An environmental scientist is a scientist who is usually employed by a government department or consulting firm to a conduct research on environmental issues. They seek to develop, implement, and enforce state, local, or federal regulations designed to preserve and protect the environment. Environmental scientists seek to identify harmful pollutants or hazards to the environment or potential threats to the human, plant, or animal population.
An environmental scientist must have great written and verbal communication skills. They must have good public speaking skills, as they must sometimes share their findings with colleagues, bosses, or the public. Good analytical skills are also a plus in order to solve environmental problems. Math and accounting skills may be necessary as they might have to manage department budgets. They must be able to work as part of a research team and potentially become the group's leader. Experience as a research assistant or lab technician would be advantageous to landing an entry-level job as an environmental scientist. Field research is very typical of this position, and an example of this task would be obtaining soil samples for a soil log.
Most environmental scientists have a bachelor's degree in a natural science such as biology, fisheries, or earth science. Many have a master's degree or higher in hydrology, environmental science, or a related field. Environmental scientists usually work normal business hours. Extended hours in the laboratory may be required, as well as traveling for field research or conferences. The working environment for an environmental scientist is usually a laboratory setting in a private consulting firm or government building. Entry-level workers typically do more field work than senior workers.
Environmental Scientist Tasks
- Collect, analyze, and report on environmental data, like building materials, atmosphere monitoring and soil or water samples.
- Create visualizations and guidance materials for multiple audiences.
- Compare results and methods to federal and local regulations and guidelines, reporting on the gaps and achievements.