Careers in Environmental Fields


Are you looking for a profession that supports the natural world, the climate and the environment?

One of the best resources for career and job information is the Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH), published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the United States Department of Labor (

The OOH can help you identify possible careers with information about job duties, education and training requirements, pay range, and job outlook for hundreds of occupations.

Dozens of job categories are included under headings that start with the word “environmental,” including:

  • Accountants and auditors 
  • Conservation scientists and foresters 
  • Economists
  • Engineers and technicians 
  • Scientists and specialists
  • Epidemiologists
  • Fire inspectors 
  • Geographers
  • Geoscientists
  • Hazardous materials removal workers
  • Lawyers
  • Mathematicians and statisticians
  • Microbiologists
  • Occupational health and safety specialists
  • Public relations specialists
  • Teachers and professors

Here is a sampling of environmental jobs (listed in order of increasing educational requirements) that are projected to be in demand during the coming decade.

Job TitleDutiesEducation & TrainingAnnual Salary
Solar photo-voltaic (PV) installers- Assemble
- Install
- Maintain
High school diploma, one-year apprenticeship or technical school/community college training$39,240
Energy auditor- Preserve/reduce energy use
- Inspect buildings
- Find and fix energy leaks
High school diploma, certification from the Building Performance Institute (BPI)$41,573
Wind turbine technician- Install
- Maintain
- Repair
Technical school program and on-the-job training$52,260
Conservation scientist and forester- Manage land quality of forests, parks,
   rangelands, and other natural resources
- Protect wilderness areas
- Enhance animal habitats
- Facilitate public recreation
- Put out wildfires
Bachelor’s degree in forestry$60,610
Environmental scientist- Protect the environment
- Protect human health
- Clean up polluted areas
- Advise policymakers
Bachelor’s degree in natural science or a science-related field$68,910
Environmental engineer- Recycling
- Waste disposal
- Public health
- Water pollution
- Air pollution
Bachelor’s degree in engineering (environmental, civil, chemical)$84,890
Landscape architect- Plan parks and outdoor spaces
- Create designs
- Prepare models
Bachelor’s degree, internship experience, other exams and licenses (varies by state)$63,480
Hydrologist- Study water movement
- Field work in lakes and streams
- Perform data analysis and modeling
Bachelor’s or master’s degree$80,480
Wildlife biologist- Study animal behavior
- Study animal interactions with their natural habitats
Bachelor’s or an advanced degree$60,520
Urban and regional planner- Develop land-use plans and programs
- Create communities
- Accommodate population growth
- Revitalize buildings
Master’s degree from an accredited planning program$70,020
Environmental lawyer- Advocate for clean technology
- Support laws for water and climate change
- Land management
Law degree, state bar exam$113,530

Discussion Questions

  • What is an apprenticeship?
  • What is a license?
  • What is the difference between an associate degree and a bachelor’s degree?


  • Audit
  • Hydrology
  • Photovoltaic
  • Urban