How Do I Become an Environmental Protection Specialist?

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  • Written By: D. Nelson
  • Edited By: Rachel Catherine Allen
  • Last Modified Date: 20 May 2019
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Environmental protection specialists are professionals who are concerned with reducing pollution levels and protecting natural resources. They are found in a number of different areas, such as in government agencies, in the private sector, and in colleges and universities, where they perform studies and present papers that might influence policy. To become an environmental protection specialist you should first earn an undergraduate degree in a field such as earth science or environmental studies. It is important that you get a strong education in areas of biology, chemistry, weather systems, and geology. You should also consider a graduate degree in a related field, and may have to work for years as an assistant before becoming a full-time specialist.

In most cases, environmental protection specialists are highly educated and experienced professionals who can provide accurate information that might impact how environmental policy is written and they may also prescribe actions to improve environmental health. A corporation might hire an environmental protection specialist to ensure that an organization's industrial practices are ethical and that they are compliant with government environmental agencies. An individual who wants to become an environmental protection specialist might also find work in a government agency or with a non-government organization that promotes environmental health and safety.


To become an environmental protection specialist, it is usually a good idea to earn a graduate degree as well as an undergraduate degree in environmental science or in another relevant subject. While some people who wish to act as researchers and communicators might be able to progress with master's degrees, others certainly can benefit from earning doctorate degrees. People who would like to work as professors and researchers in the environmental sciences should almost always earn doctorate degrees.

In undergraduate degree programs in environmental protection, it is common to study fields such as microbiology, botany, public policy, the economics of natural resources, and soil science. If you choose to enroll in a graduate program, you should expect to have to choose an area of specialization. For example, if you are interested in protecting natural resources, you might take courses in applied economics, which includes econometrics and advanced math, such as calculus, as well as in agriculture.

In order to become an environmental protection specialist, it is normally important to have many years of experience working on specific issues. For example, if you are interested in preserving water sources, you should make sure that you get plenty of experience working on studies in which you study issues such as the causes of water pollution. The greater number of papers you publish and the more specialized work you perform, the closer you can get to reaching your goal. Most environmental protection specialists get experience in graduate programs, which also allow them to engage in internships in organizations such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the United States.



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