How to Become an Environmental Manager


To become an environmental manager, you need a broad understanding of environmental issues combined with expertise in project development and management. This knowledge base and skill set is gained through a combination of education and in-field experience.


Below, we've outlined how to get started in this profession. We've also included helpful supplementary information, such as a job description, an overview of the job duties, salary expectations, a list of possible employer types and much more!



Education Needed to Become an Environmental Manager

The educational requirements to becoming an environmental manager vary from employer to employer, and from position to position. However, you should have at least a bachelor’s degree in a field such as environmental management, project management, natural resource management, environmental engineering, environmental policy or a related field.


Because of the complexity of the position, having a master’s or doctoral degree in any of the aforementioned fields is preferred, and may be necessary depending on who the employer is. In some cases, a wealth of industry experience may effectively replace post-graduate education in terms of qualifying for a job as an environmental manager.





General Job Description

Environmental managers are responsible for promoting sustainable development by developing and implementing environmental programs and policies for their organization. Environmental managers are also responsible overseeing the environmental performance of private, public and voluntary sector organizations.



Typical Job Duties

• Plan, develop and implement environmental strategies and action plans that ensure corporate sustainable development

• Oversee the sustainable procurement of supplies, equipment and services

• Plan and coordinate public hearings and consultations on environmental issues

• Ensure compliance with environmental regulations and legislation

• Implement environmental policies and practices

Promote and raise awareness, at all levels of an organization, of the impact of emerging environmental issues

• Conduct environmental research

• Negotiate environmental service agreements and manage associated costs



Who Employs Environmental Managers?

There are a number of different types of organizations in which environmental managers can find jobs, including:


• Federal, provincial/state, and municipal government departments

• Land-use and conservation agencies

• Environmental consulting firms

• Private industry (including manufacturing, forestry, oil and gas, and mining companies)

• Not-for-profit and non-governmental organizations



Value of an Effective Environmental Manager

By having a great environmental strategy and hiring an effective environmental manager, an organization is not only putting itself in a position to accomplish its operational goals within the boundaries of environmental regulations, it is putting itself in a position to increase profitability by reducing waste, and attracting top level talent by creating an attractive reputation.





Relevant Experience Needed

The position of 'environmental manager' is considered to be one that is senior or executive level. As such, environmental managers typically have a significant amount of project management or environmental sector experience, typically gained through a combination of education and working in positions of increasing responsibility in the environmental or project management sectors.



Skills Needed to Be Successful

To be effective in a career as an environmental manager, you need to have a certain set of skills, knowledge and competencies, including:


• Able to complete projects on time, and within budget

• Must have excellent research skills

• Must be able to take complex information and present it in a well-written, easily understandable format for clients

• Must be able to prepare spreadsheets and be able to present graphs and charts

• Must have excellent data analysis skills

• Must be knowledgeable in the latest environmental laws and regulations in order to ensure organization is compliant

• Must be a skilled and effective manager of staff

• Must be able to build relationships with stakeholders, such as area residents, government officials, and the company’s executives

• Must be able to apply information from stakeholders in the development of environmental strategy action plans



Environmental Manager Jobs

Our job board below has "environmental manager" postings in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia.




Average Salary Level

The salary level of environmental managers can vary greatly depending on many factors such as where they work, their level of education, their level of experience, and many others.


According to the 2018 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey, Albertans in the Professional Occupations in Business Services to Management occupational group (which includes Environmental Managers) earned on average from $28.77 to $55.74 an hour.



Similar Careers

Listed below are jobs that are similar in nature to 'environmental manager', as they may involve many of the same skills, competencies and responsibilities.


Corporate Social Responsibility Manager

Environmental Consultant

Environmental Policy Officer

Municipal Environmental Coordinator

Project Manager




Please consult the references below to find more information on the various aspects of this profession:


Occupations in Alberta:Operations Manager.” (January 28, 2018). ALIS website - Alberta Learning Information Service. Retrieved November 16, 2019.

Occupational Employment and Wages: “General and Operations Managers.” (March 30, 2019. Occupational Outlook Handbook - United States Bureau of Labor Statistics website. Retrieved November 16, 2019.

Career Profiles:Environmental Manager.” (n.d.). ECO Canada website. Retrieved November 16, 2019.

Job Profile:Environmental Manager.” AGCAS editors (February, 2019.). Prospects website. Retrieved November 16, 2019.


Please Note: Much of the information for this career guide was gathered from actual job postings, which due to the brief nature of their online presence, are not listed here as sources.



Scholarships for Becoming an Environmental Manager

Scholarships listed for majors that are relevant for becoming an environmental manager are those that are found on our Environmental Science Scholarships and Environmental Engineering Scholarships pages.


Success Tip: Be sure to apply for any scholarships that you even barely qualify for, as there are millions of dollars of scholarships that go unused every year due to a lack of applicants!



Relevant Academic Fields

Studying one of the university majors listed below will serve as an excellent educational foundation for this career:


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