Science, Technology & Environment
Environmental scientists use their knowledge of the natural sciences to protect the environment and human health.
What does an Environmental Scientist do?
Environmental scientists use their knowledge of the natural sciences to protect the environment and human health. They measure and record features of the environment, and assess and develop methods of controlling or minimising the harmful effects of human activity.
As an environmental scientist, you would:
- provide scientific or technical guidance, support, coordination, or oversight to governmental agencies, environmental programs, industry, or the public
- review and implement environmental technical standards, guidelines, policies, and formal regulations that meet all appropriate requirements
- collect, synthesise, analyse, manage, and report environmental data, such as pollution emission measurements, atmospheric monitoring measurements, meteorological or mineralogical information, or soil or water samples
- communicate scientific or technical information to the public, organisations, or internal audiences
- provide advice on proper standards and regulations or the development of policies, strategies, or codes of practice for environmental management.
Depending on the areas in which they work, environmental scientists may also be known as ecologists. Ecologists are environmental scientists who study the relationship between plants, animals and their environment. The work of ecologists ranges from balancing the needs of the environment to coming up with ideas for land management.
Key skills and interests
To become an environmental scientist, you would need:
- an interest in science
- a logical approach to problem-solving
- an aptitude for technical tasks
- good communication skills
- the ability to work as a part of a team.
Working hours and conditions
Most environmental scientists and ecologists work full time.
Environmental scientists and ecologists work in offices and laboratories. Some may spend time in the field gathering data and monitoring environmental conditions.
How to become an Environmental Scientist?
Entry Level Education
To become an environmental scientist you usually have to complete a degree in environmental science, science or applied science with a major in environmental science or a related field. To get into these courses you usually need to gain your senior secondary school certificate or equivalent. English, mathematics, biology, chemistry, physics, and earth and environmental science would be appropriate subjects to study prior to university.
Employment of environmental scientists and ecologists is projected to grow faster than the average for all occupations.
Heightened public interest in the environment, as well as increasing demands placed on the environment by population growth, are projected to spur demand for environmental scientists and specialists. Most jobs will remain concentrated in the various levels of government and closely related industries, such as publicly funded universities, hospitals, and national research facilities. Specialist environmental consulting firms will also increasingly provide job opportunities.