How to Become an Environmental Scientist

How To Become an Environmental Scientist: Career Guide

Becoming an environmental scientist is a great career choice if you are passionate about science and the environment. A career as an environmental scientist is a great choice if you want to advise public and private organizations on matters concerning the relationship between industry and the environment.


Below we've outlined what you'll need to succeed in a career as an environmental scientist. We've also included helpful information for an environmental scientist career, such as job description, job duties, salary expectations, a list of possible employers and much more!



Education Needed to Become an Environmental Scientist

To get an entry-level job as an environmental scientist, you need to begin by earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Science, Biology or a closely related field such as Botany.


If you want to become an environmental scientist who works as a consultant you will need a master’s degree in environmental science or a closely related field.


To become an environmental scientist who works in research and university teaching positions a PhD in Environmental Science or a closely related field is needed.




Environmental Scientist Job Description

Environmental scientists may work in research, consulting or teaching capacities. They usually focus their work in subspecialties such as geology, hydrology or ecology depending largely on their interests or training. Environmental scientists generally participate in field research, environmental impact studies and education.



Environmental Scientist Job Duties

• Perform lab and field research

• Use technical instruments to collect field data

• Perform statistical analysis of findings

• Prepare reports and give presentations based on findings

• May be involved in pollution monitoring

• Adhere to research standards as directed by the publication they are contributing to

• Confer with other scientists and professionals 



How to Get a Job as an Environmental Scientist

Once you've acquired an education, research experience and a career focus, you're ready to become an environmental scientist! The last thing you have to do is nail the interview...once you earn one.


Your last step to becoming an environmental scientist is to make a list of possible employers and suitable positions, and start handing out resumes. Do your research and figure out which companies are hiring environmental scientists, analysts and related positions; these employers will be in a variety of sectors.



Who Hires Environmental Scientists?

There are many organizations representing a variety of industry sectors that are interested in acquiring and retaining individuals with the skills, knowledge and competencies that environmental scientists have; examples include:


• Scientific and technical consulting services

• Architectural and engineering firms

• Federal, provincial/state and municipal government

• Conservation agencies

• Colleges and universities

• Land use organizations

• Oil, gas and mining companies



Characteristics of Successful Environmental Scientists

• An interest in nature and the environment

• An objective approach to work and research activities

• The ability to learn quickly

• Utilize logic to solve complex problems

• Excellent oral and written communication skills

• The ability to work independently and as part of a team

• Physical stamina for fieldwork



Environmental Scientist Salary

Environmental Scientist Salary Canada: According to ECO Canada, Environmental Scientists (which includes environmental analysts) in entry-level positions with an undergraduate degree make an average of $42,000 per year in Canada. ECO Canada also reports that with more education and experience, environmental scientists can earn up to $75,000 per year.


Environmental Scientist Salary United States: In the United States, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that workers in the Environmental Scientists and Specialists occupational group earned a median salary of $61,700 USD per year.


Please Note: The salary levels of environmental scientists can vary greatly, depending on such factors as their level of education, experience and who their employer is.



Environmental Scientist Jobs

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

Careers Similar to Environmental Scientist

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




Environmental Analyst

Environmental Impact Assessment Specialist




References: Environmental Scientist Career

Please consult the references below to find more information on the various aspects of a career as an environmental scientist.


Alberta Learning and Information Services website:

ECO Canada website:

National Geographic website:

United States Labor and Information Services website:



Scholarships for Becoming an Environmental Scientist

Scholarships listed for majors that apply to becoming an Environmental Scientist can be found on our Environmental Engineering Scholarships, Environmental Science Scholarships and Geology 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 Scientist: Applicable Majors

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


Top Banner Image: