How to Get Into a Career in Environmental Sciences

Are you passionate about the environment? Do you want to make a difference and reduce your carbon footprint? Then pursuing a career in environmental science could be the right path for you. In this article, we’ll provide you with some guidance on how to break into the industry and what you can expect once you start working in the field.

Step One: Gain Work Experience

Work experience is crucial in helping you decide if a career in environmental science is right for you. Not only does it provide you with a hands-on understanding of the day-to-day operations of the job, but it also exposes you to the different areas of the industry. Here are some ways to gain work experience:

  • Environmental Science Degree: Many environmental science courses offer work placements or field trips, allowing you to gain practical industry experience. Not all degrees provide this, so ensure you check before applying.
  • Internships: Depending on the organisation, internships can provide paid or unpaid work experience during the summer months. You can use these opportunities to shadow professionals in the field and get a taste of what the job entails. Remember, internships are highly competitive, so apply early to increase your chances.
  • Volunteering: Volunteering with environmental and conservation groups is an excellent way to gain practical work experience while supporting important causes. It can also add value to your CV and help you stand out when applying for jobs.
  • Conferences and debates: Attending conferences and debates can keep you up-to-date with current issues and concerns in the industry. These events look impressive on your CV and make you more attractive to prospective employers.

Step Two: Look for Prospective Employers

Once you have gained work experience, you need to consider where you want to work. Typical employers in this field include:

  • Local authorities
  • Environmental protection agencies (e.g. Environment Agency and Scottish Environment Protection Agency)
  • UK Government departments (e.g. Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
  • Environmental monitoring organisations
  • Environmental consultancies
  • Nature conservation organisations
  • Charitable Trusts (e.g. Natural England and Scottish Natural Heritage)
  • Water companies
  • Waste management companies

Step Three: Understand Your Skills

Environmental science is a diverse field, and not all areas require the same skills or knowledge. It is essential to identify which skills you possess to determine the best area to work in. Here are some of the skills required:

  • A broad understanding of current environmental issues and challenges, locally, nationally, and globally.
  • Knowledge of the impact humans have on the environment.
  • Knowledge of how environmental impacts are managed.
  • Specialist knowledge of geohazards, wildlife management, and sustainable development.
  • Problem-solving and creative thinking
  • Ability to form competent arguments based on scientific, ethical, and philosophical perspectives.
  • Ability to analyse and report on complex environmental data.
  • Strong laboratory skills
  • Great communication skills, both verbally and in writing.
  • Flexibility to work in various environments.
  • Strong numeracy and IT skills
  • Ability to produce and time-manage your workload.

Step Four: Consider Your Next Steps

Environmental science graduates have a range of career options available to them. Some may choose to continue their studies by pursuing postgraduate degrees or specialising in specific areas, such as environmental health. Others may choose to gain an accredited degree or degree apprenticeship to enhance their skill set.

In conclusion, pursuing a career in environmental science can be rewarding and challenging. Gaining work experience, identifying your skills, and choosing the right area of work can help you achieve success in this field.

To learn more about online environmental courses, click here.

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