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Environmental Scientist

What is this job like?

Environmental scientists look at pollution and other environmental problems and come up with solutions. They figure out what is in the air, water, and soil to make sure that the environment is safe. They also give advice on how to clean the environment. For example, they might design a safe way to get rid of trash.

Some of these workers mix environmental science with other sciences, such as chemistry or biology. Environmental chemists find out if different chemicals hurt the environment. Environmental biologists focus on protecting animals and plants.

Some environmental scientists help to make laws about protecting the environment. They also help companies follow the laws.

Environmental scientists work in laboratories and offices. They also work outside, taking measurements. They use math and computers.

Environmental scientists sometimes work long hours. Some must travel to work in the field. They might dig dirt, chip rocks, or do other physical things. Scientists who look for oil often work in foreign countries.

In addition to doing science, many of these workers write reports and help find money for their projects.

How do you get ready?

All of these workers need a college degree, and most need a graduate degree. In college, they study geography, environmental science, chemistry, biology, earth science, and physics. They also study math and statistics so that they can understand measurements and data. People who want to make laws about protecting the environment also take law classes.

In addition to taking classes, scientists have to learn how to work with other people. They also need to practice speaking and writing so that they will be able to explain their research.

Workers also need computer skills. They also need to know about the latest tools and technology for studying the earth.

Students can start getting ready by taking science, math, and computer classes. They can also read books about rocks, the earth, and the environment.

How many jobs are there?

Environmental scientists held about 85,900 jobs in 2008. Many worked for governments. Others worked for science and engineering companies, oil and gas companies, and other places. Some had their own businesses.What about the future?

The number of jobs for environmental scientists is expected to grow much faster than the average for all occupations through 2018. As population grows, it takes more work to keep the environment clean. Also, more people are becoming aware of environmental problems and want to fix them. Businesses and governments will also hire scientists to make sure they are following stricter environmental laws.

How much does this job pay?

In May 2008, the average yearly wages of environmental scientists were $65,280.

Are there other jobs like this?

Atmospheric scientists


Engineering technicians


Science technicians

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