Environmental career options
Put some green in your wallet while you work to save the planet.
Calling all tree huggers, animal lovers, recycling mavens, compost queens, carpool organizers, water conservers, and light switch-flipper-offers (or whatever you want to call your Earth-saving selves)—we have jobs for you.
Whether you want to save the spotted owl, champion renewable energy, or conserve Earth’s natural resources, green jobs are red hot right now—and these environmental careers are sure to put some green in your wallet, too.
You don’t necessarily have to be the outdoorsy-type to work for the good of the environment—there are jobs that allow you to protect Mother Earth without wading knee-deep in a river or trekking through a jungle.
Using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and PayScale.com, Monster found 12 environmental jobs for people who put our planet first.
Conservation scientist and forester
What you’d do: Conservation scientists and foresters manage the overall land quality of forests, parks, rangelands, and other natural resources. Their duties include protecting wilderness areas, enhancing habitats for animals, facilitating public recreation, and putting out wildfires.
What you’d need: A bachelor’s degree in forestry should qualify you for a position in this field.
What you’d do: Energy auditors work to preserve energy and reduce its usage by inspecting buildings to find and fix leaks to help people use fewer resources.
What you’d need: Certification from the Building Performance Institute (BPI) is required in addition to a high school education.
What it pays: $41,573 per year
What you’d do: Using the principles of engineering, soil science, biology, and chemistry, environmental engineers create solutions to environmental problems—like improvements to recycling, waste disposal, public health, and water and air pollution control.
What you’d need: You’ll need a bachelor’s degree in environmental engineering—or a related field like civil, chemical or general engineering.
What you’d make: $84,560 per year
Find environmental engineer jobs on Monster.
What you’d do: Environmental lawyers are the experts on environmental legislation. Whether it’s advocating for clean technology, water and climate change laws, or management of land, these lawyers always have Mother Earth’s best interests at heart.
What you’d need: You must have a law degree and pass your state’s written bar exam.
What you’d make: $59,785 per year
Find environmental attorney jobs on Monster.
Environment protection technician
What you’d do: The police force for the environment, these technicians monitor the environment and investigate sources of pollution and contamination, and work to prevent violations.
What you’d need: An associate degree is typically all that’s required, but some employers may require a bachelor’s degree.
What you’d make: $43,030 per year
What you’d do: Using knowledge of the natural sciences, environmental scientists protect the environment and human health by cleaning up polluted areas and advising policymakers to make the Earth a safer place.
What you’d need: A bachelor’s degree in natural science or a science-related field should be sufficient to gain entry into this field.
What you’d make: $67,460 per year
Find environmental scientist jobs on Monster.
What you’d do: Using their expertise of water quality and availability, hydrologists study water movement. Their time is generally split between working in the field, where they may find themselves wading into lakes and streams to collect samples, or reading monitoring equipment, and an office, where they use computers to analyze data and model their findings.
What you’d need: While your bachelor’s degree qualifies you for entry-level work, some workers begin their careers with a master’s degree.
What you’d make: $79,550 per year
What you’d do: Landscape architects create designs and prepare models for parks and outdoor spaces.
What you’d need: A bachelor’s degree and internship experience are general starting points. You also must pass the Landscape Architect Registration Exam and get licensed, the requirements of which vary by state.
What it pays: $63,810 per year
Solar photovoltaic installers
What you’d do: Often called PV installers, these workers assemble, install and/or maintain solar panel systems, which are great sources of renewable energy.
What you’d need: Before you can begin work as an installer, you’ll need a high school diploma and either a one-year apprenticeship with your employer or training from a technical school or community college.
What it pays: $37,830 per year
Urban and regional planner
What you’d do: Urban and regional planners decide what goes where. They develop land-use plans and programs to create communities, accommodate population growth, and revitalize buildings.
What you’d need: A master’s degree from an accredited planning program is expected for most positions.
What you’d make: $68,220 per year
Find urban planner/regional planner jobs on Monster.
What you’d do: Wildlife biologists study animals and their behavior to see how they interact with their natural habitats. It’s a jungle—and an ocean, mountain range, desert, et cetera—out there.
What you’d need: A bachelor’s degree is required for entry-level positions, but an advanced degree will help advance your career.
What you’d make: $59,680 per year
Wind turbine technician
What you’d do: Harnessing the power of the wind, it’s a windtech’s job to install, maintain, and repair wind turbines, which are a great source of renewable energy.
What you’d need: You’ll need to attend a technical school and go through training from your employer.
What you’d make: $51,050 per year