20 Careers To Pursue With an Environmental Science Degree

Updated July 31, 2023

The field of environmental science is growing at a faster rate than ever due to issues such as climate change and pollution. Individuals who pursue an environmental science degree have several options when it comes to jobs, including a career as a microbiologist, environmental scientist and environmental engineer.

In this article, we explore 20 of the top jobs you can pursue with an environmental science degree and the skills you should list on your resume to help you get the job.

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20 jobs for environmental science degree majors

The following are 20 jobs you can get with an environmental science degree. Some of these positions may require additional education, training or certification, while others may only require a bachelor's degree.

1. Environmental specialist

National average salary: $28,460 per year

Primary duties: These professionals are responsible for monitoring the impact the environment has on a group of people and uncovering and proposing solutions to environmental issues. They most commonly work in chemical and power plans. They perform samples on food, water, soil or air and implement prevention programs to help minimize environment-related problems.

2. Environmental technician

National average salary: $34,125 per year

Primary duties: Environmental technicians work to identify, assess and prevent various forms of contamination within the environment. They may work in either the field or a lab and often work alongside environmental engineers. Common duties include overseeing waste operations, collecting samples and helping to maintain equipment.

3. Environmental science teacher

National average salary: $39,811 per year

Primary duties: Environmental science teachers often teach high school students of various grades about environmental science. Common areas of study that an environmental science teacher may cover in their class include ecology, geology, chemistry and biology.

4. Marine biologist

National average salary: $48,017 per year

Primary duties: A marine biologist is a scientist who focuses on researching life within the ocean. They may also study life in other saltwater areas such as wetlands. They typically observe and collect data, perform experiments and study marine animals and life.

Related: Top 21 Biology Degree Jobs

5. Environmental chemist

National average salary: $61,413 per year

Primary duties: Environmental chemists are responsible for collecting and testing soil, air and water samples to determine their quality and how they affect the environment. They may write reports on their findings to share with others. These professionals aim to identify and prevent environmental threats that would affect people, plants and animals.

Related: 15 Top Chemistry Degree Jobs

6. Wildlife biologist

National average salary: $64,119 per year

Primary duties: Wildlife biologists primarily study animals and may assess them in their natural habitat to determine the effect it has on the animals. They also study animal characteristics to classify them and identify new species.

7. Microbiologist

National average salary: $66,849 per year

Primary duties: Microbiologists typically spend most of their time in a lab performing studies on microorganisms and how they live and thrive in the environment. They may study viruses, fungi, bacteria and other microorganisms and analyze the effects these have on our environment.

8. Environmental consultant

National average salary: $67,580 per year

Primary duties: Environmental consultants offer expert advice to clients in regards to how to manage environmental issues and reduce a company's overall carbon footprint. They may measure a client's current levels of environmental contamination and devise systems how to eliminate future environmental damage.

9. Environmental scientist

National average salary: $69,869 per year

Primary duties: These professionals work to identify and eliminate various forms of pollution that impact the environment. The goal of an environmental scientist is to improve and protect the health of both humans and the environment.

10. Environmental geologist

National average salary: $70,083 per year

Primary duties: Environmental geologists analyze and collect data related to the geological components of the environment. They may study minerals, soil and groundwater as well as assess industrial work areas such as mining operations.

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11. Geographer

National average salary: $72,727 per year

Primary duties: Geographers analyze various aspects of the earth as well as the earth's phenomena. They often use global position systems (GPS) and geographic information systems (GIS) to collect and display geographic data to assist others.

12. Ecologist

National average salary: $74,247 per year

Primary duties: Ecologists are responsible for studying and assessing ecosystems to determine how humans impact the ecosystems and their environments. An ecologist may work for an environmental or government agency or at an aquarium, museum or zoo.

13. Environmental manager

National average salary: $74,283 per year

Primary duties: An environmental manager is a professional who is responsible for overseeing an organization's compliance with environmental regulations to reduce the company's overall carbon footprint and waste output. Common areas that they analyze include clean water, pollution, air quality and waste as it relates to an organization.

14. Environmental lawyer

National average salary: $74,337 per year

Primary duties: Environmental lawyers are lawyers who specialize in legal aspects pertaining to land, air and water. They may lobby to enact new environmental compliances and laws and to protect ecosystems, agriculture and biodiversity. They may represent clients regarding matters such as water law, climate change law and land management.

15. Environmental biologist

National average salary: $75,756 per year

Primary duties: Environmental biologists assess current environmental conditions and determine the impact that various factors are having on the environment. They may collect various samples from the environment to study and analyze and create plans to aid in the protection of various life forms.

16. Environmental engineer

National average salary: $79,617 per year

Primary duties: These professionals are responsible for designing systems that promote environmental protection. Common projects an environmental engineer may work on include systems to convert waste to energy and water reclamation. They may also ensure that various facilities maintain permits and standard operating procedures as they relate to the environment.

17. Environmental health officer

National average salary: $82,879 per year

Primary duties: Environmental health officers work both in the public and private sectors to help maintain proper environmental standards. They may monitor and enforce various environmental and public health standards such as safety at work, pollution control and injury prevention.

18. Meteorologist

National average salary: $85,647 per year

Primary duties: Meteorologists are responsible for analyzing the atmosphere of the earth to predict weather conditions and patterns. They may use various technologies—such as satellites and radars—to obtain and study the climate and weather.

19. Water quality scientist

National average salary: $87,297 per year

Primary duties: Water quality scientists test and analyze water taken from surface water, groundwater and drinking water. They provide solutions for maintaining and improving water quality and report any water quality issues such as pollution. They typically work for the government, non-profit environmental agencies and commercial businesses.

20. Environmental health and safety officer

National average salary: $88,780 per year

Primary duties: Environmental health and safety officers inspect and analyze various processes within a working area that relate to the environment to ensure they meet safety regulations and industry standards. They assess current processes and formulate solutions to maintain and improve the safety and health of customers, employees and the environment.

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Environmental science skills to list on a resume

While having an environmental science degree is certainly important to get a job in this industry, it's also imperative that you possess and highlight the skills you have gained from your experience and education. The following are skills that you can list on your resume that can help highlight your knowledge and background in environmental science:

  • Organizational skills

  • Research skills

  • Data-gathering skills

  • Analysis skills

  • Attention to detail

  • Composing lab reports

  • Deductive reasoning

  • Critical thinking

  • Writing scientific research papers

  • Communication skills

  • Time management skills

  • Collaboration skills

  • Conducting quantitative research

  • Environmental sampling skills

  • Problem-solving skills

  • Science and math skills

  • Identifying environmental issues

  • Proposing environmental solutions

Frequently asked questions

Is an environmental science degree good for job stability?

Yes, it can be. This credential can distinguish you from other candidates and help you fulfill the requirements for open environmental scientist positions. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates 5% job growth for environmental scientists and specialists between 2021 and 2031, which aligns with the job growth for all occupations. The BLS attributes this growth to increasing public awareness of environmental issues.

Is an environmental science degree easy to complete?

An environmental science degree may present challenging subject matter, as it often contains topics like mathematics, economics, statistics, chemistry, biology, physics and geography. If you have a genuine interest in the subject matter, you can work hard to understand the material and learn how to apply it in your future career.

Can a specialized environmental science degree help me get a particular job?

Depending on your degree program, you may be able to choose a concentration. An environmental sciences degree with a concentration in environmental education can help you qualify to become a teacher or professor, for instance.

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