Pay for environmental scientists varies depending on experience and where they work.
Environmental scientists usually earn between $49,000 and $85,000 a year, with an average of $64,000.
Environmental scientists with a postdoctoral degree who work at research institutes can earn from $65,000 to $130,000.
Sources : Payscale.com, 2017; and Environmental Protection Authority, 2017.
This information is a guide only. )
What you will do
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.
Skills and knowledge
Environmental scientists need to have knowledge of :
the environment, including excellent knowledge of at least one area of environmental science such as water, soil or air quality
ecosystems and the interaction between species
the Resource Management Act, and understand the effects commercial development may have on the environment
the Environmental Effects Act 2012
practical skills for performing experiments and operating scientific equipment
research skills, and ability to analyse research results
maths and computer skills.
Environmental scientists :
usually work regular business hours, but may be required to work weekends and evenings to meet deadlines
usually work in offices, but may work outdoors when collecting samples or visiting sites
may travel nationally and overseas to work on projects.
To become an environmental scientist you usually need to have a Master's degree in one of the following areas, depending on your specialisation :
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 discipline such as earth science.
A PhD is usually required for research-based positions.
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 need to be :
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 for environmental scientists includes :
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
being a member of an environmental interest or community group
completing a summer placement at a regional or city council.
Environmental scientists need to be reasonably fit and healthy to make field trips or site visits.