This post provides exhaustive information on the environmental specialist career, including how to be one, the various career opportunities available, and the benefits of being an environmental specialist.
How to Become an Environmental Specialist
If you are concerned about the environment and are detail-oriented, a career as an environmental specialist may be a good fit for you.
Here are the stages you will need to complete to become an environmental specialist:
- Obtain a Bachelor’s degree
When hiring an environmental specialist, businesses often look for applicants with a Bachelor’s degree in physical or biological science.
Natural science, geosciences, and engineering are some popular undergraduate degree options.
A Bachelor’s degree program in environmental health might also be pursued, which would address environmental law, occupational safety, ergonomics, and environmental law compliance.
2. Look for an internship
Work experience allows you to hone the skills required to succeed as an environmental specialist.
During your studies, you should obtain hands-on experience in the field and in the laboratory.
Some programs may also provide internship opportunities where you may apply what you’ve learned in the classroom to real-world conditions.
Internships are also available through organizations such as the American Public Health Association and the National Environmental Health Association.
You should enhance your technical and interpersonal abilities throughout your internship because most firms prefer applicants with good communication and cooperation skills.
3. Finish a Master’s degree program
Although you can get a career as an environmental expert with just an undergraduate degree, you should think about getting a Master’s degree in Environmental Health or Public Health.
A Master’s degree program will expand on the knowledge you earned in your Bachelor’s degree program and will focus on a specific field of environmental science.
Graduate courses will normally cover topics such as waste management, environmental risk management, forestry, epidemiology, and climate change, depending on your area of focus.
Most programs require you to conduct research and produce a thesis.
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4. Obtain OSHA certification
Certain jobs necessitate training, which is governed by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
In some cases, this training is accompanied by certification.
Furthermore, certification can demonstrate your expertise and ability level, allowing you to stand out during the application process.
Seek state licensing to handle several types of hazardous materials to set yourself apart.
Many environmental experts also choose to pursue the National Environmental Health Association’s licensed environmental health specialist credential.
You must pass a certification exam that verifies your understanding of a number of environmental issues.
5. Obtain an entry-level position
After earning a Bachelor’s degree, you can apply for a number of environmental health employment with government agencies, private organizations, laboratories, and consulting firms.
These occupations usually require you to work in an office and a laboratory.
Any past work experience you earned through internships can be advantageous because it can be included to your CV or resume.
Many environmental specialists begin as lab technicians or research assistants and advance to positions as lab or project managers as they gain expertise.
Environmental Specialist Career Opportunities
Here are various career opportunities that environmental specialists can explore:
- Environmental Scientist
An environmental scientist is a career where you study various effects of human activities on the surrounding environment; the effects of pollutants and the resulting impact on humans and animals.
You will ensure that the operations at work sites comply with environmental laws to prevent contamination.
The main task is to be in charge of monitoring, assessing and maintaining water, air and soil quality.
The environmental scientist career earning potential is $79,400-$88,800
2. Project Manager
The project manager job responsibilities are developing objectives and plans for new products or services as well as handling budgets for future projects.
This career has a lot to offer as the top earners can make over $138,000.
3. Assistant Director Environmental Protection
The assistant director environmental protection is responsible for ensuring that the activities of a company comply with environmental laws and regulations.
They need to be able to plan, coordinate and direct all activities that ensure environmental compliance.
Assistant directors environmental protection earn huge salaries, ranging from $89,680 to $132,480.
4. Environmental Services Director
The environmental services director manages a range of services provided by an environmental services firm.
They are in charge of the financial planning and development, as well as the monitoring of all activities in order to ensure compliance with regulations and standards.
5. Quality Manager
A quality manager oversees the production of goods or services at work sites by ensuring that workers follow safety rules and procedures as well as ensuring proper training for future employees.
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6. Senior Quality Manager
Senior quality managers oversee quality management activities for businesses and government agencies.
They are often in charge of managing the development of new products and services as well as ensuring that all regulatory standards are met.
7. Environmental Engineer
Environmental engineers use scientific knowledge to solve environmental problems by developing methods to prevent or remediate environmental damage, such as pollution or contamination.
Environmental engineers are at the forefront of the environmental industry.
8. Environmental Manager
An environmental manager oversees an organization in the environmental field for reasons such as reducing pollution, resource recovery and waste reduction.
They are also responsible for developing new materials and products.
It is also their responsibility to advice managers on business decisions related to the environment, as well as ensuring that all operations comply with standards set by government regulations.
9. Safety Manager
A safety manager is responsible for ensuring that work at their organization is safe.
They become involved with all aspects of the environment and its practices.
Managers are in charge of designing preventative measures and providing training in order to make all employees aware of any potential hazards.
10. HSE Manager
HSE managers ensure the safety of all workers at their organization, and for this purpose they conduct inspections to ensure that work activities are up to par with government regulations.
Challenges Faced by Environmental Specialist on the Job
Some of the challenges faced by environmental specialist on the job are:
- Working in extreme environments
Many environmental specialists will find themselves working in extreme environments.
For example, when there are earthquakes that cause landslides, then they will be expected to work at the scene to assist with clean up and debris disposal.
2. Being exposed to all kinds of germs and diseases
Environmental specialists will be constantly exposed to a number of germs and diseases.
These individuals may come into contact with biological hazards such as viruses, bacteria, and parasites while performing their duties outside.
3. Having to work odd or occasional hours
Environmental specialists often have to work odd or occasional hours. They will be expected to work at times that are irregular, such as during weekends and holidays.
Major Benefits of Environmental Specialist Career
Here are major benefits that the environmental specialist career provides:
- Work Environment
Environmental professionals may work for private companies, government agencies, or non-profit organizations.
Those who operate in a lab setting can expect to spend a great deal of time indoors, but jobs that involve fieldwork may often require long periods of time outdoors in potentially harsh weather conditions.
2. Career Outlook
The career outlook for environmental specialists is favorable. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts that employment in the category will increase by 15% between 2016 and 2026, which is higher than average for all occupations.
Environmental specialists can expect an average annual wage of $55,700. The highest-paid 10% of these professionals earn $79,770 or more and the lowest-paid 10% earn less than $45,500.
4. Job Stability
Because the need for environmental specialists is expected to grow, the job market should remain strong.
Demand drives salaries upward, which means that environmental specialists should receive a good return on investment for their education and training over time.
5. Work-life Balance
Environmental specialists often enjoy an appealing work-life balance due to the flexibility of their employment schedules.
The majority of jobs are full-time, but those who are self-employed or work off site may be able to set their own hours.
In general, most environmental specialists work 40 hours per week with some overtime required on occasion.
More Benefits of Environmental Specialist Career
6. Learn New Technologies
Environmental specialists will learn new technologies as they advance in their careers.
This experience can be particularly advantageous for those who have earned degrees in science, engineering, and technology.
These areas are becoming increasingly critical to the overall operation of the modern business enterprise.
7. Live by your Values
Working in the environment and safety field may be a rewarding experience for many people because they can live by their values and do something positive to help protect the environment.
The environmental specialist career may have several benefits in today’s job market. If you like working outdoors and are enthusiastic about protecting the environment, it could be a good choice for you. A career as an environmental specialist can further your knowledge and expertise on environmental issues and give you a chance to make an impact.