Careers in Environmental Protection
Environmental science and protection is a field that encompasses a range of disciplines; it includes a range of careers that require different skill sets. Previously, environmental jobs consisted mainly of scientific research roles, but the rapidly growing ‘green jobs’ sector means that there is demand for passionate environmentalists in a number of fields including law, marketing, planning and development, education and conservation. While some of the more traditional roles in environmental protection include environmental scientist, hydrologist, zoologist, and conservation scientist, here are examples of jobs you can pursue in environmental protection according to your interests and skills.
|If you're interested in…||You can consider becoming a/an…|
|Environmental research and teaching||ecologist / biologist / zoologist / biochemist / aquatic biologist / marine biologist / botanist / microbiologist / physiologist / air specialist|
|Environmental education, communications, advocacy, and fundraising||environmental educator / environmental journalist / communications specialist / interpretive naturalist / environmental advocate / technical writer / event organiser / lobbyist / fund-raiser|
|Natural resources conservation and management||wildlife conservationist / forester / fishery and wildlife manager / fish and game warden / energy and conservation technician / forestry and conservation technician|
|Environmental engineering and sciences||geographic information systems analyst / chemical engineer / civil engineer / water and air quality engineer / solid and hazardous waste engineer / marine biologist / pollution control technician / wastewater treatment plant operator|
|Environmental policy, legislation, and regulation||environmental lawyers / paralegals / environmental protection agency inspectors / environmental compliance agency workers|
|Environmental Planning and Analysis||environmental planner / environmental analyst|
Here are examples of careers in this field of study and a brief description of job tasks you can expect.
|Career||Brief job description|
|Climate Change Analyst||Research and analyse policy developments related to climate change. Make climate-related recommendations for actions such as legislation, awareness campaigns, or fundraising approaches. Provide analytical support for policy briefs related to renewable energy, energy efficiency, or climate change; analyse and distil climate-related research findings to inform legislators, regulatory agencies, or other stakeholders; prepare study reports, memoranda, briefs, testimonies, or other written materials to inform government or environmental groups on environmental issues such as climate change.|
|Conservation Scientist||Support governments and landowners to decide the most ecological and prudent use of land; help manage parks, forests, natural areas and private land; monitor forestry and conservation activities to ensure they comply with government regulations; create and implement plans to manage lands and resources; create plans take into consideration disease prevention, harmful insect invasions and the use of fertilizer.|
|Environmental Economist||Collaborate with field and biology staff to oversee the implementation of restoration projects and to develop new products. Collect and analyse data to determine environmental conditions and restoration needs. Develop and communicate recommendations for landowners to maintain or restore environmental conditions. Plan environmental restoration projects, using biological databases, environmental strategies, and planning software.|
|Environmental Engineer||Design, or supervise the design of, systems, processes, or equipment for control, management, or remediation of water, air, or soil quality; advise corporations or government agencies of procedures to follow in cleaning up contaminated sites to protect people and the environment; collaborate with environmental scientists, planners, hazardous waste technicians, engineers, experts in law or business, or other specialists to address environmental problems.|
|Environmental Lawyer||Analyse and interpret data obtained from case law, literature reviews, research and sample findings; convince judges and juries of legal culpability through carefully constructed arguments which are evidenced persuasively; determine if there is sufficient evidence to proceed with prosecution; interpret data through interviews with scientists, often as part of the court – enabling them to give expert opinions, testify and inform.|
|Environmental Restoration Planner||Collaborate with field and biology staff to oversee the implementation of restoration projects and to develop new products. Process and synthesize complex scientific data into practical strategies for restoration, monitoring or management. Collect and analyse data to determine environmental conditions and restoration needs; develop and communicate recommendations for landowners to maintain or restore environmental conditions.|
|Environmental Science & Protection Technician||Perform laboratory and field tests to monitor the environment and investigate sources of pollution, including those that affect health, under the direction of an environmental scientist, engineer, or other specialist. May collect samples of gases, soil, water, and other materials for testing. Record test data and prepare reports, summaries, or charts that interpret test results. Develop or implement programs for monitoring of environmental pollution or radiation.|
|Environmental Scientist||Inform and support businesses, governments and the general public on health risks and environmental hazards; choose the best data collection method for research projects; analyse samples of soil, water, air, food and other materials to collect environmental data; assess threats to the environment through scientific analysis; present technical reports on findings, and explaining research and findings; develop strategies to prevent, limit or fix environmental problems such as land or water pollution.|
|Forester||Manage public and private forested lands for economic, recreational, and conservation purposes. May inventory the type, amount, and location of standing timber, appraise the timber's worth, negotiate the purchase, and draw up contracts for procurement. May determine how to conserve wildlife habitats, creek beds, water quality, and soil stability, and how best to comply with environmental regulations. May devise plans for planting and growing new trees, monitor trees for healthy growth, and determine optimal harvesting schedules.|
|Geoscientist||Study the composition, structure, and other physical aspects of the Earth. May use geological, physics, and mathematics knowledge in exploration for oil, gas, minerals, or underground water; or in waste disposal, land reclamation, or other environmental problems. May study the Earth's internal composition, atmospheres, oceans, and its magnetic, electrical, and gravitational forces. Includes mineralogists, crystallographers, paleontologists, stratigraphers, geodesists, and seismologists.|
|Hydrologist||Measure volume, stream flow, pH and pollution levels of bodies of water and water samples; analyse data on how pollution, erosion drought and other problems impact the environment; research ways to minimise the impact of natural and man-made changes to bodies of water, such as sedimentation, erosion and pollution; use computer modelling software to forecast water supplies, floods and the spread of pollution; evaluate whether water related projects such as hydro-electric power plans, irrigation systems and wastewater treatment facilities are feasible.|
|Industrial Ecologist||Apply principles and processes of natural ecosystems to develop models for efficient industrial systems. Use knowledge from the physical and social sciences to maximize effective use of natural resources in the production and use of goods and services. Examine societal issues and their relationship with both technical systems and the environment.|
|Zoologist||Develop and carry out experimental studies with animals; collect specimens and data for scientific analysis; utilise geographic information systems and modelling software to analyse animal behaviour; analyse the impact of human activity on wildlife and habitats; develop conservation plans and recommend courses of action on wildlife conservation and management issues to stakeholders.|
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- myCOURSE Guide (series 1), published by StudyMalaysia
- Environmental Science Careers
- Mendeley, How to get a career in environmental protection
- National Center for O*NET Development. Find Occupations
- Pollution Issues, Careers in Environmental Protection
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