Sustainability and Green Jobs are a growing industry that is taking the country by storm. This industry possesses a diverse workforce that performs a variety of different functions, ranging from engineering to industrial management. However, all of these careers focus on providing sufficient amounts of energy for today’s world without undermining environmental integrity or draining future resources. The top-paying jobs in this industry are careers in environmental science.
Environmental science brings together the fields of ecology, biology, zoology, oceanography, atmospheric science, soil science, geology, chemistry, and more in an interdisciplinary study of how natural and man-made processes interact with one another and ultimately affect the various biomes of Earth. Environmental science jobs can be found online by utilizing job search engines. There are many specific jobs in this area mentioned by Lensa, as well as other similar sites.
Before we begin, it is important to understand that although these jobs are high paying, they aren’t meant for everyone. There are millions of careers in the world, and if your main career goal is protecting the environment, I guarantee there are thousands of jobs outside of these you will find a lot of fulfillment.
With that being said, let’s go over high-paying jobs in environmental science, highest-paying jobs with a Bachelor’s Degree, and environmental science jobs that may require a bit more specialization. Some might even call these jobs the best environmental science jobs, although, as mentioned above, money does not equal employee satisfaction.
Chief Sustainability Officer
The highest-paying environmental science job is the Chief Sustainability Officer. The chief sustainability officer is one of the top executives in a corporation. You have probably heard of a CEO (chief executive officer), this position is similar as they are the top executives in a corporation or business. As the world is becoming more and more green-conscious and sustainable, these jobs have started to pop up. Now there is space on a top executive table for a chief sustainability officer.
Just like other top executives in a business or corporation, chief sustainability officers are very involved in the large overarching coordination of projects for a business’ environmental and sustainability efforts. They are responsible for providing an ongoing evaluation of the company’s profits, personnel, ecological outlook, and other factors that affect the company’s performance. It is a heavily business-focused environmental job, and you need to be very business savvy and have excellent leadership skills to have this kind of role.
This position is not as environmentally focused as some of the other careers that will be mentioned, but it is the most profitable. There aren’t many jobs out there that have this sort of title as it is a very new kind of job, and the highest paying jobs are definitely going to be the larger businesses, but in the future, as pressure continues growing to become more green and sustainable, more positions like this will be available.
There has been a dramatic increase in the hiring of the chief sustainability officer (CSO) role among Fortune 500 companies, with demand for CSOs growing 228% in corporate America over the last decade.
Education for this type of position typically requires a business degree. Additionally, a degree in an environmental-related field is needed as it’s really important to thoroughly understand environmental principles before jumping into a job like this. The average salary for this position is $184,460 per year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Next up on our list is an environmental lawyer. Environmental law is an up-and-coming area of law in an age of concern over the ‘footprint’ humans are leaving on our planet. It covers diverse areas such as climate control, sources of energy, pollution, and Corporate Social Responsibility. When groups or individuals believe someone has misused or abused natural resources to the extent that it has endangered people, wildlife, or the resources themselves, they hire environmental lawyers to plead their cases.
Environmental lawyers know the ins and outs of environmental policy and law, so they may be helping clients on issues related to air and water quality, hazardous waste, sustainability, or maybe endangered species. They can work for the local, state, or federal government, or they could be working for private or non-profit organizations. Government agencies like the Department of Energy, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and state departments of environmental protection often hire environmental lawyers. Additionally, many large corporations will also hire environmental lawyers.
The most popular areas in this field are pollution, wildlife, conservation, and climate change. The job demand for environmental lawyers is expected to increase by 9% in the next ten years.
Required education for an environmental lawyer contains a bachelor’s and then a Juris Doctor to get your law degree. Often if you specialize in environmental law, you need a specialization degree afterward (additional Master’s in conservation and sustainability). The average salary for environmental lawyers is $120,910 per year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
A geoscientist is a scientist that studies the earth’s structure and composition. Geoscientists are often involved in discovering and developing commercially viable and exploitable reserves of natural resources, such as oil, gas, minerals, and water. Others work in areas such as seismology, volcanology, environmental protection, land reclamation, or oceanography. Whichever area you’re working in, you’ll be studying the physical structure of the earth – how it was formed, the processes involved, and how it’s changing.
A lot of the things that geoscientists will do is collect data and analyze it back in a lab. They could collect data by going into the field, taking samples, and bringing them back to the lab, or they could work with aerial photography or satellite images to find where specific structures or compositions lie.
The job demand for Geoscientists is expected to increase by 7% in the next ten years. Growing demand for environmental resources and improvements in extraction technologies are increasing the demand for this profession, as well as the design and construction of alternative energy fields.
The typical required education for this type of career is usually a Bachelor’s Degree, but some jobs might require a Master’s for a specialized area. The average salary for a geoscientist is $93,580 per year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Environmental engineering focuses on protecting the environment by reducing waste and pollution. They optimize the use of natural resources, help develop renewable energy resources and maximize the use of existing materials. Environmental engineers advise government and private companies on the best ways to minimize the environmental impact of projects, structures, and buildings. They also design technologies and processes that control pollution and clean up contamination.
Examples of things that environmental engineers might work on are recycling programs, wastewater treatment, or waste management facilities. They also could be working on solar power or wind power. A lot of people might not know that an environmental engineer really needs to understand and be comfortable with math and physics. For this career, math and physics are primary to understanding the environment.
The reason why it’s so important to be comfortable with these topics first is that when you are working with high-stakes structures and very large objects and machines (like a windmill) that could possibly fall over and hurt someone, it’s paramount that they are properly constructed. So, physics and math first, and then environmental education. The job demand for environmental engineers is expected to increase by 3% in the next ten years.
The required education level for this type of job is typically just a Bachelor’s Degree, although some people will go on to do a Master’s if they want a little bit more specialization. The average salary for an environmental engineer is $87,620 per year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
In the past few years, there has been growing concern over the well-being of our planet and how we can improve our environment. It is crucial to stay on top of things and to try to make our world a better place. Jobs in sustainability and conservation make that happen. Now you know that opportunities are growing for environmentally-friendly jobs and that it’s entirely possible to make a comfortable living while promoting a healthy, clean environment. Environmental scientists have rewarding, challenging, and well-paying careers that offer excellent opportunities for growth and advancement.