Learn How To Become an Environmental Manager
Updated July 21, 2022
The environmental manager role enables professionals to use their passion for the environment to help employees and clients adopt environmentally friendly practices. By learning more about what environmental managers do and how they qualify for their position, you can follow the necessary steps to pursue this career. In this article, we define environmental managers, outline their key responsibilities, review how to become an environmental manager and provide additional information about their salary expectations and types of skills they require.
What is an environmental manager?
An environmental manager is an experienced professional who uses their knowledge of sustainability methods, environmental policies, safety guidelines and occupational health to provide environmental solutions to businesses and construction firms. They also focus on applying scientific efforts to conserve land's overall qualities, including parks, forests, mountain ranges and other locations of natural splendor.
What does an environmental manager do?
Environmental consultants may perform a variety of tasks to ensure businesses maintain sustainable practices. Here are some day-to-day responsibilities of environmental managers:
Meet their clients and determine their needs
Oversee daily activities of team members to maintain environment system (EMS)
Respond to concerns and inquiries related to EMS
Perform environmental regulation audits to monitor contamination, emissions and damages
Educate industrial workers on environmental policies and programs
Maintains permits and generates environmental reports as per state regulations
Work with team members to create effective environmental strategies to minimize contamination
Investigate environmental issues and develop effective action plans
Review and propose new strategies to improve the existing environmental plans
Develop waste recycling procedures, develop waste treatment measures and oversee environmental pollution procedures
Follow and enforce developed procedures and policies
Get up-to-date environmental legislation and trends
Provide help and job training to team members when needed
Conduct environmental research and create environmental reports and provide cost reduction measures while maintaining quality
Develop timelines and budget for environmental operations
Maintain communication with previous clients and team members to offer additional guidance where necessary
Oversee a group of employees that the client assigns to the environmental effort that the organization
Read environmental topics and scientific reports to enhance the knowledge of people on environmental best practices, local ecosystems and technologies
Make recommendations about construction projects and the possible risks to the environment
Related: 15 High Paying Environmental Jobs
How to become an environmental manager
Review these helpful steps to determine how you can become an environmental manager:
1. Complete high school education
While it isn't necessary to earn a bachelor's degree to become an environmental manager, learning basic education skills in a high school can help. Whether looking to join the profession for the first time or advance an existing career, completing a high school education is mandatory. You could make a difference by studying science, math, English, environmental studies and other topics that can help you develop your career. High school education can take up to four years of full-time learning to help you move to the next level.
2. Obtain a diploma in environmental studies
After completing the high school education, study the environmental management profession at the highest level and improve your long-term career prospects. Attend local colleges that offer the diploma course or engage in online classes that offer this course to students anywhere. It may take you two to four years to complete a diploma in environmental studies, depending on your work environment and location.
3. Earn a bachelor's degree
Prospective environmental managers should pursue a four-year bachelor's degree program at a university or college. To improve their expertise, these individuals can study coursework that includes topics such as geology, ecology, environmental conservation or environmental science. These degree programs include studying various subjects such as biochemistry, ecology, disaster, biology, prevention, sustainability in business and environmental issues.
4. Complete internship in environmental management
During and after completing a bachelor's degree, you may improve your industry knowledge and professional experience by engaging in internship programs. These internship programs can help an environmental manager with research, working for government agencies or non-profit organizations. Consult with your college professors to see if they know any opportunity or connect you with any professional to find internships through networking.
5. Consider earning a master's degree
Environmental managers don't need to earn a master's degree. However, pursuing one can help you focus on a specific area of work. Pursue suitable master's degrees to help you advance your career prospects by studying programs, including health, environmental management, energy and sustainability management.
6. Gain a few years of work experience in a related position
Possessing relevant professional experience enables you to gain valuable insights you can use throughout your career as an environmental manager. Some likely prerequisite environmental managers' positions include conservation managers, water treatment plant managers, environmental technicians, energy auditors and environmental scientists.
7. Consider certification
This is an optional step you can take in your environmental management position, but earning certification in this field and related areas can help you prove your qualifications for an environmental manager role. Employers can also build trust in you to make crucial decisions for their organizations. By earning one or more certifications, you may enhance your knowledge in fields that require more experience.
8. Determine the type of work environment that will fit you
Environmental managers can operate in a variety of work environments. They can work for environmental management firms, government agencies, self-employed individuals, environmental law offices or non-profit organizations. Because of their ability to work in different work environments, guide your job search, seek positions that align with your favorite work environment or establish your environmental management company.
Related: What Is Environmental Engineering?
Skills for environmental managers
Environmental managers require a combination of technical and interpersonal skills to succeed in their positions. Here are some examples of environmental manager's skills and how they use them in their day-to-day work environment:
Project management: Project management involves activities where a professional oversee an environmental project to completion. Working in this field requires you to possess these skills. It can enable you to assist clients in handling environmental assessments, implementing changes that ensure sustainability, and completing green construction projects.
Interpersonal communication: Interpersonal communication involves adjusting communication strategies to understand others and build strong relationships. As an environmental manager, speak with other professionals, clients and business owners who have little knowledge about environmental issues, terminologies and policies. Use your excellent communication skills to help clients understand innovative practices and safety measures to maintain their business efforts.
Written communication: An individual can write precise and clear messages. Environmental managers write various documents, including PowerPoint presentations, email, client contracts, license appeals, environmental reports and other related documents.
Public speaking: Possessing public speaking skills can help individuals deliver environmental presentations effectively to convey information to the audience. In an environmental manager position, you may require making presentations when marketing your firm to the client, proposing your ideas to clients, or appealing to local government on environmental compliance.
Attention to detail: attention to detail helps individuals to identify essential details that could otherwise go unnoticed. As an environmental manager, you can survey a construction site and evaluate the environmental aspects that the project could interfere with. Use these skills to identify unsafe environmental practices at existing plants or buildings and take corrective measures.
Time management: working as an environmental manager requires you to possess the ability to commit the right time to different day-to-day tasks. You can also handle multiple tasks simultaneously and remain productive. It's possible to engage with clients and still ensure your project's progress.
Negotiation tactics: Negotiation tactics help individuals to persuade the opponents to accept their terms, advocate for their needs or provide alternative plans that work for both parties. Environmental managers can help their clients negotiate license terms with local agencies to conduct their businesses or engage in construction projects on a specific piece of land.
Problem-solving: Problem-solving skills can enable you to identify problems and develop strategies to help you achieve your goals. Some clients contact environmental managers aftermath of environmental damages involving their investment entities and require help from professionals. You need these skills to help you provide amicable solutions to environmental problems.
Work environment for environmental managers
Around half of the sustainability and environmental professionals operate in industry and business, where they work in small or large sustainability/ environmental teams or individuals. Some work environments these professionals can consider may include:
Commercial businesses: Include manufacturing, construction and civil engineering firms.
Environmental consultancies: covering fields such as waste management, impact assessment, waste transport and disposal, climate and contaminated land.
Local authorities: With environmental duties in health, education, waste disposal, transport or housing.
Non-governmental organizations (NGOs): They can propose to green NGOs or search for online job opportunities to work with NGOs as environmental managers.
Regional, national, statutory and local government agencies: Including the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA), National Resources Wales and the Environmental Agency, among other agencies.
You can also look for opportunities on various websites for environmental companies because they may not advertise all positions. Networking with other contacts you may have can help you get a job in your preferred work environment.
Salary and job outlook
The figures below are only a guide. The actual salary rate may vary depending on:
Where you work
The demand for the job
The size of the organization or firm you work for
Salaries for environmental managers are usually around $77,060 per year, but the salary can increase as you advance your career. While earning this salary, you will work in an office, fulfill responsibilities outdoors depending on the type of employer or you might have to travel to different sites.
The increasing demand for environmental conservation measures and global warming measures means that more positions are likely to develop in various non-governmental organizations, local government and individual firms, which will need to hire more environmental managers by 2025. People expect the rise in employment opportunities to grow by 3.2% per year and provide successful environmental managers positions. You can learn how to become an experienced professional in this field and apply for new positions in different organizations to work and meet your career goals.
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