How to Become an Environmental Manager

How to Become an Environmental Manager: Career Path Guide

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 what you'll need to succeed in a career as an environmental manager. We've also included helpful information for an environmental manager career, such as job description, job duties, salary expectations, a list of possible employers 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. Aspiring environmental managers 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.




Environmental Manager 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.



Environmental Manager 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 Hires 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.




Career Experience Needed to Become an Environmental Manager

A career as an environmental manager is considered a senior level or executive level position. 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 Become an Environmental Manager

In order to become 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.

Environmental Manager Salary

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 2011 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.



Careers Related to Environmental Manager

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



References: Environmental Manager Career

Please consult the references below to find more information on the various aspects of a career as an Environmental Manager:


Alberta Learning and Information Services website:

ECO Canada website:

Prospects website:

The Canadian Association of Environmental Management website:

United States Bureau of Labor Statistics website:



Scholarships for Becoming an Environmental Manager

Scholarships listed for majors that apply to becoming an Environmental Manager can be 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!



Becoming an Environmental Manager: Applicable Majors

Studying one of the university majors listed below is an excellent starting point to becoming an environmental manager. Click on the links to find out what else you can do with these majors!


Top Banner Image: