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An environmental manager works with businesses, governments, and non-profit organizations to ensure compliance with environmental standards and improve environmental performance. Many help perform risk assessment for environmental hazards and develop clean-up strategies for spills and other environmental disaster. In order to become an environmental manager, a person needs a blend of education and training that gives him or her expertise in environmental regulations and environmental assessment.
Education is important to any person planning to become an environmental manager. Most positions require at least an undergraduate degree, but many advanced jobs require graduate degrees and certification as well. Possible areas of studying for a person who wants to become an environmental manager may include earth sciences, environmental science, ecology, engineering, or environmental health. Undergraduate degrees do not necessarily need to be in a related field if the person also possesses a graduate degree in an environment-based subject.
During calling, getting internships or summer jobs with environmental consulting firms may be important for anyone who plans to become an environmental manager. Not only do these positions provide valuable work experience, they can also provide a student with contacts in the working world that can lead to jobs following graduation. Taking internships or summer jobs can also help a student narrow down his or her focus to determine in what area he or she would like to specialize.
After schooling is completed, it may be important to find out about local certification programs. Certification typically consists of a test on regulations and environmental law, but may not be required in all areas. Where certification is required, tests may be given several times a year, granting qualified test-takers the right to call themselves certified environmental managers. Recertification may be required every few years in some areas. While certification is not always required to become an environmental manager, it can help clients and potential employers feel assured of a manager's skills and knowledge.
The jobs available in environmental management can carry wide and varied responsibilities. Working for a non-profit organization might include raising community awareness about environmental hazards and opportunities, while working for a government might require developing new environmental standards. In the private sector, a manager might spend most of his or her time ensuring that the company is compliant with regulations, and developing strategies to adapt to new regulations and laws.
Finding a job as an environmental manager may depend on where an individual wishes to work. Online job sites are a good resource for environmental management jobs in the private, public, and non-profit centers. Engineering and business fairs may also present good opportunities to find out about potential jobs and meet with representatives from dozens of different organizations.