Category Archives: Environmental Science

engineer checking on the site

CenterPoint Energy Jobs: Availability, Salaries, & More

Whether you’re an energy professional looking for a new employer, or someone interested in shifting into a growing and promising field, the energy industry is for you. The ongoing growth in the demand for energy has naturally increased the size of the industry surrounding it, leading to the creation of a great many jobs. In this article, we’ll explore the many kinds of energy jobs that there are available on the market, with a particular focus on CenterPoint Energy jobs. As we’ll demonstrate, the energy industry is growing and will have an ongoing demand for qualified employees to support growth.

​What Kind of Energy Jobs are Available?

​The growth in the energy industry at large has resulted in an expansion in the number of jobs available therein. The job options in the industry are broad, and including positions ranging from paid interns to accountants in the realm of general support, the specialized engineers and compliance auditors in the more advanced fields of practice in the organization. Following is a presentation of some energy jobs that are currently available on the market, with a section on CenterPoint Energy jobs to illustrate opportunities at that particular company.

Engineering

man with a hat making a sketch

Image via Pexels

​Engineers are essential in the design of new technology, and in the construction and operation of facilities using current technology. It is through the presence and ongoing influx of engineering expertise that the innovation of the energy industry, or any industry for that matter, is driven. As better educated and more innovative engineers enter the sphere, jobs in sustainable energy will increase exponentially into the future. While energy engineer jobs experienced a decrease between 2004-2017, the demand thereof has recently begun to rise, as will be discussed below.

The role of the energy engineer is best explored through an example. An energy engineer at NRG in Houston receives an estimated salary of $62,000 - $92,000, according to Glassdoor estimates rooted in former and current employee reports. An NRG energy engineer is expected to manage, develop, and advise customers on how to be more energy efficient through the performance of ASHRAE Level I-III energy audits while working with internal stakeholders to identify a suite of solutions to provide for customer needs. Energy auditing and verification experience are required.

A senior energy engineer at NORESCO in Houston earns a Glassdoor estimated salary of $80,000 - $117,000 for performing next-level engineering work. The senior energy engineer performs energy audits with ASHRAE Level 1 through investment grade, retro-commissioning and commissioning for clients in the industrial, pharmaceutical, healthcare, commercial, lab, higher education, and municipality/county government sectors. Feasibility studies of renewable and energy efficient technologies are also conducted, including wind turbines, micro-cogeneration systems, and others.

Management

group of people talking and planning  at the table

Image via Pexels

​The management and leadership of the energy industry are the foundation upon which the technology rests. Without sufficient management and leadership on the corporate side of the energy industry, the greatest of innovations will be ineffectual. Corporate managers, compliance specialists, accountants, team leaders, and various other essential executive roles must be effectively filled to in turn direct the administration thereof. Management positions include an array of corporate roles such as the Chief Executive Officer, the CEO, and the many managers needed to lead the many departments.

Support

​As with any industry, the specialists and management that support them must rely upon an administrative support team to achieve their objectives. Thus as energy companies expand and their numbers of clients increase, the number of support personnel to directly provide for the management and also the client base of the business will grow. To provide us with more specific examples of the job demands of an energy company, the following is a consideration of 5 CenterPoint Energy jobs and their requirements.

Support staff jobs include data management and data entry, reception, marketing, customer service, and support, and a wide variety of other jobs that are essential in maintaining the effective operation of any energy company.

CenterPoint Energy Jobs

​To provide some greater specificity on energy industry jobs, we’ll consider CenterPoint Energy jobs. At the current time, there are some 75 listings on Glassdoor for CenterPoint Energy jobs, exhibiting the growth of the company and ongoing expansion of the industry. Following a few of the primary positions available through CenterPoint Energy jobs, in addition to a brief description to give you an idea as to what they entail.

  • ​IT Network Security Analyst – maintains security for control systems, and CNP firewall infrastructure and IPS infrastructure. Maintains PGP encryption, URL filter, AMS security, IG security, infrastructure and web application vulnerability assessments, security incident handling, and many other functions.
  • ​CAD/GIS Technician II – including performing intermediate level assignments to support distribution operations, including construction projects, permit applications, and other support services. Interpret construction designs and drawings of both existing and proposed gas projects.
  • ​Radio Communications Technician – receive and make radio calls. Position only available after completion of multiple apprenticeship periods progressing through them then the prescribed written exams, oral and demonstration of the skills learned through formal and informal training.
  • ​Salesforce Developer – support projects for the Salesforce and provide various services through custom development, data analysis, systems administration, and configuration. Main applications are in Force.com using APEX, VisualForce, and Lightning components/framework.
  • ​Fleet Data Specialist I – Interact with various departments to produce timely results and processing for the invoicing of payment to meet vendor schedules, while retaining accounts in good standing. Internal and external fuel resources must be managed while adhering to federal, state, and local governing rules and laws.

​What is the Salary of an Energy Job?

​​As with any career, the salary that one might receive depends upon a broad combination of factors related to the individual, their personal and professional experience, and their education, certifications, and other relevant qualifications. In the energy field give the diverse array of positions available, the experience and qualifications of the employee will have a considerable impact upon the amount of money they are paid. The entry-level energy engineer position explored above ranged from $62,000 - $92,000 while the senior energy engineer earns from $80,000 to $117,000.

There can be a high level of variation in the salaries that employees in the energy industry might experience. Following is a consideration of the same select CenterPoint Energy jobs explore above to present the earnings potential of the industry and variability thereof regarding experience and education.

​CenterPoint Energy Jobs Salaries

​To provide insight into the salaries offered for energy jobs, following is a presentation of the salaries of a handful of currently available CenterPoint Energy jobs, based upon Glassdoor estimates which are rooted in reports provided by current and past employees.

  • ​IT Network Security Analyst – $57,000 - $97,000
  • ​CAD/GIS Technician II - $53,000 - $77,000
  • ​Radio Communications Technician – $19.00 - $31.00 (hourly)
  • ​Salesforce Developer – $87,000 - $129,000
  • ​Fleet Data Specialist I - $39,000 - $64,000

​​The Outlook of Energy Jobs

group of people having meeting

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The outlook for energy jobs is expected to increase substantially in the coming years. While some positions in the energy industry such has energy engineers experienced a slight dip in the 2000s, dropping some 12.9% since 2004. There had been an average decline of 2.1% for energy engineer jobs each year since 2004. However, the outlooks are expected to be increasingly positive, with some 55,790 new energy engineer jobs expected to be created by the end of 2018. This represents nearly a 5% rate of growth, marking a shift in the tides of the jobs in the energy industry.

While energy engineers and managers will always be essential, the most rapid growth being experienced in the energy industry is not in offices and laboratories, but on the streets and in the homes of the community. Energy service and installation jobs are the fastest growing segments of work in the energy industry. As more and more homes are built, and more and more people settle into cities, the demand for new energy systems and service upon current energy systems is on the rise.

In 2017 some 133,000 new positions were created in the energy and energy efficiency sectors, representing a growth of 2% overall. Regarding solar energy, the growth was even greater but in the opposite direction, with a decrease in jobs of 6% in 2017, a loss of 24,000 jobs. This was due to a 30% drop in installations in 2017 in contrast to the prior year. As some emerging technologies gain a foothold, the demand for their installation will wane as service demands instead begin to increase.

​Conclusion

​A career in the energy industry is accessible to individuals with a great variety of professional backgrounds, educational disciplines, and experiences. As the energy industry grows, evolves, and expands, all positions in the energy industry will increase substantially. With the growth of sustainable energy initiatives, energy engineers with advanced knowledge to support innovation will be increasingly necessary, while the management and support staff with their unique abilities will also continue to be in growing demand.

For more information on careers in the energy field and related developments, check back to the Energy Job Blog for ongoing updates and articles.

Featured Image via Pixabay

water dam under white and blue skies

Pros & Cons of Hydropower

Below, we'll be covering the pros and cons of hydropower. There are a lot of benefits of hydropower; however, recent scientific studies have shed new light on an energy source that is also being pushed by several countries as environmentally friendly.

For centuries, hydropower from many kinds of water mills has been used for irrigation and to operate various machines and technology, including gristmills, sawmills, textile mills, trips hammers, dock cranes, and ore mills. In the late 1800's, hydropower became a source for generating electricity. The first commercial hydropower dam was built at Niagara falls in 1879.

What Is Hydropower?

Hydropower, also known as water power, is derived from the energy of falling water or fast running water.

How Energy Is Made

water dam

                                                                                 Photo by Nicole Harrington via Unsplash

Energy from conventional hydroelectric dams comes from the potential energy of dammed water driving a turbine and generator. The amount of extracted power depends on the volume of the water and the difference in height between the source and the water's outflow. A large pipe, known as the penstock, delivers water to the turbines from the reservoir.

What Determines How Much Energy Is Made?

The farther the water falls, the more power it generates. Usually, the distance the water falls depends on the size of the dam. The power of the falling water is directly proportional to the distance it falls, essentially water falling twice as far has twice as much potential energy. Additionally, the power is also directly proportional to river flow.

Types of Hydropower

Hydropower plants range in size from micro-plants, that power only a few homes, to giant dams that generate enough electricity for millions of people.

Pump-Storage Method

The Pump-storage method creates electricity to supply high peak demands by moving water between reservoirs at different elevations. This method is the most commercially important means of large-scale grid energy storage and improves the daily capacity factor of the generation system. At night, when the demand for electricity is low, water is pumped back up into the dam so it can be released again the next day when electricity demand is higher.

Run-of-the-River Stations

hoover damn during daytime

                                                                                             Photo by Alicia Bell via Unsplash

Run-of-the-river stations have no reservoir capacity, are powered only by the water coming upstream, and any oversupply must pass unused. There must be a constant supply of water from a lake or an existing reservoir upstream for a significant advantage in choosing this type of hydropower.

Tide Power Stations

A tide power station makes use of the rise and fall of tidal waves, a highly predictable, dis-patchable source of electricity (electricity on demand at the request of power grid operators).

Large-Scale Plants

Large-scale hydropower plants are more commonly seen as the largest power producing facilities in the world. Some facilities are capable of generating more than double the installed capacities of the current largest nuclear power stations. Currently, only four facilities over 10,000 megawatts are in operation worldwide, two of which are in China, while the others are in Brazil and Venezuela.

Micro-Plants

line of flowers

                                                                                         Photo by Scott Webb via Unsplash

Small-scale development of hydropower, also known as micro-plants, typically serves a small community or an industrial factory. The definition may vary, but it is generally accepted that a small hydro station produces under 10 megawatts, although some may produce as much as 30 MW in Canada and the United States. Small-scale stations can be built in isolated areas that would be uneconomic to serve from a network or in areas where there is no national electrical distribution network. These projects typically have minimal reservoirs and civil construction work. They have a relatively low environmental impact compared to large hydropower plants. The decreased environmental impact depends strongly on the balance between stream flow and power production.

How Hydropower Works

Hydropower plants use turbines to convert the kinetic energy of falling water into mechanical energy, then a generator converts it the electrical energy.

photo of truss towers

                                                                               Photo by Matthew Henry via Unsplash


Making Electricity

The energy from flowing water is captured and turned into electricity. The most common type of hydropower uses a dam on a river to store water as a reservoir. Water released from the reservoir flows through a turbine, spinning it, which in turn activates a generator to produce electricity. However, hydropower doesn't always require a large dam. There are some hydropower plants that only use a small canal to channel the river water through a turbine. The turbine propeller is turned by the moving water.

silhouette of wind turbines during sunset

                                             Photo by Anna Jiménez Calaf via Unsplash


Spinning Turbines

When water levels of the river rise, the force of falling water pushes against the turbine's blades and causes the turbine to spin. Much like a windmill, the turbine "collects" the kinetic energy of falling water, and then causes the shaft that connects to the generators to spin also, converting the mechanical energy to electricity. Then, the electricity is sent through transmission lines to either the power grid, homes, or businesses.

Pros and Cons of Hydropower

Hydroelectricity is the most popular and one of the most used forms of renewable energy as compared to other energy forms such as solar, tidal, or wind energy. But, as we use hydropower more, we learn more about the potential effects it has on our environment. In a recent study, hydropower stations from around the world are responsible for more methane and carbon dioxide emissions than previously assumed. The balance of the pros and cons of hydropower have shifted since the study was published in 2016.

While hydropower can generate electricity, it can cause environmental and social harm. Damage to wildlife habitats, impaired water quality, impeded fish migration, reduced sediment transport, along with diminished cultural and recreation benefits of rivers were reported due to the hydropower plants effects on the waterways.

Pros of Hydropower

Availability


Hydropower is generally available when needed. Engineers control the flow of water through turbines to produce electricity on demand. The time required to shut down and restart a hydropower station is far less than other power stations. Other types of power stations can take up to eight hours to restart. A hydropower station can restart in just a few minutes.


Cost


Hydropower is also less expensive than solar power, and it can provide power and water to communities in northern climates better than solar energy.


Recreational Opportunities

group of people gathering on field

                                                                                 Photo by Robert Bye via Unsplash

Impoundment hydropower creates reservoirs that provide a variety of recreational opportunities: fishing, swimming, and boating. Other benefits may include water supply and flood control.


Cons of Hydropower

Greenhouse Emissions

hydroelectric power

                                                                        image source: unsplash

While hydroelectric power is completely free of fossil fuels, or other perishable resources, it does not involve any combustion or burning of fuel, like coal. Many countries consider hydroelectricity a clean source of power, due to the lack of burning fossil fuels. However, the study from 2016 shows that the world's hydroelectric dams' greenhouse gas emissions are responsible for as much as Canada.


The study from Washington State University finds methane, which is at least 34 times more potent than other greenhouse gases. In addition to methane, carbon dioxide makes up 80 percent of emissions from water storage reservoirs created by dams.


As of 2016, 100 studies on greenhouse gas emissions, from 267 large reservoirs around the world, find that methane and carbon dioxide make 80 percent of the emissions from large-scale reservoirs. None of which, are currently included in global greenhouse gas inventories.

These greenhouse gas emissions vary according to a wide variety of indications: air and water temperature, season and time of day, vegetation and soil types in both the reservoir and the upstream watershed, and watershed management practices.


Hydropower dams manipulate water levels to make electricity. When the water levels decline, the hydrostatic pressure on submerged soils also lowers, and it allows gas bubbles to escape. Some gas bubbles can stay trapped in the water while others surface and get released into the atmosphere.


Ecological Effects


silhouette of factory during sunset

                                                                                 Photo by Sam Bark via Unsplash

Additionally, constructing a river dam, at a particular location, can lead to adverse ecological effects on its immediate surroundings. A proper land examination is a must prior to hydropower station construction. Earthquakes are also a major concern when it comes to hydroelectricity generation. It has been observed, that in China and India in particular, large dam constructions are responsible for massive earthquakes that occurred in those regions. Globally, there are over 100 identified cases of earthquakes that scientists believe were triggered by reservoirs. Scientists believe that earthquakes related to dams are caused by the extra pressure in micro-cracks. This pressure, coupled with the water, acts as a lubricant on fault lines. These fault lines were already under pressure but were stopped from slipping by the friction of rocky surfaces.


Fish Migration

grey school of fish under water

                                                                                      Photo by Jeremy Bishop via Unsplash

Fish populations can be affected if they cannot migrate past impoundment to spawning grounds. An upstream fish passage can be achieved using fish ladders, also known as a fishway. Another option would be trapping and hauling fish upstream by truck. A downstream fish passage can be achieved by diverting fish from turbines using screens, racks, or underwater lights and sounds.


A fish ladder is a structure built on or around dams to help fish pass artificial barriers while migrating. The construction of the ladder allows the fish to swim over low steps to reach the other side.


Water Flow and Quality of Water


Hydropower can also impact water flow and quality. Hydropower plants can cause low dissolved oxygen levels in the water. This is addressed by aeration techniques to oxygenate the water to help improve riparian (riverbank) habitats. Hydropower facilities are also impacted by drought; when there is not enough water available, it cannot power electricity.


Conclusion

hydropower

                                                                                                                     image source: pixabay

About a decade ago, not much was known about water storage reservoirs. Nobody knew the pros and cons of hydropower. It was thought that shallow reservoirs in hot climates were more likely to heat up and emit greenhouse gases. On the contrary, researchers found that biological activities, like nutrient runoff and dying fauna, are major indicators of gas emissions. While the nutrient runoff can also be due to naturally occurring processes, it is usually found in regions affected by farming, logging, and land development. The 2016 study concluded that all 267 water reservoirs, worldwide, contributed to 1.3 percent of all man-made greenhouse emissions. Unfortunately, when comparing the pros and cons of hydropower the disadvantages are starting to outweigh the advantages. 

plant

Environmental Degradation: What We Are Doing To The Environment

The "environment" refers to the surroundings or conditions in which an organism resides. This includes the climate, the land, natural resources, flora and fauna. Over the past few decades, we have heard the term environmental degradation used over and over again: something that was not really talked about in the last century.

The current era--also known as Anthropocene--is a geological period in the history of the earth when mankind has had the most significant impact on the environment. Scientists believe that in the last 50 years alone, the stress on the environment has doubled, while the amount of resources required for human survival have declined by more than 30%.

The environment that we live in has a natural uninterrupted climate and resource cycle that has been operating for millenniums without halting. Recently though, man-kind has interrupted and disrupted this natural cycle in a big way. Research shows that many hydrologic, geologic, atmospheric, and biospheric systems of the earth have been altered by humans. The collapse of the natural balance of the environment due to man-made activities is what we know today as environmental degradation.

What Is Environmental Degradation

Disintegration of Natural Assets

The earth is a vast store of natural resources like land, water, air, fossil fuels, and plants that serve many purposes. These resources have been around for years and regenerate themselves from time to time. Every natural resource has its own place, temperature, area and path of movement, be it rain water, polar ice, desert sand, minerals, or animal species.

Extensive interference by man in the natural cycle of these resources has put a spoke in the wheel of the planet’s recurring systems, leading to climate changes and problems like soil erosion, a rise in sea levels, pollution, and the extinction of various plant and animal species.

Environmental degradation does not occur in an isolated system but across all spheres on the earth. Water bodies are dirty and marine life is affected due to garbage dumping, fishing trawlers, oil spills, and soil erosion. This in turn renders all water reserves unhealthy and reduces the volume of potable water. The various modes of transport on land, sea and air pollute every layer of the atmosphere. Excessive agricultural practices spoil the land, resulting in poisonous crops. Environmental degradation ultimately causes more and more health problems for people everywhere.

A Serious Threat

The environment is a complex cluster of different ecosystems that are inter-dependent. When one ecosystem fails, there is a ripple effect all across the systems, resulting in the breakdown of other ecosystems as well. Environmental degradation is considered one of the gravest issues for the world today. Every country is trying its best to control the harm being caused to the environment and reverse some of the negative effects of it.

Scientists believe that human overpopulation and overconsumption has led to the extinction of numerous animal species, a phenomenon they are calling ‘the 6th extinction’ and which may very well result in a worldwide biological annihilation.

Is There a Need To Understand Environmental Degradation?

trash around empty trash bin

Deteriorating Living Conditions

The habitat in which we live is no longer healthy. The air, water, and soil are polluted due to industrial effluents and inadequate sewage treatment. To produce crops in large quantities, pesticides and artificial fertilizers are used, which decreases the volume of arable land over time and also renders food unhealthy. These fertilizers and pesticides get into the water system of a region and pollute it. This in turn contaminates the drinking water. Large-scale deforestation and land clearing has led to silting of rivers and extinction of many animal species that were an indispensable part of the food chain.

In order to reverse the pernicious effects on climate, it is necessary to understand what environmental degradation is and what causes it. Only when there is large-scale awareness of the causes and consequences of climate deterioration to mankind, will different agencies be able to find solutions to combat it.

Small Actions Have a Large Impact

Another reason why it is extremely important to understand environmental degradation and its causes is to so we can reduce acts of pollution that go unnoticed but have a great impact on the climate. There are numerous daily activities we believe don’t make a big difference. But when one family adds to pollution with this belief in mind, we cannot forget that there will be millions of families who feel the same way and go about destroying the environment one day at a time.

If everyone is aware of the waste they leave on the planet and the resources they expend, it will be easier to reduce the same and build a better habitat. Large scale afforestation, promoting the use of solar energy, recycling, the segregation of garbage, and a ban on plastic uses are some global measures climate agencies are harping on to slow down environmental degradation. But all of these measures must be put into place at the local household level in order to bring about results on a massive scale.

Information On Environmental Degradation

water pollution

Population Control

The planet we live on provides us with resources that help sustain human and animal life on earth. It has taken many years for these resources to form in quantities enough for a particular size of population. Unless population explosion is brought under control, the resources that have already taken years to get replenished will deplete at an alarming rate and no conservation measures will suffice.

International Organizations for Climate Conservation

Various groups at governmental and non-governmental level are working to find sustainable solutions to climate change, scarcity of resources, and deterioration of living conditions across cities. The United Nations Environment Program addresses serious climate issues of different countries through its key bodies like the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD).

Environmental organizations like Greenpeace, Worldwide Fund for Nature, and the United States Environmental Protection Agency also actively take part in conservation and awareness programs to counter environmental degradation.

Economic Effects

air pollution

Environmental degradation is largely caused by economic development. The mechanization of work, industrialization across sectors, new modes of transport and sprawling urbanization is causing more stress on the environment in the form of increased pollution, felling of tress, or exploitation of ground water. Courses of rivers are erratic and soil erosion is increasing, causing roadblocks in irrigation projects. Oil spills are extremely tough to clean and cause a lot of damage to marine life.

At the same time, more economic resources are required to deal with the consequences of climate change. Natural calamities induced by man-made activities, like floods and fires, are increasing in number. In such emergencies, large amounts of capital are needed for rescue and relief efforts, rehabilitation of affected people, and rebuilding of infrastructure. Hence, a progressive economy is causing environmental degradation as well as bearing the brunt of it.

Social Impact

crops

Environmental degradation greatly affects the lives of people. Many places face untimely rains, cyclones, or drought conditions and ruined crops or harvest which in turn affects the income of the people. Rising pollution and smog levels cause grave health conditions and respiratory illnesses, especially in children and senior citizens. Increased smog levels are often a major cause for accidents.

Conservation Efforts

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is a global convention with the aim of limiting greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere. The Paris Agreement (one of the most significant agreements in recent times) under the UNFCCC was adopted in December 2015 and is to date ratified by 181 parties out of the 197 parties to the convention. The main aim of this agreement is for all countries to ensure that the increase in global temperature is restricted to below 2 degrees in the current century. This should be accompanied by conservation and enhancement of GHG (greenhouse gas) sinks and reservoirs everywhere.

Conclusion

people protesting

Many agencies have taken up the task of searching for earthly resources on other planets or sustainable options on earth. This is an expensive endeavor in itself. But even if alternatives are found, no environment can stand up to the excessive exploitation of natural assets. Human activities have ruffled natural climate systems so much that we now need artificially created cycles like cloud seeding to bring rainfall.

Unsustainable practices and abuse of renewable resources costs a lot. The global economy, health, as well as community living is under threat and can come to an end if viable ecological solutions are not put into place. And because climate change has been set in motion a while back, it will take some time before it comes to a halt or even reduces considerably.

Even if all unwanted emissions stop completely today, the effects of the same will continue for centuries due to the cumulative impact of all the emissions that are already present in the atmosphere for so many years. It is late, but slowing down the environmental degradation that is affecting every organism across the various ecosystems is crucial for a healthy, sustainable habitat for the coming generations.

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Environmental Science Jobs: Availability, Salaries, & More

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Environmental Science Jobs: Availability, Salaries, & More

In today's world with its growing concerns about climate change and sustainable development, environmental scientists are in great demand. Environmental scientists can have many roles in both public and private sector companies, so there are many types of environmental science jobs available. Environmental science jobs are available in a range of geographical locations and can include fieldwork, office work, or a combination of both.

As awareness and concern about environmental issues increases, the number of environmental science jobs available will continue to grow, making environmental science a rewarding field with considerable growth potential.

What Is an Environmental Scientist?

Laboratory staff

Environmental scientists apply their skills and knowledge to allow for a better understanding of the environment, to identify current and future environmental issues, and to address those environmental issues.  While the specific education and training of environmental scientists vary, environmental scientists share a number of characteristics in addition to their love of the environment. Some of these characteristics are curiosity, the ability to analyze and interpret data, and excellent written and verbal communication skills. There is a broad range of environmental science jobs. Some environmental scientists are employed under that title while others work in more specialized jobs within the environmental science jobs umbrella. Examples of these specialized jobs include those of environmental engineers, environmental biologists, and environmental geologists. There are also other professions that can be combined with environmental science as with positions in the field of environmental law. 

Environmental scientists work in a variety of settings and with people in many different professions. Environmental science jobs can be office-based, field-based, or some combination of the two. Because of the importance of environmental health, environmental scientists may work with professionals of many kinds. It is not uncommon for environmental scientists to work with corporations in a wide variety of industries, with government officials or programs, or with nonprofit agencies.

Education & Certification Needed for Environmental Science Jobs

Because there is no one job description for an environmental scientist, there is no single education and certification path. For most entry-level environmental science jobs, a bachelor's degree in environmental science or a closely related field is required. Computer skills relating to geography such as digital mapping, remote sensing, and geographic information systems are in high demand. Additionally, computer skills like data manipulation and computer modeling are quite valuable for an environmental scientist. 

checking the microscope

Some environmental sciences jobs require more comprehensive or more specific education and certification. Because of the vast scope of the potential jobs available to environmental scientists, getting a double major, with the second major in an area of study that closely relates to the kind of work you'd like to do as an environmental scientist, can greatly increase your chances of getting the environmental science job you're most interested in. Though some positions do require a master's degree, doctoral degrees in environmental science are generally only required for teaching positions or for select research positions.

In areas where environmental science and another field overlap, training in both fields could be necessary. Environmental law jobs may require that, in addition to completing an environmental studies degree, a potential candidate also be able to practice law. For many environmental scientists who work primarily within corporate environments, additional degrees or certification in finance or business management may prove invaluable.

Environmental Science Job Availability, Salary, and More

There are many different types of environmental science jobs available. Though all of these jobs do share some qualities, there will be variance between different environmental science jobs when it comes to the specific focus, job duties, educational requirements, and salary

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENTIST

checking the microscope

Environmental Scientist Job Description

Environmental scientists could be responsible for many different job duties. One environmental scientist might conduct experiments in waterways to better understand the potential impact of a toxic spill. Another environmental scientist might gather data and create maps to illustrate how different environmental factors, like air pollution or water quality, change over time. A third environmental scientist might study the interaction of people with certain aspects of their environment, like wildlife. These are only a handful of many options.

Environmental Scientist Education

Environmental scientists typically have a bachelor's degree in environmental science or environmental studies.  

Environmental Scientist Salary and Job Outlook

As of 2015, the median wage for environmental scientists was roughly $67,000 annually. The job market for environmental scientists has been projected to increase by about eleven percent between 2014 and 2024.

ENVIRONMENTAL ENGINEER

filling a container

Environmental Engineer Job Description

Environmental engineers use their knowledge and skills to address environmental issues and concerns. Environmental engineering has many potential applications. Environmental engineers could be involved in the creation and updating of reports, project development, and implementation, the analysis, and interpretation of data, or consulting work.

The job duties of an environmental engineer vary based both on the local environmental concerns and the skills of the environmental engineer. Some possible jobs for environmental engineers include finding innovative ways to reduce waste, assisting in the planning and permitting process for a construction project, or consulting in regard to how air pollution impacts human health and safety. Some environmental engineers work primarily in an office setting while others spend much of their time in the field.

Environmental Engineer Education

Environmental engineers need a minimum of a bachelor's degree in environmental engineering, or in another related engineering field like civil engineering. This field highly values hands-on experience, so internships and cooperative programs that allow work for college credit will help you to be more competitive when applying for environmental science jobs of this nature.

Environmental Engineer Salary and Job Outlook

As of 2012, the median wage for environmental engineers was roughly $81,000 annually. Those with federal government environmental engineering jobs earned roughly $98,000 annually during the same time period. The job market for environmental engineers has been projected to increase by about fifteen percent between 2011 and 2022.

ENVIRONMENTAL BIOLOGIST

plant tissue culture in a glass container

Environmental Biologist Job Description

Environmental biologists work with such aspects of environmental science as ecological conservation, land and water specialization, and landscape analysis and management. This kind of environmental science focuses heavily on associated disciplines of biology and zoology.

Environmental Biologist Education

Environmental scientists might get degrees relating to environmental design, ecology, and conservation. Landscape architects, for example, pursue degrees in environmental design and architecture.

Environmental Biologist Salary and Job Outlook

Environmental biologists can make varying salaries depending on their career path. The median salary for a landscape architect was roughly $63,000 in 2015. In 2012, the median salary for a conservation scientist was roughly $59,000 annually. Demand for environmental biologists is expected to continue to increase.

ENVIRONMENTAL GEOLOGIST

at the table checking rock sample

Environmental Geologist Job Description

Environmental geologists focus on soil and water. In this category of environmental science jobs, the scope of work could include monitoring soil and water quality, as well as developing, implementing, or evaluating plans for the protection or remediation of soil and water resources.

Environmental Geologist Education

In addition to their environmental knowledge, environmental geologists need a strong foundation in earth sciences. A degree that includes such disciplines as geology or hydrology would be ideal for this field.

Environmental Geologist Salary and Job Outlook

The median salary for hydrologists in 2012 was roughly $57,000 annually. The median salary for geoscientists in the same period was roughly $90,000 annually. As with other areas of environmental science jobs, the demand for environmental geologists is predicted to increase.

Conclusion

In a world struggling to understand and address the effect of environmental issues, environmental scientists are and will continue to be in demand. Because of the broad range of focus, there are many potential environmental science jobs available. With opportunities to work in the field, in a lab, or in an office, there are environmental science jobs available for people desiring many types of work environments.

checking lava samples

Environmental scientists are needed to gather and analyze data so that our current environmental condition is better known so that we can see how the environmental condition has changed over time, and so that we might predict how the environment will change in the future. Environmental scientists are also needed to develop, implement, and analyze programs for environmental conservation and remediation. In addition, environmental scientists serve as valuable consultants regarding both government policy and human health and safety.

When preparing for a career in the environmental sciences, consider a specialized degree, like environmental engineering, or a dual major, for example, a dual major in environmental studies and biology. You can also choose to get a degree in environmental studies while also earning degrees or certifications in another discipline, for example, both earning an environmental science degree and becoming a lawyer.  

Whatever your choice as far as an educational path, take advantage of any opportunities you have to learn additional skills and get hands-on experience. Consider taking courses to increase your computer skills, your technical writing skills, or your communication skills. If you are able to take advantage of internships or programs that allow you to gain college credit for hours worked that experience will give you a valuable edge in the application process.