The Best Environmental Jobs

by Rose Johnson

As preserving the environment and producing green energy gain more attention, the environmental industry offers more top jobs. Most of the best environmental jobs require at least a bachelor’s degree in a specific field. Employees work in a variety of settings, but for many, the most desirable environmental jobs offer competitive salaries. If you're looking for an environmental career, knowing the best jobs in the field can help you choose the right career.

Environmental Engineer

Environmental engineers use engineering, chemistry and biology principles and techniques to develop products and processes to solve environmental issues. These engineers focus on topics such as public health, recycling and pollution. They also develop environmental protection projects and prepare and update environmental investigation reports. Depending on the particular project, an environmental engineer can work in a variety of settings. For example, an environmental engineer works in the field when collaborating with environmental scientists. In contrast, when working with business people and attorneys, an environmental engineer is likely to attend seminars and answer questions regarding the environment. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the 2012 average annual salary for an environmental engineer was $85,140.


Geoscientists use simple and specialized tools to study the structure, composition, dynamics and evolution of the earth. They also seek to discover natural resources, such as petroleum, water and minerals. These scientists often work in the field to collect samples and conduct surveys, taking the samples back to laboratories to conduct tests. Other duties include studying aerial photographs, producing geologic maps and charts, preparing written reports and sharing report findings with colleagues and other interested parties. The BLS states that the 2012 average salary for a geoscientist was $106,780.


As the world population continues to rise, sustaining sufficient supplies of water has become increasingly critical. Hydrologists play an important role in use of water resources. They study the quality, availability, movement and distribution of water. In addition, they research the biological interactions and chemical properties that affect water. Common duties of a hydrologist include using remote sensing equipment to collect water and soil samples to determine pollution levels, researching and developing ways to conserve water and using computer models and other specialized equipment to predict future water supplies. The 2012 average annual salary for a hydrologist was $78,920.

Atmospheric Scientist

Atmospheric scientists study the climate, weather and the atmosphere and how other systems affect it. These scientists typically choose a specialty, such as climatology, dynamic meteorology or atmospheric chemistry. Responsibilities of an atmospheric scientist may include measuring air pressure, temperature and other atmospheric properties, creating weather maps, preparing short- and long-term weather forecasts and developing and using computer models to study and analyze data about the atmosphere. Most atmospheric scientists work for the federal government. The 2012 average annual salary for atmospheric scientists was $90,010.

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