Environmental scientists and specialists use their knowledge of the natural sciences to protect the environment and human health. They may clean up polluted areas, advise policymakers, or work with industry to reduce waste.
Environmental scientists and specialists work in offices and laboratories. Some may spend time in the field gathering data and monitoring environmental conditions firsthand. Most environmental scientists and specialists work full time.
How to Become an Environmental Scientist or Specialist
Environmental scientists and specialists need at least a bachelor’s degree in a natural science or science-related field for most entry-level jobs.
Employment of environmental scientists and specialists is projected to grow 11 percent from 2014 to 2024, faster than the average for all occupations. Heightened public interest in the hazards facing the environment, as well as the increasing demands placed on the environment by population growth, is expected to spur demand for environmental scientists and specialists.
This occupation supported 90,000 jobs in 2012 and 94,600 jobs in 2014, reflecting an increase of 5.1%. In 2012, this occupation was projected to increase by 14.7% in 2022 to 103,200 jobs. As of 2014, to keep pace with prediction, the expected number of jobs was 92,600, compared with an observed value of 94,600, 2.2% higher than expected. This indicates current employment trends are better than the 2012 trend within this occupation. In 2014, this occupation was projected to increase by 11.3% in 2024 to 104,800 jobs. Linear extrapolation of the 2012 projection for 2022 results in an expected number of 105,800 jobs for 2024, 1.0% higher than the 2014 projection for 2024. This indicates expectations for future employment trends are about on track with the 2012 trend within this occupation.