The market for environmental scientists is in high demand. Expected to largely expand over the next decade, choosing environmental science means choosing a progressive and innovative field that is shaping the future. There are many different careers that a person with a degree in environmental science may enter and each has its own salary that will be affected depending on what sector the person works in, their location and job's demand, their qualifications and more.
The most popular jobs in environmental science have tiers within them that offer workers an opportunity to rise in the ranks and earn a larger salary in addition to gaining new experience and increasing their knowledge.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment rate of environmental scientists "is expected to grow 15 percent from 2012 to 2022, faster than the average for all other occupations."
The majority of employment growth is predicted to be within private firms, i.e. environmental consultants and managers. This isn't surprising given the increasing threats to the environment, not just from climate change but from urbanization and overconsumption. Consultants who are knowledgeable and creative with their problem-solving will be in very high demand.
As of 2012, 90,000 positions in the United States were held by environmental scientists. That number is expected to climb to 103,200 by 2022. Will you be a part of the 13,200?
As of 2012, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported the median annual income of an environmental scientist to be $63,570. Federal government employees, excluding education and hospital workers, earned significantly higher with $93,460 each year. Among local government and management positions, the pay fluctuated between $60,280 to $64,940.
Engineering services was the second highest-earning industry, with an employee's median salary $67,770. State employees were the lowest on the scale with an average yearly income of $56,640.
Your income will vary greatly depending on your location as well as your particular career within the field of environmental science. Some of the job options available are:
Natural Science Manager - $115,730
Environmental Geologist and Geoscientist - $90,890
Biochemist - $81,480
Environmental Engineer - $80,890
Conservation Scientist or Forester - $59,060
Agricultural and Food Scientist - $58,610
Zoologist and Wildlife Biologist - $57,710
Your level of education and work experience will also have an affect on how much you earn. Many students of environmental science choose to pursue a master's degree after graduating in order to further develop their specialization, as well as increase their earning potential and possibility for professional advancement.
Geographical location can have a large impact on how much someone earns. Two people with identical educational backgrounds and careers may earn two very different salaries, all depending on where they live and how in-demand their job is there. If you want to go where environmental scientists are paid the highest, start looking for positions in the nation's capital, Columbia, MO, Ann Arbor, MI and San Francisco and San Jose in California.
Many rural locations can also be high-earning spots for environmental scientists due to their abundance of natural resources and wildlife. Some regions to consider if you're interested in working in a more open, expansive location are Northeastern Virginia, East Central Pennsylvania, Southwest Minnesota and Central Nevada.
How to Increase Your Earning Potential
There are several ways to increase your earning potential and advance your future as an environmental scientist. The first can still happen while you're earning you bachelor's degree. Taking up an internship will allow you to not just potentially gain credits for school and provide valuable firsthand knowledge, it will also give you something noteworthy to add to your resume which can in turn increase your chances of being hired for a higher paying position post-graduation. It can also help you network and establish connections with real professionals in the industry which can lead to doors opening where you never even imagined.
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