Environmental Scientist
Careers New Zealand
New Zealand
2d ago

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
  • natural history
  • 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.
  • Working conditions

    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.
  • Entry requirements

    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.

    Secondary education

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

    Personal requirements

    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.
  • Physical requirements

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

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