Environmental Biologist

An environmental biologist will study regional environments and assess the impact of human activity on these locations in order to provide reports that will serve vital to the conversation methods taken in order to ensure the longevity of the wildlife within an ecosystem.

How to Become an Environmental Biologist

The entry-level requirement for an environmental biologist is a Bachelor in Environmental Biology or another biological, environmental or natural science with extensive study in biological sciences. For academic work, a PhD tends to be preferred while more advanced positions in the field require a master's or doctorate.

Earning a Bachelor of Environmental Biology can be done at an accredited university and some online programs as well. The undergraduate program at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., is run by the school's Department of Biology and provides students with a solid foundation in general, whole organism and evolutionary biology as well as the natural sciences and specialized electives that will enable them to succeed in the future.

Environmental science is an incredibly broad field, so students who choose to major in at university are generally required to select an area of concentration that will shape their degree and help them develop the skills they will need for their future career.

What is the salary for an Environmental Biologist?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics doesn't offer a report on the earnings of environmental biologists specifically, but does report that environmental scientists and specialists were earning 63,570 annually as of May 2012. The federal government employees earned the highest amount with $95,460 per year, followed by people employed in environmental engineering services who earned $67,770.

How is the job market for an Environmental Biologist?

Those who are interested in becoming an environmental biologist needn't worry about the availability within the market. Although finding a career post-graduation can be challenging, the environmental science market is predicted to grow 15 percent between 2012 and 2022; a a rate faster than any other occupation. Issues such as climate change and natural resource management have sparked public interest and created a higher demand for specialists who can contribute to conservative efforts.

What does an environmental biologist do?

Environmental biology is very similar to ecology in that it deals with the ecosystem and the wildlife that inhabits it. However environmental biology focuses more heavily on the biological aspects of any given ecosystem, therefore the duties that are placed on an environmental biologist are more directly related to biology.

Some of the tasks that an environmental biologist may perform are:

  • Plan and conduct biological experiments followed by field and lab operating procedures
  • Manage biological and project timelines using scientific methods, statistical tools and extensive biological knowledge
  • Present findings of experiments to stakeholders and colleagues
  • Identify project challenges and effectively overcome them without sacrificing time or resources.
  • Work with a team and peer review data for the confirmation of accuracy and assurance of scientific integrity

The management level of an environmental biologist career presents its own unique tasks and requires an additional set of skills in order to properly fulfill each duty. Management positions in environmental science depend heavily upon communication with stakeholders, businesses, organizations and the public. These jobs require strong written and verbal skills, as well as the ability to empathize and collaborate well with others. Being able to communicate effectively with cross-disciplinary partners is a vital aspect of providing the best solutions to the problems faced by our environment today.

Degrees in Environmental Biology

There are many routes you can take to earn your undergraduate degree in Environmental Biology or a similar field. A program will incorporate biology, natural sciences, mathematics, statistics and computer science in order to equip you with the knowledge and skills you'll need to conduct research, gather information, analyze results and ecological data and compile your findings into scientific reports, graphs and charts.

Some of the top universities in the United States that offer a Bachelor of Environmental Science include Georgetown University and The University of South Florida. There are also online programs that will enable you to earn your degree from a distance, like the four-year Bachelor of Environmental Science degree offered by the American Military University.

Columbia University's School of Continuing Education also offers a unique online certification program intended to be completed within a year that provides a student with the skills and classes they may need in order to meet the requirements of a job or further schooling in environmental biology. Courses in biology, chemistry, conversation biology and more will help provide the information needed to pursue a higher degree or secure a job position in the field.