According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, there will be an expected rise in the demand for environmental science-related jobs in the next decade. With over seven billion people on Earth, there have been signs of ubiquitous change in the environment: shrinking reserves of non-renewable fuel sources, deforestation, and climate change.
Why environmental science jobs?
We need individuals to take up tasks related to environmental science to protect and preserve the environment for future generations. Environmental science is generally deﬁned as a biologically based study that focuses on the relationship between the environment and various organisms on the planet. This ﬁeld has many career advancement options in numerous distinctive sectors, including hydrology, environmental engineering, environmental science consulting and environmental science technology. Here are some of the popular sectors of environmental science you might be interested in.
If you are passionate about animals, then this ﬁeld is for you. Animal science involves studying the biology of animals including reproduction, genetics, nutrition, physiology, growth, behaviour and management. Students will be equipped with essential skills in animal management and other relevant aspects. There will be a lot of training and research. Graduates can opt for careers in agriculture or health organisations. Courses in animal science usually require advanced knowledge in biology and chemistry. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, animal scientists can expect an average income of US$61,680 per year.
Environmental engineers typically deal with issues like acid rain, global warming and the thinning of the ozone layer. If you are an environmental engineer, you would be developing solutions to environmental issues. This can range from initiatives to encourage recycling amongst the public to planning environmental quality-control checks. Environmental engineers are most in demand in the manufacturing, mining, wastewater management and environment remediation industries. Be informed that it is important that you are interested in biology, physics, chemistry and maths in order to be in this sector. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, environmental engineers can expect to earn an average of US$78,740 per year.
Hydrologists are required to do in-depth research about the properties and distribution of water. In short, it involves going deep into the Earth’s complex water cycle to identify problems and provide feasible solutions. In most cases, hydrologists are required to have a master’s degree or PhD to further their careers. These individuals usually work for natural resources companies, civil and environmental engineering ﬁrms, environmental and forestry consulting ﬁ rms, and municipal, provincial/state and federal government departments. TV channels such as Discovery Channel and National Geographic would require hydrologists for their TV programmes related to water. Since water is one of our most crucial natural resources, we will need more hydrologists in the near future. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that hydrologists can bring in an average income of US$75,690 annually.
Environmental Science Technology
Environmental science technicians rely more on their observation and investigation skills to deal with environmental issues that could pose potential harm to humankind. This calls for environmental inspection, setting up and maintenance of equipment used to check levels of pollution and communicating analytical ﬁndings to the respective organisations or companies. You can expect to be working in the ﬁelds of environmental engineering technology, safety management, design and environmental consulting, loss control and industrial hygiene.
This ﬁeld needs teamwork as environmental scientists or individuals of relevant expertise will supervise the environmental science technicians and evaluate their ﬁndings. Jobs in environmental science technology require good skills in science subjects and math, due to the emphasis in data gathering and analysis. As an environmental science technician, you can expect an average pay of US$41,380 annually.
Biotechnology is another ﬁeld with high employment opportunities in Asia. Studying biotechnology opens you to various career opportunities. To excel in biotechnology, make sure that you are interested in entering the agriculture sector, as you would most likely be specialising in biofuel, bioremediation or ‘white biotechnology’.
Agricultural biotechnology involves developing genetically customised plants that can reduce the use of harmful chemicals. Just like any other environmental science-related jobs, this ﬁeld would require data gathering and researching skills. One such job would let you earn an approximately US$41,000 a year.
One focus of the biofuel sector is to help reduce the use of petroleum-based fuels that potentially harm the environment. Successful corporations tend to employ agricultural engineers and scientists who usually earn a median amount of US$30,000. The bioremediation and ‘white biotechnology’ sectors also encourage ‘green’ earth-friendly environments.
Other options include venturing into the education ﬁeld, botany studies, ecology studies, and oceanography studies. These will take you to even more career paths – be a scientist, an archaeologist, ecologist, microbiologist, political scientist, and so much more!
Environmental Science Consulting
In order to be an environmental science consultant, you would need to have several core competencies in this ﬁeld of environmental science. With similar objectives and goals as the previous career options, the job exists to identify and rectify environmental issues that can pose potential harm to human populations. The most popular career option in this ﬁeld is to be an environmental health specialist, who studies how the environment can impact people’s health. In this case, you would be the one who determines whether drinking water in a particular area is safe for consumption. A bachelor’s degree in natural science is required for relevant jobs. In this ﬁeld, fresh graduates usually start as research assistants or ﬁeld analysts in ofﬁces and laboratories before rising into prominent positions in an organisation. Expect an average income of US$61,700 a year.
Do you have what it takes?
The job may pay well, but if you are hardly passionate about it, then you could have a hard time. Besides the required certiﬁcates, here are some of the hard and soft skills that are essential to your success in the ﬁ eld of environmental science.
- Analytical and problem- solving skills
In environmental science jobs, there will be a lot of research and analyses. An environmental scientist must consider all possibilities that would help formulate solutions to a particular problem. If you are always the one who comes up with the best and most efﬁcient solution to a problem, then you might be able to do the same when faced with an environmental problem.
- Analytical and presentation skills
Most environmental science jobs produce volumes of ﬁndings that must be properly presented. Environment scientists also need to have information- compiling skills to ensure the ﬁndings are coherently explained. Having good speaking and writing skills can also help with documenting ﬁndings, preparing reports, and convincing others to accept your recommendations and solutions to a particular environmental problem.
- Teamwork and Critical- Thinking Skills
Environmental science technicians, specialists, and other relevant personnel are usually required to work as a team in many circumstances. Therefore, it is crucial to have everyone on the same page on projects, some of which may take years to complete. Cooperation and camaraderie will go a fair way in maintaining team cohesion and ensure success. Critical-thinking skills come in when developing plans or proposals to reduce environmental threats. If you are an introvert, it’s time to beef up on your communication skills.
In a nutshell
Environmental science jobs are growing in demand, creating a window of opportunity for job seekers looking for somewhat unconventional career paths. As our planet’s human population continues to grow, the delicate balance between their needs and environmental conservation will become harder to maintain. That’s where you could come in—you would thrive in this job environment if you’re ready to accept the challenges offered by the various sectors in environmental science.
It is crucial for us to preserve a habitable environment while maintaining the balance in the ecosystem. Without proper care, our planet will become an uninhabitable wasteland, devoid of life and the means to sustain it. If you ﬁnd that you have a passion for the environment, check out the available majors in environmental science and ﬁnd the right one for you!