Environmental Scientists

EPA Scientists Water Sampling at Night

Environmental scientists use physical science (such as biology, chemistry, and geology) and social science (including conservation and resource management) to study and assess the environment in relation to the impact human activity has on it as well as damage incurred through natural interactions. Their work is also used to ensure environmental laws and regulations are being met and to help prevent violations before they occur. Environmental scientists specialize in various areas such as air, soil, and water, and use different tools and software programs to collect and study samples. They work for federal, state, and local environmental protection agencies, as well as private sector companies, and teach in colleges and universities. There are approximately 87,250 environmental scientists employed in the United States.

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Quick Facts
Alternate Title(s) Climate Change Analysts, Ecological Modelers, Environmental Chemists, Environmental Ecologists, Geoscientists
Duties Use the physical and social sciences to study and assess the environment in terms of human impact and natural processes
Salary Range $25,000 to $100,000+
Work Environment Indoors/Outdoors
Best Geographical Location(s) Opportunities are available throughout the country
Minimum Education Level
  • Bachelor's Degree
School Subjects
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Earth Science
Experience Internship
Personality Traits
  • Curious
  • Problem-Solving
  • Scientific
  • Organizational
  • Research
  • Scientific
Certification or Licensing Recommended
Special Requirements None
Employment Prospects Good
Advancement Prospects Good
Outlook Faster than the Average
Career Ladder
  • Project Leader, or Program Manager, or Consulting Firm Owner
  • Environmental Scientist
  • Field Analyst, or Research Assistant, or Science Technician