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21 Environmental Jobs for Those Who Want To Make a Difference

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In the United States, opinions on climate change are split along both partisan and generational lines. A 2019 poll from the Pew Research Center shows that for 57% of Americans, climate change is a major threat to the United States.

As more and young people start to see climate change as the keystone problem of their generation, more job seekers are looking for careers that can have a positive environmental impact.

Coinciding with this, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that environmental jobs will have above-average demand in the next 10 years.

So, what are the most desirable green careers today?

Best 21 Environmental Jobs

Environmental Planner

In this job, you’re expected to help prepare technical sections of environmental documents to comply with your state and federal environmental laws, as well as to research and solve technical problems and report on results. Find environmental planner jobs now.

  • Education: Bachelor's Degree in Environmental Sciences
  • Knowledge: State and federal environmental regulations

Environmental Due Diligence Consultant

You’ll be performing Phase I environmental site assessment to support property transfer transactions. You are expected to provide technical assistance on EHS compliance, sustainability, site investigation, and due diligence transaction projects. Find environmental due diligence jobs now.

  • Education: Bachelor's Degree in engineering, environmental science, or related discipline
  • Knowledge: Environmental Regulations, effective analytical skills

Staff Environmental Engineer

You will conduct fieldwork that includes sampling, drilling, well installation, construction oversight, and remedial system operations and maintenance. Also, your job includes preparing environmental compliance plans, permits, and reports for air quality, hazardous waste, and spill prevention. Find staff environmental engineer jobs now.

  • Education: Bachelor's Degree in Chemical, Civil, Environmental, or Mechanical engineering
  • Knowledge: Environmental fieldwork experience and 40-hour OSHA HAZWOPER certification

Sustainability Technician

This job needs you to gather, analyze, and interpret data for water and energy efficiency, conservation, and resource supply planning, as well as to prepare reports using a computer database or spreadsheet program. Find sustainability technician jobs now.

  • Education: College-level course in environmental science, energy management, climate change, or landscape design
  • Knowledge: Modern office equipment, financial and data processing and reporting

Landfill Gas Technician

In this job, you’ll perform landfill gas monitoring and may assist with groundwater monitoring. [1] This includes jobs like maintaining dewatering pumps and regular inspections and maintenance of landfill gas control systems and flares. Find landfill gas technician jobs now.

  • Education: High school diploma
  • Knowledge: Mechanical skills, good driving record, working with data files

Material Test Technician

This role includes performing a variety of tests on a broad range of materials. This includes mechanical tests, environmental and weathering resistance, thermal conductivity, and optical microscopy. In this job, you’re expected to complete tests accurately and independently and provide reports. Find material test technician jobs now.

  • Education: High school diploma
  • Knowledge: Materials-centric standards, hazardous materials

Parks Natural Resource Planner

This job gives you an opportunity to work as a project leader for natural resource conservation and land use by setting up procedures and goals and taking responsibility for the final recommendations. Find parks natural resource planner jobs now.

  • Education: Bachelor's Degree in a Natural Science field
  • Knowledge: Trends, concepts, principles, techniques, and legal aspects of the city and regional planning

Corporate Sustainability Intern

As a corporate sustainability intern, you’ll be analyzing evolving customer, investors, and government ESG expectations, as well as identify opportunities and assess risk for improved ESG disclosures. Find corporate sustainability intern jobs now.

  • Education: Pursuing a graduate degree in business, sustainability, engineering, or environmental discipline
  • Knowledge: Effective time management skills, strong research, and analytical skills

As industry grows and more companies are brought back to the U.S., the demand for environmental science professionals is only going to increase. I think business sustainability will be one of the foundations of industry in the future.


Dr. Ken Ede, Associate Director of the Environmental Science Graduate Programs at Oklahoma State University

Climate Associate

You’ll help develop new climate action or resilience initiatives, research best practices, and identify strategies for county agencies to prepare for the effects of climate change. You may meet with stakeholders to understand their plans or challenges and be tasked with filming short videos. Find climate associate jobs now.

  • Education: High school diploma
  • Knowledge: Computer skills, good verbal and written communication

Watershed Keeper

In this job, you’ll supervise, patrol, and police watershed properties and facilities in preventing trespassing and pollution of watersheds. You may be required to fight forest fires and perform related duties. Find watershed keeper jobs now.

  • Education: High school diploma GED, or equivalent
  • Knowledge: A valid Class C driver's license, bond, and deputization as a deputy sheriff

Household Hazardous Waste Technician

You’ll be trusted with independently conducting environmental health surveys or inspections, keep records of field visits, and prepare periodic reports. [2] Your job will also be to supervise the waste collection and bulking events, as well as to prepare sites for events.  Find household hazardous waste technician jobs now.

  • Education: Not specified
  • Knowledge: Laws, regulations, and safety principles related to household hazardous waste

Park Guide

You’ll be giving talks, interpreting natural and historic features, answering questions, guiding tours, and providing miscellaneous services to park visitors, which include assistance with lost articles, car trouble, first aid, and routes. Find park guide jobs now.

  • Education: High school diploma or GED
  • Knowledge: Public speaking, fluency in a language in addition to English

Environmental Services Aide

This job type includes daily cleaning in public areas, patient care areas, and other areas that include offices and exam rooms. If required, you’ll be performing non-scheduled cleaning tasks while following established policies and procedures. Find environmental services aide jobs now.

  • Education: Any combination of relevant experience and education 
  • Knowledge: 12 months of janitorial experience in a hotel or commercial environment

Farm Operations Associate

This is a full-time job that includes assistance in indoor farming tasks such as seeding, transplanting, and harvesting crops. You’ll be trusted with the cleaning of farm equipment and the work area, and assist in monitoring and data collection. Find farm operations associate jobs now.

  • Education: Not specified
  • Knowledge: 12 months of greenhouse experience, data collection

Storm Water Engineer

An engineer with this job title visits and inspects client facilities, prepares spill prevention plans, and stormwater plans for a range of industrial facilities. Find storm water engineer jobs now.

  • Education: BS in Chemical, Civil, Environmental, Mechanical Engineering or related degree, professional engineering license
  • Knowledge: Familiarity with industry standards

Residential Solar Installer

Employees in this role layout and mount rooftop racking, modules, and electrical equipment for residential solar systems. You’re required to perform safe working practices at all times and fully document every installation job. Find residential solar installer jobs now.

  • Education: High school diploma or GED
  • Knowledge: Hand and power tools skills, driver’s license, work on rooftops

Environmental Education Instructor

You’ll deliver lessons and activities on a wide variety of topics related to natural history and ecology, environmental issues, outdoor living, teamwork, and communication to groups ranging from preschool children to adults. Find environmental education instructor jobs now.

  • Education: Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Science, Biology, Ecology, Education, or related discipline
  • Knowledge: Teaching, working with groups

Senior Lead Environmental Planner

You’ll work on a research program that will help agricultural producers transition to economically viable, environmentally sustainable, and regenerative practices, that include soil health, organic production, crop diversification, etc. Find senior lead environmental planner jobs now.

  • Education: Master’s Degree in Environmental Science, Biology, Ecology, Agriculture, or related discipline
  • Knowledge: Statement of Research and Extension Interests in the relevant field

Solar Performance Technician

In this job, employees diagnose PV system issues, and develop and administer repairs or replacements. This includes troubleshooting and resolving solar electric warranty and service uses that arise with exploitation. Find solar performance technician jobs now.

  • Education: 2-3 years of experience as Residential Apprentice Electrician
  • Knowledge: NEC and applicable codes and standards

Entry-Level Environmental Scientist

You’ll conduct Phase I Environmental Site Assessments (ESAs) site reconnaissance surveys to identify potential hazardous material concerns and coordinate with federal, state, and local regulatory agencies to acquire environmental documentation for projects. Find entry-level environmental scientist jobs now.

  • Education: Bachelor’s Degree in Geology, Biology, Environmental Science, Environmental Engineering, or related field
  • Knowledge: Work experience with Phase I ESAs

Waste Management Technician 

Employees in this job are charged with routine and non-routine processing or hazardous, radioactive, and mixed waste, which includes recept/collection, transportation, storage, labeling, treatment, and off-site shipping. Find waste management technician jobs now.

  • Education: High school diploma or GED
  • Knowledge: experience in waste management, computer skills

FAQ

What types of environmental jobs are there?

There are many types of environmental jobs in all employment ranges. They vary from university research fellows and scientists to environmental engineers and consultants, to waste technicians and installers.

What is an environmental job?

An environmental job is a career that directly or indirectly contributes to a more sustainable world. Some environmental jobs require specialized skills or education while doing accounting or project management for a green company is also an environmental job.

What are the highest paying environmental jobs?

The highest paying environmental jobs are those related to scientific research of climate change and environmentally friendly development in multinational corporations. These include environmental scientists, hydrologists, environmental engineers, meteorologists, and environmental lawyers.

How do I get a job in environmental protection?

To get a job in environmental protection, first, you need to decide on your career direction. The best way to do this is to find a voluntary role to get some experience.

What are the 5 major fields of environmental science?

The 5 major fields of environmental science are Biology, Earth Science, Physics, Chemistry, and Social Sciences.

What is an environmental scientist’s salary?

An environmental scientist's salary in the US ranges between $38,000 - $74,000 a year.

Is there money in environmental science?

Yes, there is money in environmental science. The median salary of an environmental scientist is $56,000 a year, but the amount you make depends on the actual job you take after graduating.

Is environmental science a good career?

Yes, environmental science is a good career. It offers excellent career prospects, as well as opportunities for further study or research.

Who hires environmental engineers?

Environmental engineers are hired by a range of companies that deal with reducing waste and pollution, as well as improving environmental conditions. Some of the best companies for the environmental engineer career are AECOM, CH2M, and HDR, Inc.

Where would an environmental engineer work?

Environmental engineers work in different job settings. They usually work in offices while planning designs, but may also work at industrial sites or outdoors when performing inspections or coordinating waste cleanup activities.

Final Thoughts

More and more people and organizations are realizing the dramatic impact of climate change, which directly shapes the job market.

Companies and state-level agencies, universities, as well as small businesses in the green niche, are in demand for interns, professionals, and research associates whose jobs directly or indirectly mitigates the effects of climate change.

If you want to be a part of the solution, use our Green Jobs board to find available environmental jobs in your area.

Find more environmental jobs by category, by city, or by state by checking out other sustainability jobs.


References

  1. https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2016-11/documents/pdh_full.pdf
  2. https://www.zippia.com/hazardous-waste-technician-jobs/


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