Environmental Scientist Kaipūtaiao Ao Tūroa

Environmental scientists study the environment and how plants, animals and other organisms are affected by it. They also study external influences, such as pollutants, and advise how to avoid or reduce harmful effects on the environment.

Environmental scientists may do some or all of the following:

  • 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 irrigation, drainage and waste disposal methods
  • plan and run field studies and experiments
  • prepare reports on the environmental impacts of activities such as mining, forestry and agriculture
  • report results of studies in science journals and in conferences
  • study and develop environmental policies
  • provide technical advice to clients or local government authorities
  • prepare applications for resource consent on behalf of clients, in compliance with the Resource Management Act.

Physical Requirements

Environmental scientists need to be reasonably fit and healthy to make field trips or site visits.

Useful Experience

Useful experience for environmental scientists includes:

  • surveying work
  • environmental engineering work
  • environmental monitoring or measurement
  • work with a fertiliser or crop and seed company
  • working as a volunteer in ecology or conservation work
  • laboratory work
  • being a member of an environmental interest or community group
  • completing a summer placement at a regional or city council.

Personal Qualities

Environmental scientists need to be:

  • accurate
  • able to make good judgements
  • good at problem solving
  • good at planning and organising
  • good at communicating
  • creative, so they can develop new ideas.

Useful Experience

Useful experience for environmental scientists includes:

  • surveying work
  • environmental engineering work
  • environmental monitoring or measurement
  • work with a fertiliser or crop and seed company
  • working as a volunteer in ecology or conservation work
  • laboratory work
  • being a member of an environmental interest or community group
  • completing a summer placement at a regional or city council.

Subject Recommendations

A tertiary entrance qualification is required to enter further training. Useful subjects include maths, economics, geography, physics, chemistry, biology, and agricultural and horticultural science. 

Environmental Scientists can earn around $49K-$130K per year per year.

Chances of getting a job as a Environmental Scientist are good due to a shortage of people interested in this type of work.

Environmental scientists in research roles usually progress through the following steps:  

  • Technicians with a Bachelor's degree may progress into research environmental scientist positions after getting a Masters or PhD.
  • Those with a PhD can do postdoctoral fellowships at research organisations or universities before becoming a permanent environmental scientist.
  • After about 15 years' experience environmental scientists can progress into senior research scientist, team leader or manager roles. 

Environmental scientists may also specialise in an area such as:

Air Pollution Analyst
Air pollution analysts study factors producing air pollution and recommend ways to prevent and control these.
Ecologist
Ecologists study animals and plants in their natural habitats, and how they interact with those environments.
Land Degradation Analyst
Land degradation analysts study factors degrading the quality of soils and recommend ways to prevent and control these.
Water Quality Analyst
Water quality analysts study factors affecting water quality and recommend ways to prevent and control these.

 

Environmental Scientist

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