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 AND SPECIALIST CAREERS
Video transcript

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.

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
Conduct research or perform investigation for the purpose of identifying, abating, or eliminating sources of pollutants or hazards that affect either the environment or public health. 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
LOW
Job challenge and pressure to meet deadlines
HIGH
Dealing and handling conflict
LOW
Competition for this position
HIGH
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
Daily tasks

Conduct environmental audits or inspections or investigations of violations.

Provide advice on proper standards and regulations or the development of policies, strategies, or codes of practice for environmental management.

Communicate scientific or technical information to the public, organizations, or internal audiences through oral briefings, written documents, workshops, conferences, training sessions, or public hearings.

Review and implement environmental technical standards, guidelines, policies, and formal regulations that meet all appropriate requirements.

Monitor effects of pollution or land degradation and recommend means of prevention or control.

Prepare charts or graphs from data samples, providing summary information on the environmental relevance of the data.

Provide scientific or technical guidance, support, coordination, or oversight to governmental agencies, environmental programs, industry, or the public.

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.

MAIN ACTIVITIES
Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
Interacting With Computers Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
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.
Documenting/Recording Information Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
Making Decisions and Solving Problems Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
AREAS OF KNOWLEDGE
English Language Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
Mathematics Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
Law and Government Knowledge of laws, legal codes, court procedures, precedents, government regulations, executive orders, agency rules, and the democratic political process.
Clerical Knowledge of administrative and clerical procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office procedures and terminology.
Customer and Personal Service Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
Biology Knowledge of plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, interdependencies, and interactions with each other and the environment.
Computers and Electronics Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
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.
TOP SKILLS
Critical Thinking Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
Reading Comprehension Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
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.
Science Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.
Writing Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
Speaking Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Complex Problem Solving Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
Active Learning Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.