What Is the Job Description of an Environmental Manager?

Research what it takes to become an environmental manager. Learn about job requirements, the degree needed and the salary potential to find out if this is the career for you. Schools offering Environmental & Social Sustainability degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Does an Environmental Manager Do?

Environmental managers are occupational health and safety specialists who evaluate workplaces to make sure that they comply with the standards of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) or the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). They observe operations in a wide range of industries and run specific tests to make sure that a company's practices are safe for employees, customers and the environment as a whole. After the assessment, they write up reports and help design strategies to correct any areas of risk or noncompliance.

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

Degree Required Bachelor's degree at minimum; master's degree for advancement
Education Field of Study Environmental, geological or biological sciences; occupational health
Key Responsibilities Comply with EPA guidelines, check sites for pollutants, create mitigation plans, perform operational testing to reduce pollutants
Job Growth (2014-2024) 4%* (for all occupational health and safety specialists)
Median Salary (2017) $109,336**

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **Salary.com

Environmental Manager Defined

Environmental managers are responsible for monitoring and regulating a company's compliance with guidelines set forth by the Environmental Protection Agency. In this profession, you might check for pollutants and create policies for corrective measures. Another of your responsibilities could be to develop organizational policy designed to meet environmental goals by testing operations and figuring out how to reduce the output of pollutants.

Likewise, you could also be in charge of monitoring energy standards and waste control. Additional job duties may include designing and conducting research, developing proposals, communicating with clients and analyzing data.

Safety, Health and Environmental Managers

As a safety, health and environmental manager, you must ensure that your work place complies with Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards. You might be responsible for all health and safety assessment operations including reports, evaluations, inspection scheduling and auditing. You could also be required to take on administrative roles, participating in safety committees or recommending changes to executive staff. Additionally, you may be responsible for providing training to new personnel on hazard recognition, as well as coordinating the handling of hazardous materials.

Education

Environmental manager positions typically require a bachelor's degree. Depending on your specific title, you may pursue a major in environmental science, geology, biology or occupational health. Coursework typically examines risk management, hazardous material control, environmental science and conservation, ecology and pollution.

While most environmental manager positions require a bachelor's degree, you might increase your employment chances if you earn a master's degree in a related field. Master's degrees can usually be completed in 2-3 years and culminate in either a thesis or a comprehensive exam.

Income

Salary.com reported the median salary for environmental managers was $109,336 in March 2017. The top-paid ten percent of professionals in this field made upwards of $136,047, while the lowest paid ten percent of environmental managers earned $84,708 or less in March 2017.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Another career of interest could be a job as an environmental restoration planner. Rather than evaluating workplaces for environmental risks, these professionals gather information about sites that have already been polluted and create financially feasible cleanup plans. You usually need a bachelor's degree for this job. If you're still interested in conducting compliance-related inspections, you could also consider becoming a fire inspector. In this position, you would inspect buildings to make sure they are in line with government fire codes. The minimum educational requirement for a fire inspector job is a high school diploma, though these professionals are usually former fire fighters.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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