)*
Environmental Scientist/Specialist $68,910 11%
Conservation Scientist/Forester $60,610 6%
Geoscientist $89,780 14%
Zoologist/Wildlife Biologist $60,520 8%
Environmental Engineer $84,890 8%

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Environmental Scientist/Specialist

Environmental scientists and specialists are typically heavily involved in data collection, research and analysis, and plan development in areas related to improving or protecting the environment. Many of these scientists specialize in a specific area, like climate change, environmental restoration, or environmental health and safety. They may study topics like how humans impact the environment, what type of environmental regulations are necessary, and ways in which to restore contaminated or destroyed ecosystems. To become an environmental scientist or specialist, you will generally need at least a bachelor's, if not a master's degree, in an area like environmental science or another natural science.

Conservation Scientist/Forester

Conservation scientists and foresters generally are focused on forested lands, though they also work on projects involving rangelands and parks. A conservation scientist may be responsible for managing conservation projects and handling deals between private landowners and the government regarding the usage of land in a way that is in keeping with conservation principles. Foresters typically are more focused on forests in particular and may be involved in testing soil quality, managing controlled burns to make way for new trees, and figuring out the most environmental friendly ways of cutting down trees. To become a conservation scientist or forester, you will usually need a bachelor's degree in a field like forestry.


Geoscientists perform a variety of different roles, all of which are related to the study of the structure and processes that exist on Earth. As a geoscientist, you could work in environmental protection in many ways, from determining the most environmentally conscious way of cleaning up lands after a natural or man-made disaster to studying the impact of oil and natural gas drilling on the Earth. To become a geoscientist, you will need at least a bachelor's degree in a science-focused field, such as geosciences, environmental science or engineering.

Zoologist/Wildlife Biologist

For individuals who are interested in the animal aspect of environmental protection, they may wish to consider a career as a zoologist or wildlife biologist, as this job involves studying how animals interact and behave within their natural environment. While some of these workers may focus exclusively on the study of a specific type of animal, others may work heavily in the area of environmental protection and conservation by acting as experts on how animals are impacted by human activity. To become a zoologist or wildlife biologist, you will need at least a bachelor's degree in wildlife biology, zoology or a related, though the majority of workers in this field have a master's or Ph.D. if they are working in research-heavy positions.

Environmental Engineer

As an environmental engineer, you will use an in-depth knowledge of mathematics and engineering principles in combination with knowledge of natural sciences like biology and chemistry to solve various environmental problems. For example, environmental engineers may be involved in projects to create more environmentally friendly waste management systems or they may work to find ways of reducing the amount of pollution in the air. To become an environmental engineer, you will need to obtain a bachelor's degree in environmental engineering, or another related engineering field like civil engineering.

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