What Is an Environmental Analyst?

Research what is takes to become an environmental analyst. Learn more about the job duties, educational requirements, average wages and job outlook to find out if this is the career for you. Schools offering Energy Management degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is an Environmental Analyst?

Environmental analysts, also called environmental scientists or specialists, examine food, soil, water and air in an attempt to protect, cleanse and/or preserve it. Many focus their work in a particular area of the field, such as studying climate change, evaluating the effects of environmental factors on human health, or designing restoration plans for polluted sites. Based on their analyses, they may write reports and give presentations to policymakers, industry leaders and the general public in order to raise awareness of environmental issues.

The following chart gives you an overview of what you need to know about entering this field.

Degree Required Bachelor's degree, master's degree preferred
Education Field of Study Environmental science, physics, biology, chemistry
Key Responsibilities Research, data collection and analysis, response plan development to environmental disasters, environmental legislation development
Job Growth (2014-2024) 11%*
Average Salary (2015) $73,930*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Does an Environmental Analyst Do?

Environmental analysts often work for government agencies to help develop legislation that protects the environment from contamination by hazardous materials and pollutants. Other environmental analysts work in the private sector to ensure compliance with government regulations. They may help to identify and eradicate the sources of pollution and hazardous substances.

Their job duties include collecting and analyzing meteorological data, water and soil samples. They may also assist in developing response plans to a variety of environmental disasters. Additionally, they research and identify ways in which human behavior can be changed so as not to damage the environment.

What Education Will I Need?

A bachelor's degree in environmental science is considered adequate for some jobs in the private sector and in government; however, many employers prefer to hire those applicants who have earned master's degrees. If you have a degree in an area other than environmental science, such as physics or biology, you'll need to conduct research in the field of environmental science in order to find a job.

An undergraduate environmental science degree program might consist of courses in mathematics, biology, chemistry, petrology, evolution, ecology, hazardous waste management, plant and animal physiology, soil science, statistics and environmental law. In addition, many courses will have a hands-on component that requires laboratory or field work.

A master's degree program might include studies on quantitative problem solving, hydrology, regulatory risk analysis and advanced environmental geology. Your program may also require that you complete a thesis derived from original research, or an environmental science project.

What Other Qualifications Might I Need?

Your job as an environmental analyst will require that you not only have excellent communication skills, but that you be capable of working as part of a team of technicians and engineers. You must be able to clearly and concisely present your research findings and their implications. Familiarity with data analysis, digital mapping and computer modeling techniques may also be beneficial. An understanding of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) can increase your job prospects.

How Much Could I Earn?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, environmental scientists and specialists who were employed by the federal government earned an annual mean salary of $99,770 in 2015. Those who worked in local government earned approximately $68,800 and those environmental scientists and specialists who were employed by the state earned an annual mean wage of approximately $62,130.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

If you are looking for a job related to environmental conservation, you could also consider becoming a forester. As a forester, you would develop and implement strategies that support the health of forests, such as regeneration plans and forest fire prevention campaigns. Foresters usually need to have a bachelor's degree. Another environmental health-related career option is a job as an occupational health and safety specialist. In this position, you would inspect and analyze workplace environments in order to ensure that they are safe for workers and comply with environmental protection and product quality regulations and standards. This job requires a bachelor's degree.

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