Who's an Environmental Scientist?
Pollution and global warming have raised a lot of concern in recent times. We need individuals who are aware and determined to contribute towards a healthy planet. If you want to play a role in fighting environmental damage, then environmental scientist is the right career option for you. An environmental scientist studies the science of natural resources and the impact of human activity on the environment. As an environmental scientist, you’ll conduct scientific research to prevent and solve environmental issues caused by human activities, such as pollution, industrial waste, climate change, public health issues among other major issues.
What will you do?
Developing plans to prevent or fix environmental health concerns.
As an environmental scientist, you will play an important role in developing solutions to minimise environmental issues.
Example: You will look into the findings of pollution caused by industries in water bodies and figure out ways to avoid the damage.
Conducting scientific research and tests.
Your primary job will be conducting scientific research in the field and tests in the lab to gather data on water, air and soil samples.
Example: You will be required to research the rate of climate change and its relationship with natural disasters like wildfires, and also advise governments and businesses on how to tackle it.
Identifying and analysing hazardous material.
You will identify and analyse hazards to the environment or the different living or non-living components of the environment.
Example: You will test contaminated soil samples to find the type, concentration and source of the pollution.
Preparing detailed scientific reports.
You will prepare detailed scientific reports of your research findings to address your management and client queries on potential risk and impact.
For instance, you will be required to write technical papers describing the methods you used to conclude your research.
Coordinating for project activities.
You will coordinate with your team members for project activities to ensure timely completion.
Example: You will guide the staff members to ensure quality control and safety.
Evaluating Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA).
You will be required to evaluate EIAs submitted by industries and governments. EIAs are a collection of official data on the environmental impact of human-led projects.
For instance, you will analyse this data to determine whether a project can be sustained without damaging the environment.
Where will you work?
You will also need to travel extensively to identify, eliminate or reduce hazards and pollutants affecting the environment. Outdoor locations can include forests, landfills, industrial sites, water resources and more. Long working hours are common.
Environmental scientists work for a variety of organisations, including environmental offices, consulting firms, and government agencies, but they are typically expected to work in a laboratory. Here, you would conduct research and tests on air, water, and soil, and work on projects provided by the management. You will examine a variety of other environmental materials as well.
How do you get there?
What skills would you need?
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A logical mind can reason well, and reasoning before reaching any conclusions is very important in any scientific field. You must, therefore, have a scientific bent of mind along with an interest in life sciences.build this skill
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Attention to Detail
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How do you make it to the top ranks?
The colleges in India that offer degrees in environmental science are located in almost every state. You can pursue a B.Sc/M.Sc in Environmental Science from top colleges/universities like Amity University (Kolkata), Savitribai Phule Pune University (Pune), Fergusson College (Pune), Delhi University (Delhi), Ramnarain Ruia College of Science and Arts (Mumbai), B.K. Birla College (Mumbai), etc. For a B.sc in environmental science, admissions in most colleges are based on merit, so scoring well in 10+2 is desirable. M.sc colleges have entrance exams for admissions like JNUEE for Jawaharlal Nehru University, BHU UET for Banaras Hindu University, DUET for Delhi University. The fee for these courses ranges from INR 20,000 to INR 3 lakhs.
Protection of the environment plays an integral role in every business and industrial venture. Under such circumstances, an environmental scientist is highly sought after in various sectors urban planning, corporate firms and agencies, mines and refineries, government PSUs, NGOs, etc.
You can pursue a degree in environmental science from universities like Stanford University (United States), Yale University (United States), Harvard University (United States), University of Oxford (United Kingdom), University of Toronto (Canada), Duke University (United States), among others, who offer undergraduate and postgraduate courses in environmental science. Apart from qualifying exams like TOEFL, IELTS, GRE, SAT, etc., colleges will have different criteria regarding the knowledge of the field. The fee ranges from USD 10,000 to USD 45,000.
In foreign countries, environmental scientists have an immensely vast scope. From consultancy and research to impact assessment and environmental activism, they are paid handsomely in all these fields.
How much would you get paid?
As an Environmental Scientist, your salary broadly depends on the area of your employment, the organisation you’re working with and your experience in the field. The pay scale for this job ranges from INR 20,000 monthly for an entry-level environmental scientist to INR 1 lakh monthly and above for an experienced environmental scientist.
What are your career options?
Environmental Science Educator
As an Environmental Science Educator, you will typically teach courses in environmental science. You will also carry out research and develop educational programmes and resources for students in a school or university. To specialise in this field, you must possess excellent communication and leadership skills.
Environmental consultants are professionals who help public and private industries with analysis and insight on a variety of environmental issues such as waste management, water and air pollution, and soil contamination. This assists the industry in avoiding potential fines and allows the companies to implement sustainable practices in the workplace.
For instance, as an environmental consultant, you will advise your clients on how to better use and dispose of hazardous materials or help them assess the impact of a construction project on the environment.
Marine biology is one of the subsets of environmental science in which you study marine organisms and observe any changes to the bodies of water, such as oceans and wetlands. As a marine biologist, you will conduct research and perform tests on marine inhabits exposed to pollutants or marine hazards. For pursuing this particular profession, you might have to specialise in marine biology at the master’s level.
A wildlife biologist is an expert who studies the behaviour of animals and other wildlife. As a wildlife biologist, you’ll study how each animal interacts with its natural environment and how the environment affects its survival. A deep love of animals and wildlife is required for a career as a wildlife biologist. Apart from this, a major in zoology or wildlife biology from the undergraduate will also help in establishing a career as a wildlife biologist.
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