If you’re interested in a career that helps preserve the environment and protect our planet, there are plenty of opportunities to get your foot in the door.
One of the best things about jobs in the environmental sector, especially those in environmental science, is that they are often well-paying careers. In fact, several environmental jobs pay more than $100k a year.
This post will go over some of those jobs and what they entail. From lawyers to engineers and everyone in between, your options are endless. Here is a look at 16 of the best-paying environmental jobs.
1. Environmental Scientists and Specialists
Annual salary: $103,530
Industries with highest salaries: Federal government
Environmental scientists and specialists apply their knowledge of the natural sciences to protect the environment and human health. They research the causes, effects, and control of air, water, and land pollution. Environmental scientists also study how people affect their environment.
Most environmental scientists and specialists work for governments or regulatory agencies. Others work for nongovernmental organizations, such as environmental groups or conservation organizations. Some work for private companies that deal with environmental issues, such as waste management companies or chemical manufacturers.
Most entry-level jobs for environmental scientists and specialists require at least a bachelor’s degree in a natural science or a science-related discipline.
Annual salary: $119,210
Industries with highest salaries: Mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction
Geoscientists study the physical aspects of the Earth and its processes. For example, geoscientists may look at earthquakes, volcanoes, and plate tectonics. In addition, they may search for new mineral deposits or ways to improve energy production and conservation.
Geoscientists work in various fields, from oil exploration to environmental protection. Geoscientists typically work in academia, government agencies, independent consulting firms, and private companies such as oil companies and mining firms.
Most geoscientists have a bachelor’s degree in geology or another related field for entry-level jobs. However, they also need the proper training and experience to work in a variety of different job settings, from the oil and gas industry to the government.
3. Biochemists and Biophysicists
Annual salary: $102,270
Industries with highest salaries: Wholesale trade
The job of biochemists and biophysicists is to study the chemical and physical principles of living things and biological processes. They use their knowledge to help companies develop new medicines, food products, and renewable energy sources. They also work in research roles to study how the environment can be improved.
A biochemist or biophysicist can work for an environmental organization, such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). They may also work for companies that produce chemicals or other products that impact our environment, such as pesticides or pharmaceuticals, testing them for safety before they’re released into the environment.
Biochemists and biophysicists usually have a Ph.D., although they can start as technicians or research assistants after earning a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree.
Annual salary: $101,680
Industries with highest salaries: Research and development in the physical, engineering, and life sciences
Microbiologists are the scientists who study microorganisms, which are living organisms that are too small to be seen with the naked eye. This includes bacteria, viruses, and fungi. Microbiologists work in many industries, including medical research, biotechnology, food science, and environmental microbiology.
Microbiologists can work in a variety of settings. For example, some microbiologists work for private companies as industrial hygienists or environmental scientists. Others work for government agencies, hospitals, or universities.
Entry-level positions for microbiologists usually require a bachelor’s degree in microbiology or a related field. However, to work in research or colleges and universities, they typically need a Ph.D.
5. Sustainability Director
Annual salary: $130,304
A sustainability director is responsible for ensuring a company has a positive impact on the environment and society. The job requires in-depth knowledge of environmental issues and how they affect businesses and communities.
Sustainability directors are expected to stay up-to-date on new legislation and policies that affect businesses and how companies can use their influence to protect the environment. They may also work with government officials to help shape policies that benefit businesses and people.
To be a sustainability director, you must have specialist environmental knowledge with Environmental Studies and Sustainability as two of your degree options. In addition, some companies may require you to pursue one of the many new environmental MBA programs, such as the Sustainability and Compliance MBA or Environmental Economics.
6. Forestry and Conservation Science Teachers
Annual salary: $111,130
Forestry and conservation science teachers teach post-secondary students about the management and protection of forests. Some forestry instructors focus on teaching students about sustainable logging practices. Some may also teach about ecological restoration projects involving the reforestation of forested areas.
Forestry and conservation science teachers can earn an annual median wage of $111,130 in Oregon. They may be employed in colleges or universities, where they can conduct research while teaching university coursework.
Most forestry and conservation science teachers come from a scientific background rather than one involving teaching. There is much overlap, but expert knowledge is required in niche areas for forestry and conservation science.
7. Environmental Engineer
Annual salary: $110,240
Industries with highest salaries: Federal government
Environmental engineers study the impact of human activities on the environment and design systems to protect the environment. They also address environmental issues such as pollution, waste management, and public health concerns.
Environmental engineers work in government agencies or private companies to protect human health and safety from threats such as air pollution or chemical spills. They also work in private firms that deal with hazardous materials management or waste disposal.
A bachelor’s degree in environmental engineering or a similar discipline, such as civil, chemical, or general engineering, is often required. However, some employers prefer candidates with hands-on experience, so internships or cooperative engineering programs may be beneficial.
8. Environmental Lobbyist
Annual salary: $125,350
Environmental lobbyists work on behalf of private companies and organizations that want to influence government policy related to environmental issues. Environmental lobbyists may also lobby on behalf of non-profit organizations or other businesses to promote environmental protection laws and regulations.
Lobbyists frequently work for public relations, non-profit organizations, lobbying firms, or specific electoral campaigns. Lobbyists might work for a particular group or as part of a firm to achieve a set of goals.
Environmental lobbyists must have a bachelor’s degree in a field related to communications or political science. To advance in a career as an environmental lobbyist, you must have a master’s degree or PhD in political science, public administration, or a similar discipline.
9. Environmental Health and Safety Manager
Annual salary: $104,280
Environmental health and safety managers are responsible for ensuring that their companies comply with federal regulations regarding the environment, as well as state and local laws.
They ensure that employees are adequately trained in safety procedures and protected from the environment. They also ensure that all equipment used in the workplace is safe to use in a variety of conditions.
Environmental health and safety managers can find employment at companies in many different industries, including manufacturing, construction, mining, and utilities. While there is no formal education required for this position, employers typically prefer applicants with a degree in business administration or environmental studies.
10. Environmental Economist
Annual salary: $108,350
Environmental economists study the economic implications of environmental issues, including renewable energy use and pollution control. For example, environmental economists may develop strategies to reduce pollution or increase recycling, or they might analyze the economic impacts of environmental regulations on business.
Environmental economists can find employment in numerous fields. They can work in government agencies, nongovernmental organizations, and private businesses, conducting research and consulting on environmental policy.
Some government positions are open to those with bachelor’s degrees, but most jobs require advanced degrees. Most environmental economists have doctoral degrees and a strong background in math and statistics.
11. Environmental Lawyer
Annual salary: $126,930
An environmental lawyer represents clients in legal issues such as clean technology, water law, climate change law, and the management of native title and other public lands. Environmental lawyers also practice in the areas of climate change, sustainability, and renewable energies.
Environmental lawyers also often work with businesses to advise them on complying with environmental regulations.
To practice as an Environmental Lawyer, you must first get a law degree, also known as a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) or a Juris Doctor (JD). After that, it’s possible to specialize in environmental law by completing a postgraduate degree at an accredited institution.
12. Environmental Science Teachers
Annual salary: $120,440
Environmental science teachers are responsible for educating students of all ages about how human beings affect the environment. They instruct students on environmental issues such as conservation, pollution, and sustainability. Environmental science teachers can earn as much as $120,440 in California.
Environmental science teachers work in colleges and universities to teach students biology, chemistry, geology, and other sciences. They may also be conducting research while teaching students about environmental science.
These teachers typically have at least a bachelor’s and master’s degree in the field and usually require specialized coursework and certification from the state or national level.
Annual salary: $99,740
Climatologists are scientists who study the climate. They observe and record information about the Earth’s atmosphere, oceans, landmasses, and other factors that affect climate patterns.
Climatologists can work in a variety of settings, such as academic or research institutions, government agencies, public or private agencies, and non-profit organizations. Some also choose to work as consultants for engineering or environmental consulting firms.
To work as a climatologist, you need a bachelor’s degree in climatology or a similar field, such as meteorology or atmospheric science. To conduct research or teach at the college level, you need a Master’s or Ph.D.
14. Landscape Architects
Annual salary: $99,240
Industries with highest salaries: Government
Landscape architects are responsible for designing outdoor spaces, including parks and gardens. They are responsible for working with clients to create designs that fit their needs and goals, as well as the surrounding environment.
Landscape architects work in a wide variety of settings, including private residential and commercial properties, public parks and recreation areas, and large-scale projects such as highway design and development. They also oversee the installation of plants and other materials on sites.
Licensed landscape architects must have a bachelor’s degree in landscape architecture or a related field, as well as an internship experience. Most importantly, they must have passed the Landscape Architect Registration Examination.
15. Agricultural Engineers
Annual salary: $99,030
Industries with highest salaries: Engineering services
Agricultural engineers are highly skilled professionals who work in the food and agriculture industry. They design and develop methods to improve crop production, livestock, soil fertility, and environmental quality. They also work with farmers and ranchers to find ways to increase their productivity, reduce costs and protect the environment.
These engineers work in agriculture, food processing, manufacturing, and construction. They also may work for government agencies or private companies.
Agricultural engineers generally need a bachelor’s degree in agricultural engineering or a related field. Most positions require a license or certification issued by the state.
Annual salary: $99,340
Industries with highest salaries: Management, scientific, and technical consulting services
Hydrologists study and observe the movement of water through the Earth’s crust, including groundwater, surface water, rivers, and lakes. They use this knowledge to help people plan for things like water resources development projects, flood control, and pollution control.
Hydrologists typically work in government agencies. However, they also work in the private sector, including construction companies, utility companies, real estate developers, industrial manufacturers, and other businesses that require watershed management plans.
For entry-level work, hydrologists generally need a bachelor’s degree; however, some firms prefer to hire candidates with a master’s degree.
If you’re dedicated to the environmental field, it’s comforting to know that plenty of high-paying jobs are available to you. Now, finding something you enjoy doing within the broad scope of the environmental sector shouldn’t be difficult when there are so many options.
There are many viable options out there that can help you enjoy nature and make a good living, all at the same time. So don’t be afraid to get creative and pursue your passion.