Summary Report for:
19-2041.00 - Environmental Scientists and Specialists, Including Health
Conduct research or perform 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.
Sample of reported job titles: Environmental Analyst, Environmental Health and Safety Specialist, Environmental Programs Specialist, Environmental Protection Specialist, Environmental Scientist, Environmental Specialist, Hazardous Substances Scientist, Registered Environmental Health Specialist (REHS), Research Environmental Scientist, Senior Environmental Scientist
Tasks | Tools & Technology | Knowledge | Skills | Abilities | Work Activities | Detailed Work Activities | Work Context | Job Zone | Education | Credentials | Interests | Work Styles | Work Values | Related Occupations | Wages & Employment | Job Openings | Additional Information
- Provide scientific or technical guidance, support, coordination, or oversight to governmental agencies, environmental programs, industry, or the public.
- Review and implement environmental technical standards, guidelines, policies, and formal regulations that meet all appropriate requirements.
- Collect, synthesize, analyze, manage, and report environmental data, such as pollution emission measurements, atmospheric monitoring measurements, meteorological or mineralogical information, or soil or water samples.
- Communicate scientific or technical information to the public, organizations, or internal audiences through oral briefings, written documents, workshops, conferences, training sessions, or public hearings.
- Provide advice on proper standards and regulations or the development of policies, strategies, or codes of practice for environmental management.
- Prepare charts or graphs from data samples, providing summary information on the environmental relevance of the data.
- Conduct environmental audits or inspections or investigations of violations.
- Monitor effects of pollution or land degradation and recommend means of prevention or control.
- Design or direct studies to obtain technical environmental information about planned projects.
- Analyze data to determine validity, quality, and scientific significance and to interpret correlations between human activities and environmental effects.
- Develop the technical portions of legal documents, administrative orders, or consent decrees.
- Evaluate violations or problems discovered during inspections to determine appropriate regulatory actions or to provide advice on the development and prosecution of regulatory cases.
- Develop methods to minimize the impact of production processes on the environment, based on the study and assessment of industrial production, environmental legislation, and physical, biological, and social environments.
- Determine data collection methods to be employed in research projects or surveys.
- Process and review environmental permits, licenses, or related materials.
- Supervise or train students, environmental technologists, technicians, or other related staff.
- Plan or develop research models, using knowledge of mathematical and statistical concepts.
- Investigate and report on accidents affecting the environment.
- Conduct applied research on environmental topics, such as waste control or treatment or pollution abatement methods.
- Monitor environmental impacts of development activities.
- Research sources of pollution to determine their effects on the environment and to develop theories or methods of pollution abatement or control.
Tools & Technology
Tools used in this occupation:
- Air samplers or collectors — Air quality dataloggers; Atmospheric deposition collectors; Lead air sampling kits; Mercury monitors (see all 6 examples)
- All terrain vehicles tracked or wheeled — All terrain vehicles ATV
- Coliwasas — Liquid samplers
- Combustible or hazardous gas detectors for power generators — Combustible gas monitors
- Desktop computers
- Digital cameras
- Electromagnetic field meters — Electromagnetic field EMF meters
- Flow sensors — Closed pipe Doppler water flow meters
- Flowmeters — Fiberglass metering manholes
- Gas chromatographs — Gas chromatographs GC
- Global positioning system GPS receiver — Global positioning system GPS receivers
- Heat stress monitors
- Ion analyzers — HNu photoionization detectors PID; Photoionization detectors PID
- Ionization chambers
- Laboratory bailers — Bailers
- Leak testing equipment — Smoke generators
- Liquid scintillation counters — Scintillation counters
- Logging instruments for water wells — Depth meters; Submersible water data loggers
- Mainframe computers
- Mass spectrometers
- Moisture meters
- Multi gas monitors — Chlorine dioxide meters; Gas spillage detectors
- Notebook computers
- Oil content monitors analyzers — Oil water interface meters
- Open stream current meters — Water velocity flow meters
- Ozone analyzers — Ozone meters
- Personal computers — Pocket personal computers PC
- pH meters
- Photometers — Water quality testing photometers
- Portable data input terminals — Dataloggers
- Precipitation or evaporation recorders — Evaporation gauge sensors
- Radiation detectors — Analog survey meters; Digital survey meters; Field radiological measuring devices; Scintillation probes (see all 5 examples)
- Radon detectors — Radon monitors
- Recreational motorboats — Airboats
- Sample preparation bombs — Bomb samplers
- Single gas monitors — Ammonia meters; Carbon monoxide meters; Chlorine meters
- Soil core sampling apparatus — Bottom dredge samplers; Core samplers; Hand held augers; Soil probes
- Soil testing kits — Soil analysis kits; Soil gas sampling systems
- Sound measuring apparatus or decibel meter — Noise dosimeters; Sound level meters
- Spectrometers — Aerosol spectrometers; Multichannel analyzers
- Temperature transmitters — Air/soil temperature sensors; Fuel temperature sensors
- Toxicology test kits or supplies — Toxic mold test kits
- Viscosimeters — Viscosity meters
- Water analyzers — Coliform testing systems; Comparator water test kits; Drop count industrial water test kits; Multiparameter water quality instruments
- Water samplers — Automatic samplers; Groundwater monitoring systems; Lead water sampling kits; Rain water samplers (see all 5 examples)
Technology used in this occupation:
- Analytical or scientific software — ADMS pollution modeling software *; Lakes Environmental EcoRisk View; TANKS *; Wolfel IMMI (see all 20 examples)
- Compliance software — Ecotech WinAQMS; Emissions tracking software; Material safety data sheet MSDS software; MIRS Compliance
- Computer aided design CAD software — Autodesk AutoCAD software; Bentley MicroStation
- Data base user interface and query software — EarthSoft EQuIS Geology; Smart Data Solutions RS Solutions; Tucows ChemBase; Waters eLab Notebook (see all 13 examples)
- Development environment software — Microsoft Visual Basic
- Electronic mail software — Microsoft Outlook
- Graphics or photo imaging software — Adobe Systems Adobe Illustrator; Corel CorelDraw Graphics Suite; Graphics software
- Internet browser software — Web browser software
- Map creation software — ESRI ArcView; Geographic information system GIS software; Golden Software Surfer; RockWare ArcMap (see all 7 examples)
- Object or component oriented development software — C++; Sun Microsystems Java
- Office suite software — Microsoft Office software
- Presentation software — Microsoft PowerPoint
- Project management software — Microsoft Project
- Spreadsheet software — Microsoft Excel
- Word processing software — Microsoft Word
* Software developed by a government agency and/or distributed as freeware or shareware.
- English Language — Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
- Mathematics — Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
- Law and Government — Knowledge of laws, legal codes, court procedures, precedents, government regulations, executive orders, agency rules, and the democratic political process.
- Clerical — Knowledge of administrative and clerical procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office procedures and terminology.
- Biology — Knowledge of plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, interdependencies, and interactions with each other and the environment.
- Customer and Personal Service — Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
- Chemistry — Knowledge of the chemical composition, structure, and properties of substances and of the chemical processes and transformations that they undergo. This includes uses of chemicals and their interactions, danger signs, production techniques, and disposal methods.
- Computers and Electronics — Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
- Administration and Management — Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
- Geography — Knowledge of principles and methods for describing the features of land, sea, and air masses, including their physical characteristics, locations, interrelationships, and distribution of plant, animal, and human life.
- Physics — Knowledge and prediction of physical principles, laws, their interrelationships, and applications to understanding fluid, material, and atmospheric dynamics, and mechanical, electrical, atomic and sub- atomic structures and processes.
- Engineering and Technology — Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.
- Active Listening — Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
- Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
- Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
- Science — Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.
- Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively.
- Writing — Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
- Active Learning — Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
- Complex Problem Solving — Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
- Coordination — Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
- Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
- Judgment and Decision Making — Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
- Mathematics — Using mathematics to solve problems.
- Instructing — Teaching others how to do something.
- Social Perceptiveness — Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
- Time Management — Managing one's own time and the time of others.
- Learning Strategies — Selecting and using training/instructional methods and procedures appropriate for the situation when learning or teaching new things.
- Persuasion — Persuading others to change their minds or behavior.
- Service Orientation — Actively looking for ways to help people.
- Systems Analysis — Determining how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect outcomes.
- Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
- Written Comprehension — The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
- Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
- Inductive Reasoning — The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
- Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
- Problem Sensitivity — The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
- Written Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
- Information Ordering — The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
- Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
- Speech Clarity — The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
- Category Flexibility — The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
- Speech Recognition — The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
- Number Facility — The ability to add, subtract, multiply, or divide quickly and correctly.
- Mathematical Reasoning — The ability to choose the right mathematical methods or formulas to solve a problem.
- Flexibility of Closure — The ability to identify or detect a known pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) that is hidden in other distracting material.
- Fluency of Ideas — The ability to come up with a number of ideas about a topic (the number of ideas is important, not their quality, correctness, or creativity).
- Originality — The ability to come up with unusual or clever ideas about a given topic or situation, or to develop creative ways to solve a problem.
- Far Vision — The ability to see details at a distance.
- Selective Attention — The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
- Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
- Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
- Interacting With Computers — Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
- Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
- Documenting/Recording Information — Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
- Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards — Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
- Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
- Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work — Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
- Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships — Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
- Communicating with Persons Outside Organization — Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.
- Analyzing Data or Information — Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
- Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings — Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
- Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
- Scheduling Work and Activities — Scheduling events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.
- Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others — Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.
- Estimating the Quantifiable Characteristics of Products, Events, or Information — Estimating sizes, distances, and quantities; or determining time, costs, resources, or materials needed to perform a work activity.
- Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
- Provide Consultation and Advice to Others — Providing guidance and expert advice to management or other groups on technical, systems-, or process-related topics.
- Judging the Qualities of Things, Services, or People — Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.
- Developing Objectives and Strategies — Establishing long-range objectives and specifying the strategies and actions to achieve them.
- Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material — Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
- Performing for or Working Directly with the Public — Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.
- Resolving Conflicts and Negotiating with Others — Handling complaints, settling disputes, and resolving grievances and conflicts, or otherwise negotiating with others.
- Thinking Creatively — Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
Detailed Work Activities
- Provide technical information or assistance to public.
- Assess compliance with environmental laws.
- Develop theories or models of physical phenomena.
- Develop plans to manage natural or renewable resources.
- Supervise scientific or technical personnel.
- Advise others on matters of public policy.
- Monitor environmental impacts of production or development activities.
- Plan environmental research.
- Research impacts of environmental conservation initiatives.
- Advise others about environmental management or conservation.
- Supervise trainees.
- Prepare information or documentation related to legal or regulatory matters.
- Research environmental impact of industrial or development activities.
- Prepare research or technical reports on environmental issues.
- Develop environmental sustainability plans or projects.
- Direct technical activities or operations.
- Compile environmental or climatological data.
- Review environmental permits, plans, or reports.
- Develop sustainable industrial or development methods.
- Electronic Mail — 100% responded “Every day.”
- Telephone — 89% responded “Every day.”
- Face-to-Face Discussions — 81% responded “Every day.”
- Structured versus Unstructured Work — 63% responded “A lot of freedom.”
- Freedom to Make Decisions — 62% responded “A lot of freedom.”
- Work With Work Group or Team — 62% responded “Extremely important.”
- Contact With Others — 54% responded “Constant contact with others.”
- Indoors, Environmentally Controlled — 70% responded “Every day.”
- Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 64% responded “Very important.”
- Spend Time Sitting — 45% responded “More than half the time.”
- Coordinate or Lead Others — 38% responded “Extremely important.”
- Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 66% responded “Important results.”
- Letters and Memos — 39% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
- Frequency of Decision Making — 49% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Deal With External Customers — 35% responded “Extremely important.”
- Time Pressure — 54% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Duration of Typical Work Week — 64% responded “40 hours.”
- Importance of Repeating Same Tasks — 29% responded “Very important.”
- Level of Competition — 40% responded “Highly competitive.”
|Title||Job Zone Four: Considerable Preparation Needed|
|Education||Most of these occupations require a four-year bachelor's degree, but some do not.|
|Related Experience||A considerable amount of work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is needed for these occupations. For example, an accountant must complete four years of college and work for several years in accounting to be considered qualified.|
|Job Training||Employees in these occupations usually need several years of work-related experience, on-the-job training, and/or vocational training.|
|Job Zone Examples||Many of these occupations involve coordinating, supervising, managing, or training others. Examples include accountants, sales managers, database administrators, teachers, chemists, art directors, and cost estimators.|
|SVP Range||(7.0 to < 8.0)|
Percentage of Respondents
|Education Level Required|
This occupation may require a background in the following science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) educational disciplines:
Interest code: IRC
- Investigative — Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.
- Realistic — Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
- Conventional — Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.
- Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
- Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
- Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
- Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
- Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
- Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
- Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
- Independence — Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
- Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
- Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.
- Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
- Leadership — Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
- Self Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
- Concern for Others — Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
- Innovation — Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.
- Social Orientation — Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job.
- Achievement — Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment. Corresponding needs are Ability Utilization and Achievement.
- Independence — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.
- Recognition — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer advancement, potential for leadership, and are often considered prestigious. Corresponding needs are Advancement, Authority, Recognition and Social Status.
Wages & Employment Trends
|Median wages (2014)||$31.85 hourly, $66,250 annual|
|Employment (2012)||90,000 employees|
|Projected growth (2012-2022)||Faster than average (15% to 21%)|
|Projected job openings (2012-2022)||39,700|
|Top industries (2012)|
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2014 wage data and 2012-2022 employment projections . "Projected growth" represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2012-2022). "Projected job openings" represent openings due to growth and replacement.
Job Openings on the Web
Sources of Additional Information
Disclaimer: Sources are listed to provide additional information on related jobs, specialties, and/or industries. Links to non-DOL Internet sites are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement.
- Environmental Scientists and Specialists . Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor. Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition.
- American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG) , P.O. Box 979, Tulsa, OK 74101. Phone: (800) 364-2274.
- American Geological Institute (AGI) , 4220 King St., Alexandria, VA 22302-1502. Phone: (703) 379-2480. Fax: (703) 379-7563.
- Marine Technology Society (MTS) , 5565 Sterrett Pl., Suite 108, Columbia, MD 21004. Phone: (410) 884-5330.