3 Tips to pursue an environmental career
You care about the earth and you want a meaningful career. To get this fulfillment and prepare yourself for an environmental science job, we suggest these 3 tips:
1. Get a degree plus technical skills
Most schools offer an environmental science program. To get the best return on investment find an affordable environmental degree program. Your journey shouldn’t keep you broke for the next decade. Thereafter, some go on to graduate school to further their education, while others choose to focus on technical skills. Tech bootcamps have a higher ROI because you can attain them faster and cheaper. For example, you might want to stand out with geographic data analysis skills by getting a GIS certificate. Or you might want to get a UAV pilot license and learn how to collect environmental data from the air. Technical bootcamps are a great complement to your degree.
2. Locate an internship early
In the job application, work experience demonstrates your ability to do the job at hand. Hiring managers prefer candidates who have had similar work experience, because they require less training. Therefore, completing one or more internships is a good way to gain experience. It’s not hard to do a Google search for environmental companies in your area. Reach out to an HR contact or an ecologist with your desire to contribute. Since you are cheap, there isn’t a huge barrier to bring you on. A formal option is the Handshake platform has many listings for internships.
3. Open your job doors with networking
Meeting environmental professionals is part of the recipe to forging your career path. You can network with people and groups on social media, such as Facebook and Linkedin. I encourage you to find 5 people in the environmental field to connect with and ask them for a chat. You will be surprised how many people don’t mind giving advice to those that want to follow in their footsteps. By meeting good people and expanding your social circle, you are bound to learn about new career opportunities in many exciting locations beyond your hometown.
Jobs in environmental science
There are many different jobs that involve environmental science. They can focus on different things like fieldwork, data analysis, modeling, reporting, and legal. If you want a more detailed explanation of jobs in environmental science, see this list of different jobs in the environmental science field which include:
- Environmental field technician
- Environmental data scientist
- Environmental consultant
How much do environmental scientists make?
Environmental scientists research ways to protect the environment as well as manage environmental resources intelligently. The environment is the next top issue for the current US administration after COVID-19. So there will be lots of opportunities for environmental job growth. Your opportunities increase when you upgrade your portfolio with Geographic Information System (GIS) skills. You can combine your environmental background with GIS to earn gainful GIS salaries. When you are looking for a meaningful job with gainful employment, then this might be the right field for you. In the United States, the average base salary that environmental scientists earn annually is $72,444. This number comes from 522 environmental science job salaries data collected by Indeed in 2021.
Top environmental science companies
The following are some outstanding companies that employ environmental scientists both in the US and internationally. So they might be on your target list for employment.
AECOM is a full-service, integrated global infrastructure firm. From planning, design and engineering to consulting and construction management, the firm provides clients with professional services across the full range of project phases. It serves multiple sectors, such as transportation, facilities, environment, energy, water and government. AECOM ranked 163rd on the 2020 Fortune 500 USA list.
HDR is a design firm engaged in engineering, architectural, environmental and building services. It is also an employee-owned company. The firm’s first project was the design of a power plant for the city of Ogallala, Nebraska. Similar projects followed as the firm rose. Engineering News-Record lists HDR as the seventh largest design firm in the U.S. for 2019.
Jacobs Engineering Group is a technical professional services firm. It provides technical, professional, and architectural services as well as scientific and professional consulting to clients worldwide. Notably, Jacob Engineering Group has been ranked No.1 among the top 500 design firms by Engineering News Record for three consecutive years from 2018 to 2020.
Best GIS Science courses
There are tons of online courses that allow you to build your knowledge of environmental science, but you should look for combinations of applied Science and GIS. Project based courses are better than general education courses because they emulate industry workflows. If you are interested in environmental science and data analysis through GIS check out a ranking of the Top 5 GIS Science programs. The topics that help you to leverage your environmental data for reporting and decision making are:
- Processing imagery from UAVs
- Creating map applications in the AWS cloud
- Scripting in Python to manage data
- Programming a map decision dashboard
Conclusion: Plan your environmental career path
There is due to be a lot of investment in the environmental sector but the industry will still be competitive. Don’t just rely on the degree. Be smart about planning your career.
- Pursue an affordable degree
- Upskill with technical courses
- Consider a GIS certificate
- Network your way to opportunities
Got a degree? No degree? Unemployed? Want to change your job? We are happy to figure out a career path for you.