5 Career Paths for Environmentalists

Environmentalist Career Options

  • Environmental Engineers
  • Sustainability Consultants
  • Marine Biologists
  • Water Quality Scientists
  • Nature Conservationists

There is a broad range of career paths available for environmentalist majors. Nearly every organization today faces various environmental issues, and because of this, there is a growing need for professionals who have earned environmentalist degrees. This is a highly flexible degree that provides fulfilling employment in many different sectors, but the following five career paths are among the most widely popular options today.

Related resource: 50 Great Affordable Eco-Friendly Colleges

1. Environmental Engineers

Choosing to become an environmental engineer is a popular career path for environmentalists. These professionals work hard to solve a variety of environmental issues such as air quality management, pollution control, wastewater management, and recycling. A minimum of a bachelor’s degree is typically required for entry-level positions in this occupation, and some states may require licensure for those engineers who wish to work in the public sector. Common employers of environmental engineers include engineering firms, government agencies, and environmental consulting firms.

2. Sustainability Consultants

Another great career path for environmentalist graduates is to obtain a position as a sustainability consultant. Sustainability consultants work independently or for consulting companies and help organizations reduce energy consumption. They accomplish this by performing such tasks as conducting energy audits, suggesting the use of alternative energy sources, helping to simplify supply chains, and finding ways to reduce waste. Although certification in such areas as environmental studies or earth science is the minimum requirement for this profession, a bachelor’s degree can certainly help to boost employment opportunities in this field.

3. Marine Biologists

A career path that is perfect for environmentalists who are interested in wildlife is to become a marine biologist. The main responsibility of marine biologists is to protect marine wildlife. Another important responsibility of many marine biologists is to test fish populations for various diseases. These professionals can choose to specialize if they wish and can be found working in a broad range of work settings including aquariums, zoos, and research laboratories. According to the United States Department of Labor, this career paid an average salary of $63,420 in 2018 and is expected to grow by about eight percent until the year 2026.

4. Water Quality Scientists

Yet another terrific career path for people with environmentalist degrees is obtaining a position as a water quality scientist. Sometimes referred to as water quality specialists, these professionals ensure that water is safe to consume. Common daily tasks of water quality scientists include collecting water samples, testing samples, making recommendations for improving water quality, and investigating water contamination. Typical employers for water quality scientists are utility companies, government agencies, regulatory agencies, and various non-profit organizations. An advanced degree in environmental science is usually required for these positions.

5. Nature Conservationists

A popular career path for environmentalists today is choosing to obtain a position as a nature conservationist. This career is ideal for environmentalists who are interested in protecting our environment and maintaining it for future generations. Common tasks that these professionals are often responsible for include preventing forest fires, ensuring that habitats are disease-free, testing soil and water for contamination, and educating the public about the importance of nature conservation. A bachelor’s degree in environmental science or a related field is typically the minimum requirement to obtain a position as a nature conservationist.

A degree in environmental science can open the door to many exciting job opportunities. And while the possible career paths for environmentalists are plenty, the five paths described above are some of the more popular choices today.