Average Salary in Environmental Science

Workers in an environment-related field are in high demand, due to the rising commitment to protecting the natural world. Since demand is higher, you can make a healthy salary in this field. Let’s take a look at just how much you can expect to earn as an environmental scientist, along with how you can make more money in this field.

Average Salary Rates

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary of environmental scientists is $65,280 annually. The amount you make depends largely on the type of job you take after graduating with this type of degree. Some of your options include the following:

  • Geoscientists: $79,160
  • Hydrologists: $71,450
  • Atmospheric Scientists: $81,290
  • Biological Scientists: $82,840
  • Biochemists: $86,580
  • Zoologists and Wildlife Biologists: $61,660
  • Conservation Scientists and Foresters: $58,720

In general, you’ll typically earn between $60,000 and $85,000 in this field, though there is the potential to make more money – many environmental scientists make six-figure salaries.

Your salary will also vary according to your level of experience and education. The more experience you have, the higher your salary will be. Same goes for education. With a master’s degree, you’ll likely earn more given the skills and knowledge you possess. Also, if you specialize in an area of environmental science such as biochemistry or biotechnology, you narrow the competition and increase your chances of getting work.

Salary by Location

Location is one of the most influencing factors when determining how much you’ll earn as an environmental scientist. The top-paying states in this field are as follows:

  • District of Columbia: $108,190
  • Massachusetts: $84,580
  • Virginia: $82,100
  • Colorado: $76,150
  • Illinois: $75,380

Looking for specific cities where salary rates are high? Try Washington DC, Santa Fe, San Francisco, Dallas, Bethesda, Huntsville, Kennewick, Boston, Appleton, and Ann Arbor. In all of these locations, you can expect an average salary of over $85,000 annually. In addition, more rural locations where you can make a high salary as an environmental scientist include Eastern Idaho, Los Alamos County in New Mexico, Western Tennessee, St. Mary’s County in Maryland, and the Mother Lode Region of California.

Salary by Employer

The type of employer hiring you also makes a difference in the salary you’ll ultimately be offered. Lots of different companies and organizations hire environmental scientists, especially since changing laws are holding business more accountable for the environmental impact they have. Some of the highest-paying employers include the following:

  • General Medical and Surgical Hospitals: $95,760
  • Federal Executive Branch: $95,680
  • Oil and Gas Extraction Companies: $87,520
  • Natural Gas Distribution Companies: $86,400
  • Metal Ore Mines: $83,950

In addition, a large number of jobs can be found with architecture and engineering companies, manufacturing consulting services, state and local government departments, and research facilities.

Some graduates choose to start their own business, and given how renewable energy sources are on the rise, there’s definitely a market for entrepreneurs with a green thumb. If you’re interested in starting your own business, perhaps gain a few years of experience, develop a business plan, and go for it!

Again, due to the variety of factors and types of jobs, it’s hard to pinpoint exact salaries. But remember, education and experience are two significant factors when it comes to pay. The more you know, the more you’ll likely earn. Secure an internship while in school or take on a summer job at a wind farm to gain experience. Employers look for candidates with experience and industry know-how.

Online Environmental Science Programs and Related Degrees

Like many other fields, Environmental Science is a continuing to expand its availability of online programs from accredited schools. There are now several options of specializations within this field. By clicking on the links below, you can request more information for that school or degree.

Kaplan University — The Kaplan University Bachelor of Science in Environmental Policy and Management degree program provides for an interdisciplinary approach to environmental science. Courses study environmental issues and policies and examine relationships between public and private sectors. The MS in Environmental Policy dives deeper into the field, by questioning current trends in the industry.
Ashford University — The Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies at Ashford University provides training for future environmentalists, sustainability experts, consultants, and advocates. The curriculum explores cultural, social, and environmental issues at the local and global level. The Environmental Management MBA program features a greater emphasis on business management of environmental organizations. Ashford University is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission, 985 Atlantic Avenue, Suite 100, Alameda, CA 94501, 510-748-9001,
Walden University — The MSM in Sustainable Management from Walden University is a great degree for those venturing out into the green industry. Upon graduation, students will be able to utilize project management skills to achieve performance objectives, demonstrate a working knowledge and leadership of an array of renewable energy sources, and prepare sample bids and sample project development plans.
University of Phoenix — The Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science degree from the University of Phoenix provides students a diverse course of study that can be used in the preparation of a teaching career in secondary schools, colleges, and universities. Courses include Principles of Biology, Introductory Chemistry, Principles of Environmental Science, Physical Geology, and Conservation Biology.

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