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Environmental Scientist/Specialist  What They Do

Just the Facts

Conducts research or performs investigation for the purpose of identifying, abating, or eliminating sources of pollutants or hazards that affect either the environment or the health of the population. Using knowledge of various scientific disciplines, may collect, synthesize, study, report, and recommend action based on data derived from measurements or observations of air, food, soil, water, and other sources.

This career is part of the Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources cluster Environmental Systems pathway.

A person in this career:

  • Reviews and implements environmental technical standards, guidelines, policies, and formal regulations that meet all appropriate requirements.
  • Provides scientific or technical guidance, support, coordination, or oversight to governmental agencies, environmental programs, industry, or the public.
  • Collects, synthesizes, analyzes, manages, and reports environmental data, such as pollution emission measurements, atmospheric monitoring measurements, meteorological or mineralogical information, or soil or water samples.
  • Communicates scientific or technical information to the public, organizations, or internal audiences through oral briefings, written documents, workshops, conferences, training sessions, or public hearings.
  • Provides advice on proper standards and regulations or the development of policies, strategies, or codes of practice for environmental management.
  • Prepares charts or graphs from data samples, providing summary information on the environmental relevance of the data.
  • Conducts environmental audits or inspections or investigations of violations.
  • Monitors effects of pollution or land degradation and recommends means of prevention or control.
  • Designs or directs studies to obtain technical environmental information about planned projects.
  • Analyzes data to determine validity, quality, and scientific significance and to interpret correlations between human activities and environmental effects.

Insider Info

Dig into the details and check out what people in this job have to say about their work.

Working Conditions and Physical Demands

People who do this job report that:

  • You would often handle loads up to 10 lbs., sometimes up to 20 lbs. You might do a lot of walking or standing, or you might sit but use your arms and legs to control machines, equipment or tools.
  • Work in this occupation requires being inside most of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves sitting more than one-third of the time

Working in this career involves (physical activities):

  • Seeing clearly at a distance
  • Seeing clearly up close
  • Speaking clearly enough to be able to be understood by others
  • Identifying and understanding the speech of another person

Work Hours and Travel

  • Regular working hours and limited travel

Specialty and Similar Careers

Careers that are more detailed or close to this career:

  • Ecological Risk Assessor -- Uses quantitative methods to identify the effects of potentially harmful contaminants on terrestrial, wetland, and aquatic biota.
  • Geologist -- Studies the solid and liquid matter that constitutes the Earth as well as the processes and history that has shaped it.
  • Hydrogeologist -- Studies the flow, distribution and the quality of underground water.
  • Limnologist -- Studies internal waters, such as freshwater lakes, rivers, ponds, streams and wetlands and saltwater systems like the Great Salt Lake in Utah.
  • Marine Scientist -- Undertakes research into the sea and studies its relationship with seafloors, the earth’s crust, animal life, plants, the land, coastal areas and the atmosphere.
  • Ecological Modeler --
  • Hazardous Substances Scientist --
  • Radiation Safety Specialist --