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.
This title represents an occupation for which data collection is currently underway.
- Analyze changes designed to improve the environmental performance of complex systems to avoid unintended negative consequences.
- Apply new or existing research about natural ecosystems to understand economic and industrial systems in the context of the environment.
- Carry out environmental assessments in accordance with applicable standards, regulations, or laws.
- Conduct analyses to determine the maximum amount of work that can be accomplished for a given amount of energy in a system, such as industrial production systems and waste treatment systems.
- Develop alternative energy investment scenarios to compare economic and environmental costs and benefits.
- Evaluate the effectiveness of industrial ecology programs using statistical analysis and applications.
- Examine local, regional or global use and flow of materials or energy in industrial production processes.
- Examine societal issues and their relationship with both technical systems and the environment.
- Identify or compare the component parts or relationships between the parts of industrial, social, and natural systems.
- Identify or develop strategies or methods to minimize the environmental impact of industrial production processes.
- Identify sustainable alternatives to industrial or waste management practices.
- Plan or conduct field research on topics such as industrial production, industrial ecology, population ecology, and environmental production or sustainability.
- Plan or conduct studies of the ecological implications of historic or projected changes in industrial processes or development.
- Prepare plans to manage renewable resources.
- Prepare technical and research reports such as environmental impact reports, and communicate the results to individuals in industry, government, or the general public.
- Promote use of environmental management systems (EMS) to reduce waste or to improve environmentally sound use of natural resources.
- Provide industrial managers with technical materials on environmental issues, regulatory guidelines, or compliance actions.
- Research environmental effects of land and water used to determine methods of improving environmental conditions or increasing outputs such as crop yields.
- Build and maintain databases of information about energy alternatives, pollutants, natural environments, industrial processes, and other information related to ecological change.
- Conduct applied research on the effects of industrial processes on the protection, restoration, inventory, monitoring, or reintroduction of species to the natural environment.
- Conduct environmental sustainability assessments, using material flow analysis (MFA) or substance flow analysis (SFA) techniques.
- Conduct scientific protection, mitigation, or restoration projects to prevent resource damage, maintain the integrity of critical habitats, and minimize the impact of human activities.
- Create complex and dynamic mathematical models of population, community, or ecological systems.
- Develop or test protocols to monitor ecosystem components and ecological processes.
- Forecast future status or condition of ecosystems, based on changing industrial practices or environmental conditions.
- Identify environmental impacts caused by products, systems, or projects.
- Investigate accidents affecting the environment to assess ecological impact.
- Investigate the adaptability of various animal and plant species to changed environmental conditions.
- Investigate the impact of changed land management or land use practices on ecosystems.
- Monitor the environmental impact of development activities, pollution, or land degradation.
- Perform analyses to determine how human behavior can affect and be affected by changes in the environment.
- Perform environmentally extended input-output (EE I-O) analyses.
- Recommend methods to protect the environment or minimize environmental damage from industrial production practices.
- Redesign linear, or open loop, systems into cyclical, or closed loop, systems so that waste products become inputs for new processes, modeling natural ecosystems.
- Research sources of pollution to determine environmental impact or to develop methods of pollution abatement or control.
- Review industrial practices, such as the methods and materials used in construction or production, to identify potential liabilities and environmental hazards.
- Review research literature to maintain knowledge on topics related to industrial ecology, such as physical science, technology, economy, and public policy.
- Translate the theories of industrial ecology into eco-industrial practices.
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
* Software developed by a government agency and/or distributed as freeware or shareware.
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.
- 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 technical or scientific databases.
- Appraise environmental impact of regulations or policies.
- Prepare information or documentation related to legal or regulatory matters.
- Research environmental impact of industrial or development activities.
- Plan natural resources conservation or restoration programs.
- Communicate results of environmental research.
- Apply knowledge or research findings to address environmental problems.
- Prepare research or technical reports on environmental issues.
- Develop environmental sustainability plans or projects.
- Promote environmental sustainability or conservation initiatives.
- Develop mathematical models of environmental conditions.
- Develop sustainable industrial or development methods.
- Identify sustainable business practices.
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.
- 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 (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.