Environmental Scientist

Environmental Scientists study the environment and how plants, animals and other organisms are affected by it. The also study external influenves, such as pollutants, and provide advice to avoid or reduce harmful effects on the environment.

If you enjoy science and are interested in helping to protect and conserve the environment, then becoming and Environmental Scientist could be the right job for you. 

Environmental Scientists may do some or all of the following and possibly more: study plants and animals in their environment; assess sources of soil, water and air pollution, and develop ways to control these; use computer modelling techniques to predict future events in the ecosystem; study soil types and suitable fertilisers; study how to alter soils to suit different plants; develop efficient irrigarion, drainage and wast disposal methods; plan and run field studies and experiments; study and develop encironmental policies; prepare applications for resource consent on behalf of clients, in compliance with the Resource Management Act. 


Environmental Scientists work fairly regular hours, but are often required to work evenings and weekends to meet deadlines. Usually work in offices, but may work outdoors when collecting samples or visiting sites. They may also travel nationally and internationally to work on projects or attend conferences.

Chances of Employment:

Chances of getting a job in most areas of Environmental Science are good, due to a shortage of qualified workers. 


In your first 5 years of Environmental Science, you could expect to earn between $55,000 and $85,000 per year, dependant on your qualification. (scientists with a PhD will generally earn a salary at the higher end of this spectrum.)

Senior Environmental Scientists with more than 5 years experience usually earn up to $100,000 per year. If you were to become a university professor, your salary could be $155,000 per year.

Useful subjects to study at secondary school are Mathematics with Statistics, Geography, English, Physics, Chemistry and Biology. 

You would need to complete a Bachelor's or Master's Degree in one of the following area's, depending on what you plan on specialising in;
Environmental Science (or a related area such as Chemistry or Engineering)
Ecology (or a related area such as Botany or Zoology)
Soil Science (or a related field such as Earth Science)

A PhD is generally required for research-based positions.