In Summary - Environmental Scientist
Environmental Scientists typically work in the following Career Sectors:
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The Work - Environmental Scientist
While the environment is a term that covers a wide range of activities, there are two main areas, environmental science and environmental engineering. Environmental science is concerned with scientific aspects relating to the environment and deals with subjects such as chemistry and biology. Environmental engineering, on the other hand, deals with technological aspects and in particular the design and use of equipment to control and monitor the quality of our environment.
Environmental scientists may have long-term responsibility for a conservation area. Conservation bodies employ Environmental Scientists to manage nature reserves, ranging from ancient woodlands to gravel pits. Environmental Scientists also identify new areas in need of protection.
In the laboratory, scientists may analyse water pollution caused by industry and agriculture. They test water samples to find the type, concentration and source of the pollution.
Fieldwork makes up a large part of an environmental scientists job, so they have to work outdoors in any weather.
Most commonly reported Work Tasks
- Provide scientific or technical guidance, support, coordination, or oversight to governmental agencies, environmental programs, industry, or the public.
- Review and implement environmental technical standards, guidelines, policies, and formal regulations that meet all appropriate requirements.
- 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.
- Communicate scientific or technical information to the public, organizations, or internal audiences through oral briefings, written documents, workshops, conferences, training sessions, or public hearings.
- 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.
- Conduct environmental audits or inspections or investigations of violations.
- Monitor effects of pollution or land degradation and recommend means of prevention or control.
- Design or direct studies to obtain technical environmental information about planned projects.
- Analyze data to determine validity, quality, and scientific significance and to interpret correlations between human activities and environmental effects.
Most commonly reported Work 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.
- Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
- Communicating with Persons Outside Organization Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.
Interests - Environmental Scientist
This occupation is typically suited for people with the following Career Interests:
Not surprisingly, some aspect of the natural sciences will run through the Naturalist's interests - from ecological awareness to nutrition and health. People with an interest in horticulture, land usage and farming (including fish) are Naturalists.
Some Naturalists focus on animals rather than plants, and may enjoy working with, training, caring for, or simply herding them. Other Naturalists will prefer working with the end result of nature's produce - the food produced from plants and animals. Naturalists like solving problems with solutions that show some sensitivity to the environmental impact of what they do. They like to see practical results and prefer action to talking and discussing.
The Investigative person will usually find a particular area of science to be of interest. They are inclined toward intellectual and analytical activities and enjoy observation and theory. They may prefer thought to action, and enjoy the challenge of solving problems with sophiscticated technology. These types prefer mentally stimulating environments and often pay close attention to developments in their chosen field.
Realists are usually interested in 'things' - such as buildings, mechanics, equipment, tools, electronics etc. Their primary focus is dealing with these - as in building, fixing, operating or designing them. Involvement in these areas leads to high manual skills, or a fine aptitude for practical design - as found in the various forms of engineering.
Realists like to find practical solutions to problems using tools, technology and skilled work. Realists usually prefer to be active in their work environment, often do most of their work alone, and enjoy taking decisive action with a minimum amount of discussion and paperwork.
You should be efficient, well organised and capable of leading a team of conservation specialists or enthusiastic volunteers. You should also be able to plan ahead and make the best use of resources. You need to be fit, active and prepared to join in with practical work when required.
Entry Requirements - Environmental Scientist
New entrants to this area typically have a Bachelor Degree in a relevant subject, such as Environmental Science, Environmental Engineering, Environmental BioBioscience.
A number of Institutes of Technology throughout the country offer suitable courses at level 7 / 8 including CIT, DIT, Dundalk IT, GMIT, IT Carlow, IT Sligo, Limerick IT, Tralee IT among others, as well as the Universities.
It is increasingly common to have a postgraduate qualification
Last Updated: November, 2014
Pay & Salary - Environmental Scientist
Salary Range (thousands per year)* 24k - 49k
Last Updated: August, 2017
* The lower figures typically reflect starting salaries. Higher salaries are awarded to those with greater experience and responsibility. Positions in Dublin sometimes command higher salaries.
Labour Market Updates - Environmental Scientist
While the supply of graduates appears to be sufficient to meet the annual recruitment requirement (5,500 graduates in 2017), the demand is arising for roles for those with a high level of experience and/or in niche areas. The demand is for a small number of people given the relatively small size of this occupation (approx. 1% of total employment) and in the areas associated with pharmaceuticals, biopharma and food development.
National Skills Bulletin 2018
Useful Contacts - Environmental Scientist
Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI)
- Discover Science & Engineering, Wilton Park House, Wilton Place, Dublin, 2
- Click Here
Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)