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What are the Different Environmental Jobs?

Ken Black
Ken Black

Environmental jobs are those that serve to better the environment in one way or another. These tasks can be highly technical and involved in science, such as being an ecologist, or can be an advocacy position, such as a lobbyist. Most environmental jobs will require at least a certain degree of scientific knowledge. Even those involved in public relations and lobbying will need to have enough knowledge to explain things in a simplified manner to others. These jobs are often called green jobs, or green collar jobs.

The environmental jobs that require the highest level of education are those that involve a lot of scientific work in the ecology field. These individuals are responsible for assessing the health of a particular environment, and suggest ways to improve it or sustain it. They may be employed by the government, private organizations, or even private industry. Though private industry gets a lot of criticism, there are responsible companies that understand that a good environment is in the company's best interest over the long term, and will hire ecologists with this in mind.

Some in the environmental field work as lobbyists.
Some in the environmental field work as lobbyists.

An environmental consultant is a person who focuses not on the overall environment, like many environmental jobs, but on a specific portion. It could be as small as a specific piece of property. The consultant will assess the overall air quality, ground quality, and water quality for a client. Most likely, the client is looking to locate on the spot. Environmental issues may affect the cost of building on the site, and may not make the project feasible in that location.

Ecology is one type of environmental work.
Ecology is one type of environmental work.

Some environmental jobs focus on environmental health. These jobs will advise managers and others on how to perform job duties in otherwise hazardous environmental conditions. They may also assess the environment for different health concerns, such as allergies and asthma. Once the tests have been conducted, those involved in environmental health occupations may make recommendations for resolving problems, or at least come up with measures to protect those subjected to the conditions.

Conservation biologists study evolution, ecology, and earth sciences.
Conservation biologists study evolution, ecology, and earth sciences.

Lobbyists and public relations individuals are responsible for trying to influence policy. They will talk with key lawmakers and bureaucrats to explain the situation, and how different laws or policies could be shaped to improve it. Often, they may help coordinate testimony in congressional or legislative committees by bringing in the scientists who have studied the issue, and have first-hand knowledge of the situation. These individuals will also take their cases to the media, encouraging coverage both in print and broadcast forms. For those who have substantial advertising budgets, radio or television commercials may play a role.

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Discussion Comments


Green and Environment Jobs were heralded as the way forward to help save the earth and to combat climate change, enhance conservation efforts and halt species decline. But just how far have we come in the past 10 years writes Andrew Coleman for StopDodo online at

"There are several studies of the jobs market and the scope for creating a successful career in this field, but is environmental protection a vocation that I would encourage any undergraduate to follow?" (writes Andrew)

"Until 2008 there was a tremendous growth pretty much all niches of environmentalism. The trend followed a similar pattern to the tech boom, and the current situation is also the same...the 'bubble burst."

"Although there has seen a marginal growth in the years post 2008, growth remains subdued. Previously buoyant areas such as 'organics' 'ecology' and 'climate change' have continued to tread water."

"The organic market is predominantly a consumer driven market, and affected by price, customer spend, inflation and employment. In the minority are the organic diehards that will continue to by organic produce irrespective of price and quantity - in favor of a 'lifestyle decision'. The organic market has nose dived since 2008, but it is my opinion that this will become 'part and parcel' of the Fairtrade consumerism and will once again grow. (Fairtrade has not been affected by the global recession but has in fact grown)."

"Ecology is affected by private sector business and to a lesser extent by public sector pay. Without developments there is little demand for the services of ecology consultancy services. Less demand creates a stagnant job market. There will however, always be a seasonal demand for ecologists."

"Climate Change (CC) is affected by both public and private sector spend. But unlike other specialisms, it has been seen to be at the mercy of climate sceptics and conflicting reports about the integrity of climate data. CC is undoubtedly affecting the globe and is integral to many jobs. However, private sector developments, R&D and the resulting increase in the jobs market has not materialized as would have been expected."

"...Onto renewables. Renewables are the holy grail. However, it is my opnion that the future for renewables is fusion energy. Fusion energy requires little physical space and creates energy thousands of times higher (per input) than any other form of energy creation (nuclear aside). However, there is little R&D into this potentially planet saving energy resource. It is my belief that solar, wind and wave technology are too unreliable, labor intensive, invasive, costly and ineffective."

We are currently collating market data and hope to publish some statistics and trends later in 2013.

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    • Some in the environmental field work as lobbyists.
      By: Andrey Burmakin
      Some in the environmental field work as lobbyists.
    • Ecology is one type of environmental work.
      By: Frank
      Ecology is one type of environmental work.
    • Conservation biologists study evolution, ecology, and earth sciences.
      By: eliaskordelakos
      Conservation biologists study evolution, ecology, and earth sciences.