Environmental Scientists and Specialists, Including Health

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Also known as:  Ecological Modeler, Environmental Analyst, Environmental Scientist, Hazardous Substances Scientist, Health Environmentalist, Water Pollution Scientist, Water Quality Analyst

ABOUT ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENTIST OR SPECIALIST CAREERS

VIDEO TRANSCRIPT Expand
There is a price any society pays for progress. Often, that price is measured in damage to our environment or the public health. Environmental scientists and specialists, including health specialists, try to stop the damage. These specialists investigate what's causing the pollution or health hazard ...
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They may perform laboratory and field tests to monitor environmental resources and to determine the contaminants and sources of pollution. Once these are identified, they work to stop the threat. They design and monitor waste disposal sites, preserve water supplies and reclaim contaminated land and water.

Being able to collect information and materials and to study them to determine their impact requires knowledge in various sciences. Strong math skills are also important, because specialists often need to develop research models using statistical concepts. And they need to be able to create charts and graphs to explain the data collected.

Environmental scientists and specialists may also be called upon to advise government regulators from the Health Department or state departments of Environmental Conservation. A bachelor's degree is the minimum educational requirement for these occupations. For some jobs, you'll also need at least five years of experience. The air we breathe, the food we eat and the water we drink are all cleaner because of environmental scientists and specialists.
SNAPSHOT Expand
Conduct research or perform investigation for the purpose of identifying, abating, or eliminating sources of pollutants or hazards that affect either the environment or the health of the population. Using knowledge of various scientific disciplines, may collect, synthesize, study, report, and recommend action based on data derived from measurements or observations of air, food, soil, water, and other sources.
Leadership
HIGH
Critical decision making
HIGH
Level of responsibilities
HIGH
Job challenge and pressure to meet deadlines
HIGH
Dealing and handling conflict
LOW
Competition for this position
LOW
Communication with others
HIGH
Work closely with team members, clients etc.
HIGH
Comfort of the work setting
HIGH
Exposure to extreme environmental conditions
LOW
Exposure to job hazards
LOW
Physical demands
LOW
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DAILY TASKS Expand
Determine data collection methods to be employed in research projects or surveys.
Supervise or train students, environmental technologists, technicians, or other related staff.
Research sources of pollution to determine their effects on the environment and to develop theories or methods of pollution abatement or control.
Process and review environmental permits, licenses, or related materials.
Collect, synthesize, analyze, manage, and report environmental data, such as pollution emission measurements, atmospheric monitoring measurements, meteorological or mineralogical information, or soil or water samples.
Provide scientific or technical guidance, support, coordination, or oversight to governmental agencies, environmental programs, industry, or the public.
Provide advice on proper standards and regulations or the development of policies, strategies, or codes of practice for environmental management.
Prepare charts or graphs from data samples, providing summary information on the environmental relevance of the data.
Review and implement environmental technical standards, guidelines, policies, and formal regulations that meet all appropriate requirements.
Analyze data to determine validity, quality, and scientific significance and to interpret correlations between human activities and environmental effects.
Communicate scientific or technical information to the public, organizations, or internal audiences through oral briefings, written documents, workshops, conferences, training sessions, or public hearings.
MAIN ACTIVITIES Expand
Interacting With Computers Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
Processing Information Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
Documenting/Recording Information Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
AREAS OF KNOWLEDGE Expand
English Language Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
Chemistry Knowledge of the chemical composition, structure, and properties of substances and of the chemical processes and transformations that they undergo. This includes uses of chemicals and their interactions, danger signs, production techniques, and disposal methods.
Mathematics Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
Biology Knowledge of plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, interdependencies, and interactions with each other and the environment.
Law and Government Knowledge of laws, legal codes, court procedures, precedents, government regulations, executive orders, agency rules, and the democratic political process.
Computers and Electronics Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
Engineering and Technology Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.
Geography Knowledge of principles and methods for describing the features of land, sea, and air masses, including their physical characteristics, locations, interrelationships, and distribution of plant, animal, and human life.
KEY ABILITIES Expand
Inductive Reasoning The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
Written Comprehension The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
Deductive Reasoning The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
Problem Sensitivity The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
Information Ordering The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
Category Flexibility The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
Written Expression The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
Oral Expression The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
TOP SKILLS Expand
Science Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.
Critical Thinking Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
Speaking Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Reading Comprehension Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
Writing Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
Active Listening Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Coordination Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
Judgment and Decision Making Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
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