Best Environment Science and Environment Studies Jobs

Career Options for Environmental Science Majors

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For those concerned about the environment, an environmental studies or environmental science (ES) major allows you to pursue a range of careers that contribute toward the causes you care the most about.

Ultimately, your career path will depend on the unique configuration of skills, interests, and values you bring to the table. Here are some of the careers best suited for those passionate about sustainability, conservation, ecology, climate change, alternative energy sources, and related fields.

Key Takeaways

  • Environmental science careers emphasize the math, chemistry, biology, and physics that affect our atmosphere and planet.
  • Careers in environmental studies take a broader view and combine elements of social and political sciences with natural sciences.
  • Careers in these fields include environmental consultants, educators, public relations specialists, engineers, and attorneys.

Environmental Studies vs. Environmental Science: What's the Difference?

ES majors ground their idealism in scientific rigor. As a student in this field, you’ll need the ability to understand and apply complex concepts in biology, chemistry, geology, and physics. You’ll also learn to apply quantitative and qualitative analytical skills to solving problems and interpreting research data. Your creativity will help you design research models to study environmental issues.

Environmental studies majors incorporate a broader range of studies. Professionals in this field may consider social sciences, political sciences, and historical events in conjunction with natural sciences. These careers deal with public policy, law, and other issues along those lines.

Top Jobs for Environmental Science Majors

Here are a few of the best careers to consider for students studying the environment with a focus on science.

Environmental Scientist

Environmental scientists and specialists leverage their knowledge of natural sciences to help protect the environment and improve human health. Some jobs may include gathering data from the field and other firsthand interactions with nature, but work in this career typically takes place in an office or laboratory. You'll need at least a bachelor's degree to get an entry-level job in this field.

Median annual pay: $76,530

Environmental Consultant

Organizations of all kinds need to prepare environmental impact studies when they are planning to develop virgin land or use currently developed land for an alternative purpose. As an environmental consultant, you'll use analytical tools to assess how development projects might impact the water, soil, air or wildlife in the area. When problematic impacts are identified, you will suggest ways to ameliorate the potential effects. In other cases, organizations might bring you in to address existing problems—like pollution—and to recommend solutions.


You'll tap the writing and presentation skills honed while you earned your degree to compose technical reports and deliver recommendations to clients.

Average annual pay: $60,166

Environmental Engineer

When technical solutions are required to resolve problems with environmental contamination or pollution, environmental engineers often are called upon to propose and implement those systems. In this role, you'll draw upon knowledge of environmental science when designing environmental technology and tap the quantitative skills developed as an ES major when calculating the physical dimensions of systems.

You'll be expected to write proposals for projects and present recommendations to clients that show you've researched and defended a position collaborated with other professionals, devised solutions and presented them in a clear, concise way.

Median annual pay: $96,820

Sustainability Specialist

Organizations of all kinds are seeking greener ways of carrying out their functions. As a sustainability specialist, you'll assess the environmental practices and impact of an organization and recommend and implement strategies to conserve resources and limit environmental damage.

Knowledge of scientific methodology is essential to carrying out sophisticated assessments of the impact of current operations on the environment and determining what conservation benefits are derived when alternate processes are implemented.


You'll use your writing, presentation, and interpersonal skills developed as an ES major to write proposals and urge colleagues to adopt alternative practices.

Average salary: $86,318

Environment Policy Analyst

Generating realistic proposals for environmental policy requires an in-depth knowledge of scientific concepts. As an ES major, you should possess the aptitude for learning new scientific information as well as a solid foundation in biology, chemistry, and physics.

Your research skills will help to uncover information related to public policy recommendations, and your analytical and statistical skills will help to interpret and process that information. The technical writing skills you cultivated as an ES major will be needed to compose scientifically oriented policy documents.

Average salary: $100,806

Top Jobs for Environmental Studies Majors

Here are some of the top careers for those studying the environment in a broader sense.

Environmental Educator

ES majors gain a broad-based perspective on environmental issues which can serve you well as an environmental educator. You'll learn about the environment surrounding your geographic area of practice and rely on your training to collect and interpret information and to conduct fieldwork.


It's important to convey a sense of excitement in your interactions with visitors or students, and public speaking skills polished on campus will help you provide dynamic presentations.

Average salary: $87,033

Public Relations Specialist

Environmental organizations need to influence public perceptions to gain political and financial support for their initiatives. As a public relations specialist or communications staff member, you'll use the knowledge acquired as an ES major when generating press releases about programs and activities at your employer's or client's organizations. You'll use your writing skills to develop content for the websites of environmental entities and to help compose text for fundraising brochures and letters.

Median annual pay: $62,800

Environmental Attorney

If you choose to go to law school after earning your ES degree, your scientific knowledge will be an asset when working with clients on environmentally related cases. You'll interview expert witnesses like environmental engineers, biologists, chemists, and other environmental scientists as you prepare and litigate cases. You'll need to interpret scientific material and evaluate the validity/reliability of those findings.

As an attorney, your writing skills will help you compose legal briefs and other documents. You may help draft the language for environmental regulations if you work for a governmental entity.

Average Salary: $83,657


To effectively target prospective donors for contributions to environmental causes, fundraisers must have a solid understanding of their organizations' goals and operations. As an ES major, you are well positioned to gain this knowledge and convey the benefits of supporting environmental initiatives.


In this role, you’ll rely on solid communication skills to compose letters and make pitches to prospective contributors. You must also be organized to orchestrate fundraising events and plan campaigns.

Median annual pay: $60,660

The Bottom Line

No matter what you enjoy studying, there may be a way to tie those studies into an environmental focus. The environmental sciences and studies career field offers a broad range of jobs to choose from. If you want to work in a job that helps the environment, you simply need to identify your skill set and pursue an environmental career that will utilize them.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What jobs can you get with an environment studies major?

You can get many different types of jobs with an environmental studies major. For example, you can work as an attorney, fundraiser, or public relations specialist that focuses on environmental causes.

What types of jobs can you get with an environment science major?

The jobs you can get with an environmental sciences major are similar to those you can get with an environmental studies major, but they are geared more toward hard sciences like biology, physics, and chemistry. For example, you can work as an engineer or consultant.

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  1. North Central College. "Environmental Studies vs. Environmental Science."

  2. Bureau of Labor Statistics. "Environmental Scientists and Specialists."

  3. PayScale. “Average Environmental Consultant Salary.”

  4. Bureau of Labor Statistics. "Environmental Engineers."

  5. Glassdoor. “Sustainability Specialist Salaries.”

  6. Glassdoor. “Policy Analyst Salaries.”

  7. Glassdoor. “Environmental Educator Salaries.”

  8. Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Public Relations Specialists.”

  9. ZipRecruiter. “Environmental Lawyer Salary.”

  10. Bureau of Labor Statistics. "Fundraisers."

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