An environmental specialist addresses environmental issues via scientific research. This includes coming up with solutions to curb pollution, increase sustainability, replenish resources and improve conservation efforts. In most cases, they create reports based on their findings.
Most of these professionals work for state governments but many are also hired by local governments and engineering businesses. Workplaces for them are usually labs and offices but they also work outdoors for research purposes in different weather conditions. Needless to say, the job demands for an environmental specialist can be physically demanding.
If you want to become one, you will be responsible for the following tasks:
- Collecting and examining soil, water, plant and other samples.
- Look into complaints or environmental issues that impact public health.
- Evaluate facilities that impact the environment or public health negatively.
- Meet with agencies and clients to discuss solutions and plans to implement them.
- Examine environmental health concerns.
- Work with organizations to create solutions for the reduction of pollution and waste.
- Prepare reports on particular issues regarding conservation efforts
- Set up and implement cleanup operations in polluted areas.
That is not to say you will be responsible for everything in the list. The job duties of an environmental specialist can vary depending on the employer and industry they work for. However, whichever industry you decide to step into, you can earn upwards of $67,000 as a professional.
To get to that level, you need to follow a few steps:
Step 1 – Complete an undergraduate program
Almost every job in this industry requires higher education or at least a bachelor’s degree. That’s because if you want to study environmental sciences, you have to explore several subjects such as geography, chemistry, earth science, physics etc.
Plus, depending on the field you choose, you may also have to take up extra courses in humanities, communication, technical writing, data analysis, computer modeling, geographic information systems and the social sciences. As an environmental specialist, you may have to talk to locals and employers about the results of your research or your solutions.
Step 2 – Build your career
After completing all of the courses you need and getting suitable degrees, you need to get some experience in the industry. For a start, sign up for internships with government offices, research facilities, college programs or private agencies.
Depending on the choice you make, you will be expected to work either part-time or full-time without or with pay. Choose one which gives you the experience you need to move ahead in your career even if it means working without pay full-time. It will look great in your resume and can land you a job faster.
Completing an internship before looking for the job you need will pay off. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) the expected job growth in the environmental sciences will only increase. Plus, the private sector will be doing most of the hiring. That means more benefits, a good salary and chances to move up in your career.
Working for a private business that wishes to remain compliant with EPA regulations may be part of your job as well. You may also be asked to conduct research on a client’s behalf on the environmental impact of certain projects.
The bottom line is in order to become a professional environmental specialist, you need to complete your education and do the necessary legwork. It will be worth it. The debate on climate change coming to a head, the need for environmental experts is at an all time high. Private firms, government agencies and public organizations are making efforts to reduce their carbon footprint and maintain sustainable operations. As an expert, you will have a lot to offer that can make you a valuable asset.
Certified Environmental Specialist
As an environmental specialist, you have to know the Clean Air Act inside and out. Sign up for the Certified Environmental Specialist by 360training.com for it. The course describes the missions, importance of the act, its history and its amendments in detail. Students also learn how the Clean Air Act helps communities and the impact it has on businesses. Sign up today to become a professional.