Environmental Scientist

In this career guide, you’ll learn everything you need to know about environmental science as a career, from roles and responsibilities, to work environment and roadmap to becoming a Environmental Scientist.

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?

This stream won’t help you make an entry into this field.

This stream won’t help you make an entry into this field.

Step 1: Class XI/XII

Opt for science in high school with Biology, Chemistry and Physics as your core subjects.

Step 2: Graduation

Opt for a Bachelor of Science (B.Sc) in Environmental Science to pursue a career as an environmental scientist. Many reputed colleges offer this course and consider admissions on a merit basis. Some colleges might require you to take college-specific entrance exams.

Step 3: Post-graduation

A Master’s degree in environmental science will open up new career options like Environmental Consultant, Wildlife Biologist, Environmental Geologist, Environmental Health and Safety Officer, etc. You can opt from different courses at the postgraduate level, like MSc in Environmental Science, MSc in Environmental Science & Technology, MSc in Earth Science, MSc in Global Warming Reduction, MSc in Sustainable Development, PG Diploma in Environmental Impact Assessment and Auditing, etc.

After completing your Master’s, go for a doctoral programme (PhD.) within the field of environmental sciences. This will help you achieve management roles in the field.

Step 4: Internship

After completing your Master’s, you can go for an internship. It is the best way to get a hang of how the real world works and will also help you make an impact at an early stage in your career. You can intern at government organisations like National Centre for Earth Science Studies, Centre for Environment Education (CEE) or at reputed private organisations like Greenpeace, Paryavaran Mitra, Centre for Science and Environment, etc. You can also choose to intern under a certified environmental scientist.

Step 5: Land a job

You can now pursue your dream career with a fantastic set of scientific abilities.

Congratulations, you are now officially an environmental scientist!

What skills would you need?

Technical Skills

Technical Skills

As a marketer, you will work on different platforms to communicate with people. If you don’t understand how they work, you won’t be able to come up with the best strategy. You will also use various kinds of software like Google Adwords, MailChimp, SurveyMonkey, etc., during your promotions. You need to know how they work, and how to use them to your advantage.

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You need to perform research on the eggs, sperms and embryos you obtain from the patient. This will involve some long hours of research.

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Scientific Skills

Scientific Skills

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.

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Communication Skills

Communication Skills

It’s harder than ever to get people’s attention, what with so much information being thrown at them. But, people cannot resist a good story. Every good marketing campaign has a story to tell their customers and relate to them on an emotional level. Marketers who tell great stories through their marketing campaigns are always in great demand.

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Attention to Detail

Attention to Detail

Working with eggs and embryos is a very tedious task. Every little detail matters when you are observing them. If you are good at giving attention to detail, then your job at the laboratory will be made much easier.

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Critical thinking

Critical thinking

Marketing strategies involve a lot of trial and error. You will come up with a lot of ideas that sound great on paper. When you analyse them, you might learn that they can’t be executed as per the budget. You should be able to look at an idea practically and see if it will serve its purpose.

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Problem-solving Skills

Problem-solving Skills

Patients will be coming to you with different issues with fertility. You must be able to assess their problem, analyse the reason and work on coming up with a solution.

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How do you make it to the top ranks?


You can work under the supervision of a reputed environmental scientist in an organisation or private laboratory to strengthen your abilities for a successful career in the field.

Junior Environmental Scientist

You can start your career as a junior or assistant scientist after obtaining the necessary qualifications. Your major role would be to contribute to the research and assist the senior environmental scientist in carrying out projects.

Mid-level Environmental Scientist

After attaining the necessary knowledge, you can secure the position of a research scientist. As a research scientist, you’ll be responsible for doing research and supervising junior scientists.

Senior Environmental Scientist / Researcher

After 8-10 years of experience, you may be promoted to the position of a senior environmental scientist. As a senior environmental scientist, you’ll have more duties, such as lab administration, and monitoring and supervising your team’s performance.


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 Consultant

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 Biologist

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.

Wildlife Biologist

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.


Think you know everything there is to know about this career?

Take the quiz to test your knowledge and find out how #CareerReady you are!



1. What do Environmental Scientists do?

2. Which of these soft skills is required to be an environmental scientist?

3. Which of these courses is ideal for pursuing a career in environmental science?

4. Which of these is NOT an ideal place for an environmental science internship?

5. What does a junior environmental scientist do?

6. Which of these is NOT a career option in environmental science?

7. What can you specialise in as a student of environmental science?

8. Which of these is NOT a functional skill required in environmental scientist?

9. Which of these is a work environment of an environmental scientist?

10. Which is the best way to get experience while pursuing environmental science as a career?


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