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Career Profile: Environmental Scientists and Specialists, Including Health

Conduct research or perform investigation for the purpose of identifying, abating, or eliminating sources of pollutants or hazards that affect either the environment or public health. Using knowledge of various scientific disciplines, may collect, synthesize, study, report, and recommend action based on data derived from measurements or observations of air, food, soil, water, and other sources.

Salary and Outlook

According to the US Department of Labor, there are 87,100 people employed as environmental scientists and specialists, including health in the United States. The median annual salary is $73,200. Entry level employees earn approximately $42,960 per year and senior employees earn approximately $129,450 per year.

Estimates do not include other potential benefits such as health insurance, overtime pay, or retirement benefits that may be offered by employers.

Job Duties

  • Develop the technical portions of legal documents, administrative orders, or consent decrees.
  • Evaluate violations or problems discovered during inspections to determine appropriate regulatory actions or to provide advice on the development and prosecution of regulatory cases.
  • Develop methods to minimize the impact of production processes on the environment, based on the study and assessment of industrial production, environmental legislation, and physical, biological, and social environments.
  • Determine data collection methods to be employed in research projects or surveys.
  • Process and review environmental permits, licenses, or related materials.
  • Supervise or train students, environmental technologists, technicians, or other related staff.
  • Plan or develop research models, using knowledge of mathematical and statistical concepts.
  • Investigate and report on accidents affecting the environment.
  • Provide scientific or technical guidance, support, coordination, or oversight to governmental agencies, environmental programs, industry, or the public.
  • Review and implement environmental technical standards, guidelines, policies, and formal regulations that meet all appropriate requirements.
  • Collect, synthesize, analyze, manage, and report environmental data, such as pollution emission measurements, atmospheric monitoring measurements, meteorological or mineralogical information, or soil or water samples.
  • Communicate scientific or technical information to the public, organizations, or internal audiences through oral briefings, written documents, workshops, conferences, training sessions, or public hearings.
  • Monitor environmental impacts of development activities.
  • Research sources of pollution to determine their effects on the environment and to develop theories or methods of pollution abatement or control.
  • Develop programs designed to obtain the most productive, non-damaging use of land.
  • Conduct applied research on environmental topics, such as waste control or treatment or pollution abatement methods.
  • Provide advice on proper standards and regulations or the development of policies, strategies, or codes of practice for environmental management.
  • Prepare charts or graphs from data samples, providing summary information on the environmental relevance of the data.
  • Conduct environmental audits or inspections or investigations of violations.
  • Monitor effects of pollution or land degradation and recommend means of prevention or control.
  • Design or direct studies to obtain technical environmental information about planned projects.
  • Analyze data to determine validity, quality, and scientific significance and to interpret correlations between human activities and environmental effects.

Career List

Job Outlook


Total Current Jobs:
87,100
Annual Openings:
9,400
Increase in Openings by 2030:
8%
Annual Salary Range:
$42,960 - $129,450
Education Requirements:
Bachelor's degree