Environmental Economists

Conduct economic analysis related to environmental protection and use of the natural environment, such as water, air, land, and renewable energy resources. Evaluate and quantify benefits, costs, incentives, and impacts of alternative options using economic principles and statistical techniques.

Sample of reported job titles: Economist, Environmental Economist, Natural Resource Economist, Research Economist, Resource Economist

Occupation-Specific Information

Tasks

  • Write technical documents or academic articles to communicate study results or economic forecasts.
  • Conduct research on economic and environmental topics, such as alternative fuel use, public and private land use, soil conservation, air and water pollution control, and endangered species protection.
  • Collect and analyze data to compare the environmental implications of economic policy or practice alternatives.
  • Assess the costs and benefits of various activities, policies, or regulations that affect the environment or natural resource stocks.
  • Prepare and deliver presentations to communicate economic and environmental study results, to present policy recommendations, or to raise awareness of environmental consequences.
  • Develop programs or policy recommendations to achieve environmental goals in cost-effective ways.
  • Develop economic models, forecasts, or scenarios to predict future economic and environmental outcomes.
  • Demonstrate or promote the economic benefits of sound environmental regulations.
  • Conduct research to study the relationships among environmental problems and patterns of economic production and consumption.
  • Perform complex, dynamic, and integrated mathematical modeling of ecological, environmental, or economic systems.
  • Write social, legal, or economic impact statements to inform decision makers for natural resource policies, standards, or programs.
  • Teach courses in environmental economics.
  • Develop programs or policy recommendations to promote sustainability and sustainable development.
  • Develop systems for collecting, analyzing, and interpreting environmental and economic data.
  • Write research proposals and grant applications to obtain private or public funding for environmental and economic studies.
  • Examine the exhaustibility of natural resources or the long-term costs of environmental rehabilitation.
  • Monitor or analyze market and environmental trends.
  • Develop environmental research project plans, including information on budgets, goals, deliverables, timelines, and resource requirements.
  • Identify and recommend environmentally friendly business practices.
  • Interpret indicators to ascertain the overall health of an environment.

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Technology Skills

Hot technology Hot Technologies are requirements frequently included in employer job postings.

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Occupational Requirements

Work Activities

  • Analyzing Data or Information — Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
  • Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
  • Working with Computers — Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
  • Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
  • Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others — Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
  • Thinking Creatively — Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
  • Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
  • Training and Teaching Others — Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.
  • Communicating with People Outside the 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.
  • 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.
  • Judging the Qualities of Objects, Services, or People — Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.
  • Documenting/Recording Information — Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
  • Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work — Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
  • Developing Objectives and Strategies — Establishing long-range objectives and specifying the strategies and actions to achieve them.
  • Providing Consultation and Advice to Others — Providing guidance and expert advice to management or other groups on technical, systems-, or process-related topics.

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Detailed Work Activities

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Work Context

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Experience Requirements

Job Zone

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 pharmacists, lawyers, astronomers, biologists, clergy, neurologists, and veterinarians.
SVP Range
Over 4 years of preparation (8.0 and above)

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Training & Credentials

State training
Local training
Certifications
Apprenticeships
Have a career path or location in mind? Visit Apprenticeship.gov external site to find apprenticeship opportunities near you.

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Worker Requirements

Skills

  • 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.
  • Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
  • Mathematics — Using mathematics to solve problems.
  • Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work-related documents.
  • 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.
  • Judgment and Decision Making — Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
  • Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
  • Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Systems Analysis — Determining how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect outcomes.
  • 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.
  • Management of Financial Resources — Determining how money will be spent to get the work done, and accounting for these expenditures.
  • 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.
  • Coordination — Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
  • Persuasion — Persuading others to change their minds or behavior.
  • 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.

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Knowledge

  • Mathematics — Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
  • Economics and Accounting — Knowledge of economic and accounting principles and practices, the financial markets, banking, and the analysis and reporting of financial data.
  • English Language — Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Computers and Electronics — Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
  • 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.
  • Law and Government — Knowledge of laws, legal codes, court procedures, precedents, government regulations, executive orders, agency rules, and the democratic political process.

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Education

How much education does a new hire need to perform a job in this occupation? Respondents said:

  • 44%
     
    responded: Doctoral degree requiredmore info
  • 41%
     
    responded: Master’s degree requiredmore info
  • 11%
     
    responded: Bachelor’s degree required

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Worker Characteristics

Abilities

  • Written Comprehension — The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
  • Mathematical Reasoning — The ability to choose the right mathematical methods or formulas to solve a problem.
  • 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.
  • Written Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
  • 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).
  • Number Facility — The ability to add, subtract, multiply, or divide quickly and correctly.
  • 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 that there is a problem.
  • Speech Clarity — The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
  • Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
  • 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.
  • 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).
  • 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).
  • 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.
  • Selective Attention — The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
  • 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.
  • Memorization — The ability to remember information such as words, numbers, pictures, and procedures.

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Interests

Interest code: IEC
Want to discover your interests? Take the O*NET Interest Profiler at My Next Move.
  • 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.
  • 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.

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Work Values

  • 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.

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Work Styles

  • Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
  • Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
  • Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
  • 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.
  • Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
  • Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
  • Innovation — Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.
  • Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
  • Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
  • 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.
  • Self-Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
  • Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high-stress situations.

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Workforce Characteristics

Wages & Employment Trends

Median wage data for Economists.
Employment data for Economists.
Industry data for Economists.
Median wages (2021)
$50.79 hourly, $105,630 annual
State wages
Local wages
Employment (2020)
18,600 employees
Projected growth (2020-2030)
Faster than average (10% to 15%)
Projected job openings (2020-2030)
1,600
State trends
Top industries (2020)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2021 wage data external site and 2020-2030 employment projections external site . “Projected growth” represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2020-2030). “Projected job openings” represent openings due to growth and replacement.

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Job Openings on the Web

State job openings
Local job openings

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More Information

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.

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