Summary Report for:
19-2041.03 - Industrial Ecologists
Apply principles and processes of natural ecosystems to develop models for efficient industrial systems. Use knowledge from the physical and social sciences to maximize effective use of natural resources in the production and use of goods and services. Examine societal issues and their relationship with both technical systems and the environment.
Sample of reported job titles: Ecologist, Environmental Consultant, Environmental Programs Manager, Environmental Protection Agency Counselor, Environmental Services Director, Environmental Sustainability Manager, Research Environmental Engineer, Research Scientist, Researcher
Tasks | Tools & Technology | Knowledge | Skills | Abilities | Work Activities | Detailed Work Activities | Work Context | Job Zone | Education | Credentials | Interests | Work Styles | Work Values | Wages & Employment | Job Openings | Additional Information
- Identify environmental impacts caused by products, systems, or projects.
- Examine local, regional or global use and flow of materials or energy in industrial production processes.
- Identify or develop strategies or methods to minimize the environmental impact of industrial production processes.
- Prepare technical and research reports such as environmental impact reports, and communicate the results to individuals in industry, government, or the general public.
- Analyze changes designed to improve the environmental performance of complex systems to avoid unintended negative consequences.
- Review research literature to maintain knowledge on topics related to industrial ecology, such as physical science, technology, economy, and public policy.
- Recommend methods to protect the environment or minimize environmental damage from industrial production practices.
- Build and maintain databases of information about energy alternatives, pollutants, natural environments, industrial processes, and other information related to ecological change.
- Identify or compare the component parts or relationships between the parts of industrial, social, and natural systems.
- Redesign linear, or open loop, systems into cyclical, or closed loop, systems so that waste products become inputs for new processes, modeling natural ecosystems.
- Conduct environmental sustainability assessments, using material flow analysis (MFA) or substance flow analysis (SFA) techniques.
- Identify sustainable alternatives to industrial or waste management practices.
- Review industrial practices, such as the methods and materials used in construction or production, to identify potential liabilities and environmental hazards.
- Translate the theories of industrial ecology into eco-industrial practices.
- Prepare plans to manage renewable resources.
- Examine societal issues and their relationship with both technical systems and the environment.
- Plan or conduct studies of the ecological implications of historic or projected changes in industrial processes or development.
- Provide industrial managers with technical materials on environmental issues, regulatory guidelines, or compliance actions.
- Carry out environmental assessments in accordance with applicable standards, regulations, or laws.
- Plan or conduct field research on topics such as industrial production, industrial ecology, population ecology, and environmental production or sustainability.
- Research sources of pollution to determine environmental impact or to develop methods of pollution abatement or control.
- Forecast future status or condition of ecosystems, based on changing industrial practices or environmental conditions.
- Perform analyses to determine how human behavior can affect and be affected by changes in the environment.
- Promote use of environmental management systems (EMS) to reduce waste or to improve environmentally sound use of natural resources.
- Monitor the environmental impact of development activities, pollution, or land degradation.
- Develop alternative energy investment scenarios to compare economic and environmental costs and benefits.
- Investigate the impact of changed land management or land use practices on ecosystems.
- Research environmental effects of land and water used to determine methods of improving environmental conditions or increasing outputs such as crop yields.
- Perform environmentally extended input-output (EE I-O) analyses.
- Apply new or existing research about natural ecosystems to understand economic and industrial systems in the context of the environment.
- Investigate accidents affecting the environment to assess ecological impact.
- Create complex and dynamic mathematical models of population, community, or ecological systems.
Tools & Technology
Tools used in this occupation:
- Desktop computers
- Laser fax machine — Laser facsimile machines
- Notebook computers — Laptop computers
- Personal computers
- Scanners — Computer data input scanners
- Special purpose telephones — Multi-line telephone systems
Technology used in this occupation:
- Analytical or scientific software — Economic Input-Output Life Cycle Assessment EIO-LCA; PRe Consultants SimaPro; Production Flow Analysis and Simplification Toolkit PFAST; Substance Flow Analysis STAN (see all 9 examples)
- Data base user interface and query software — Online database software
- Electronic mail software — Email software
- Internet browser software — Web browser software
- Object or component oriented development software — Python
- English Language — Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
- 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.
- Mathematics — Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
- Education and Training — Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
- 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.
- Production and Processing — Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.
- 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.
- Biology — Knowledge of plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, interdependencies, and interactions with each other and the environment.
- Law and Government — Knowledge of laws, legal codes, court procedures, precedents, government regulations, executive orders, agency rules, and the democratic political process.
- Computers and Electronics — Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
- Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
- Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
- Writing — Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
- 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.
- Judgment and Decision Making — Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
- Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively.
- Complex Problem Solving — Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
- Active Learning — Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
- Science — Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.
- Systems Analysis — Determining how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect outcomes.
- Systems Evaluation — Identifying measures or indicators of system performance and the actions needed to improve or correct performance, relative to the goals of the system.
- Mathematics — Using mathematics to solve problems.
- 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.
- Social Perceptiveness — Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
- Instructing — Teaching others how to do something.
- Learning Strategies — Selecting and using training/instructional methods and procedures appropriate for the situation when learning or teaching new things.
- 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).
- Written Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
- Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
- 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 Comprehension — The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
- 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.
- 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).
- Mathematical Reasoning — The ability to choose the right mathematical methods or formulas to solve a problem.
- Speech Recognition — The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
- Category Flexibility — The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
- 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).
- Number Facility — The ability to add, subtract, multiply, or divide quickly and correctly.
- 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.
- Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
- Analyzing Data or Information — Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
- Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
- Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
- Interacting With Computers — Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
- Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
- 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.
- Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
- Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others — Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.
- Thinking Creatively — Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
- Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
- 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.
- Provide Consultation and Advice to Others — Providing guidance and expert advice to management or other groups on technical, systems-, or process-related topics.
- Developing Objectives and Strategies — Establishing long-range objectives and specifying the strategies and actions to achieve them.
- Documenting/Recording Information — Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
- Training and Teaching Others — Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.
- Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships — Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
- 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.
- Developing and Building Teams — Encouraging and building mutual trust, respect, and cooperation among team members.
- Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings — Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
- Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work — Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
- Judging the Qualities of Things, Services, or People — Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.
- Coordinating the Work and Activities of Others — Getting members of a group to work together to accomplish tasks.
- Coaching and Developing Others — Identifying the developmental needs of others and coaching, mentoring, or otherwise helping others to improve their knowledge or skills.
- Guiding, Directing, and Motivating Subordinates — Providing guidance and direction to subordinates, including setting performance standards and monitoring performance.
Detailed Work Activities
- Conduct research of processes in natural or industrial ecosystems.
- Conduct research on social issues.
- Develop plans to manage natural or renewable resources.
- Analyze environmental data.
- Review professional literature to maintain professional knowledge.
- Research environmental impact of industrial or development activities.
- Monitor environmental impacts of production or development activities.
- Plan environmental research.
- Research impacts of environmental conservation initiatives.
- Advise others about environmental management or conservation.
- Develop sustainable industrial or development methods.
- Identify sustainable business practices.
- Develop technical or scientific databases.
- Appraise environmental impact of regulations or policies.
- Communicate results of environmental research.
- Prepare information or documentation related to legal or regulatory matters.
- Prepare research or technical reports on environmental issues.
- Plan natural resources conservation or restoration programs.
- Apply knowledge or research findings to address environmental problems.
- Develop environmental sustainability plans or projects.
- Promote environmental sustainability or conservation initiatives.
- Develop mathematical models of environmental conditions.
- Electronic Mail — 96% responded “Every day.”
- Freedom to Make Decisions — 67% responded “A lot of freedom.”
- Duration of Typical Work Week — 71% responded “More than 40 hours.”
- Face-to-Face Discussions — 52% responded “Every day.”
- Telephone — 48% responded “Every day.”
- Structured versus Unstructured Work — 54% responded “A lot of freedom.”
- Work With Work Group or Team — 48% responded “Extremely important.”
- Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 42% responded “Extremely important.”
- Spend Time Sitting — 42% responded “More than half the time.”
- Letters and Memos — 35% responded “Every day.”
- Indoors, Environmentally Controlled — 43% responded “Every day.”
- Contact With Others — 38% responded “Contact with others most of the time.”
- Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 42% responded “Moderate results.”
- Time Pressure — 50% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
- Coordinate or Lead Others — 39% responded “Important.”
- Level of Competition — 35% responded “Highly competitive.”
- Responsibility for Outcomes and Results — 52% responded “Moderate responsibility.”
- Frequency of Decision Making — 35% responded “Once a year or more but not every month.”
|Title||Job Zone Five: Extensive Preparation Needed|
|Education||Most of these occupations require graduate school. For example, they may require a master's degree, and some require a Ph.D., M.D., or J.D. (law degree).|
|Related Experience||Extensive skill, knowledge, and experience are needed for these occupations. Many require more than five years of experience. For example, surgeons must complete four years of college and an additional five to seven years of specialized medical training to be able to do their job.|
|Job Training||Employees may need some on-the-job training, but most of these occupations assume that the person will already have the required skills, knowledge, work-related experience, and/or training.|
|Job Zone Examples||These occupations often involve coordinating, training, supervising, or managing the activities of others to accomplish goals. Very advanced communication and organizational skills are required. Examples include librarians, lawyers, sports medicine physicians, wildlife biologists, school psychologists, surgeons, treasurers, and controllers.|
|SVP Range||(8.0 and above)|
Percentage of Respondents
|Education Level Required|
Interest code: IE
- 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.
- Enterprising — Enterprising occupations frequently involve starting up and carrying out projects. These occupations can involve leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business.
- Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
- Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
- Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
- Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
- Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
- 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.
- Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
- Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
- Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
- Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
- Innovation — Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.
- Leadership — Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
- Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.
- 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.
- 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.
- Working Conditions — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions. Corresponding needs are Activity, Compensation, Independence, Security, Variety and Working Conditions.
Wages & Employment Trends
Median wages data collected from Environmental Scientists and Specialists, Including Health.
Employment data collected from Environmental Scientists and Specialists, Including Health.
Industry data collected from Environmental Scientists and Specialists, Including Health.
|Median wages (2014)||$31.85 hourly, $66,250 annual|
|Employment (2014)||95,000 employees|
|Projected growth (2014-2024)||Faster than average (9% to 13%)|
|Projected job openings (2014-2024)||39,300|
|Top industries (2014)|
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2014 wage data and 2014-2024 employment projections . "Projected growth" represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2014-2024). "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, 2016-17 Edition.