Top 32 best paying jobs in environmental services

Top 32 best paying jobs in environmental services

Top 32 best paying jobs in environmental services

32 Highest Paying Green Careers

Salaries for green jobs vary depending on the location, but many of the highest-paying positions focus on conservation or environmentalism. In order to find out which cities have the best opportunities for those looking to work in this field, we consulted data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics to compile a list of 32 highest paying green jobs with outlooks and salary information.

1. Environmental Engineer

Environmental engineers play a crucial role in ensuring public health by overseeing policies related to waste and pollution control. They use their skills of critical thinking, analysis, and communication to ensure that standards are met and maintained.

Engineers typically need a bachelor’s degree in an engineering field and some work experience to qualify for a job. They may work in higher-level roles and earn a higher salary if they continue their education with masters or certification. Environmental jobs are some of the many that pay well.

  • Occupational Outlook 2018-2028: 5% 
  • Annual Median Salary: $87,620
  • Typical Entry-level education: Bachelor’s Degree
  • Recommended Degree Program: B.S. in Environmental Science & Climate Change

2. Conservation Scientist

When considering careers in environmentalism, conservation scientists should not be forgotten. They spend a great deal of their time out in the field monitoring forestry and conservation practices to ensure that workers and companies are following regulations. They also establish forest management plans and work to prevent and reduce forest fires.

This field requires a passionate love of nature and the outdoors. Many conservation scientists work for local, state, or federal government organizations. A bachelor’s degree is often required for many specialized jobs in this field, most often in fields such as biology or forestry-related disciplines.

  • Occupational Outlook 2018-2028: 3%
  • Annual Median Salary: $61,340
  • Typical Entry-level Education: Bachelor’s Degree
  • Recommended Degree Program: B.S. in Conservation Biology

3. Urban Planner

Urban planners play an important role in communities of all sizes, from small towns to large metropolitan areas. They work to create plans for land use, including infrastructure such as roads and power lines, as well as parks and other public spaces. In order to effectively communicate with people at all levels of a community’s government, organization, and population, urban planners must have strong communication skills.

Urban planners often work long hours outside of regular business hours to meet with neighborhoods and planning commissions. A degree in urban planning is one of the top green careers in demand, and it is growing much faster than average.

  • Occupational Outlook 2018-2028: 11%
  • Annual Median Salary: $73,050
  • Typical Entry-level Education: Master’s Degree
  • Recommended Degree Program: Master’s in Urban Ecology and Sustainable Planning

4. Environmental Lawyer

Environmental lawyers are responsible for providing counsel to their clients on how a change may impact people or wildlife. They often assess damages from events impacting the environment and gather evidence. Research and negotiation are just a couple of skills lawyers must possess.

After completing a bachelor’s degree in environmental law, aspiring attorneys must continue their education by attending law school. After passing the bar exam, attorneys must then obtain a license from their state to practice. It is advisable for law students to take on an internship or accept a position at a private practice firm before embarking on a career in environmental law. Many careers in this field require several years of experience before taking the bar exam.

  • Occupational Outlook 2018-2028: 6%
  • Annual Median Salary: $120,910
  • Typical Entry-level Education: Juris Doctor (JD)
  • Recommended Degree Program: B.S. in Environmental Justice and Social Change

5. Zoologists

Zoologists study animals in their natural habitats, whether they are in captivity or the wild. They use observations about animal behavior to understand how these creatures live and what aspects of their lives are important. They often spend time outdoors, but also have access to labs and offices where they can analyze specimens and data. It is essential for a zoologist to be patient, enjoy spending time with animals, and have a deep understanding of the biology behind them in order to do their job well.

A bachelor’s degree is typically required for careers in zoology. Jobs in an area with high-level investigative and scientific work often require at least a master’s degree and, in some cases, a Ph.D. A zoologist salary is dependent on the level of experience, type of degree, and job location. In the U.S., the annual median salary is over $60,000; those interested in pursuing a career as a Zoologist will find that this career has growth potential that is growing at an average pace.

  • Occupational Outlook 2018-2028: 5%
  • Annual Median Salary: $63,420
  • Typical Entry-level Education: Bachelor’s Degree
  • Recommended Degree Program: B.S. in Wildlife Biology
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6. Hydrologist

Hydrology is a high-paying environmental field that is seeing increased demand. Hydrologists study the movement of water in addition to water quality, and they regularly evaluate chemical and temperature changes in bodies of water. They also play a key role in keeping our waterways clean and safe.

Hydrologists are responsible for many different roles and responsibilities related to water, such as water testing, flow operations, overseeing educational and outreach programs, and data analysis. They spend a lot of time in the field taking samples.

While many environmental careers require a bachelor’s degree, some seeking a higher ranking role may consider pursuing a master’s. A few important statistics regarding the job outlook for hydrology are listed below.

  • Occupational Outlook 2018-2028: 7%
  • Annual Median Salary: $79,370
  • Typical Entry-level Education: Bachelor’s Degree
  • Recommended Degree Program: B.S. Environmental Science and Climate Change

7. Marine Biologist

A career in marine biology may be one of the best environmental jobs for those interested in analysis and public speaking. Both communication and great attention to detail are vital to the success of a marine biologist, who may work with public and private companies as well as government agencies. Depending on the specific role and skill level they may conduct field activities, work with large quantities of data, or propose new policies or procedures.

Bachelor’s degrees in marine biology are generally accepted by employers, and many professionals in this field continue their education to earn a master’s. The job demand for marine biologists is growing at a steady pace, which can be seen from the data.

  • Occupational Outlook 2018-2028: 5%
  • Annual Median Salary: $63,420
  • Typical Entry-level Education: Bachelor’s Degree

Recommended Degree Program: B.S. in Marine Biology and Sustainable Aquaculture

8. Reservoir Engineer

Salary range: $120,000-$164,500 per year

A reservoir engineer is responsible for optimizing the flow of petroleum oil and gas through reservoirs. You use special tools and equipment to identify and evaluate each reserve, continuously monitor and optimize it during drilling, and analyze the flow mechanics of each reserve to ensure efficiency.

In most cases, reservoir engineers complete work using computer models of reservoirs and frac sites. However, they typically travel to different job sites as needed and work long hours as projects develop.

9. Chief Sustainability Officer

Salary range: $54,500-$152,500 per year

A chief sustainability officer (CSO) is an executive who evaluates the environmental impact of a company and oversees their approach moving forward. The CSO’s responsibilities include ensuring a company meets or exceeds environmental expectations, often by implementing “green” initiatives, while remaining profitable.

10. Environmental Director

Salary range: $60,500-$139,000 per year

An environmental director is responsible for overseeing the environmental performance of an organization. They develop and implement environmental policies and procedures, often working with an Environmental Department to allocate funding towards compliance and sustainability needs. They may provide education or outreach to ensure that everyone within the organization follows proper procedures.

11. Sustainability Engineer

Salary range: $68,000-$117,500 per year

As a sustainability engineer, you work to develop products and systems that meet specific sustainability specifications or certifications, such as the BREEAM standards for sustainable buildings or LEED building certifications. Depending on your industry, your specific responsibilities may include designing low-energy light bulbs or electric vehicles.

Others in the field of civil engineering work on large-scale sustainable projects, such as residential and commercial buildings, public parks, or industrial plants.

12. Environmental Manager

Salary range: $75,000-$108,500 per year

Environmental managers ensure that their organization is in full compliance with all environmental regulations. This includes confirming that all staff members are following the guidelines correctly and ensuring that the programs put in place to comply are being followed. In order to do this, an environmental manager needs a background in health and science as well as knowledge of local laws and regulations concerning air, water, waste, and pollution. They also need strong interpersonal skills so they can effectively communicate these programs to those within the organization.

13. Air Quality Consultant

Salary range: $43,500-$108,000 per year

Air quality consultants are environmental scientists who specialize in monitoring and reporting on airborne pollution levels. They collect samples, measure emissions, and inspect businesses to ensure compliance with state and federal regulations. Air quality consultants may work with other environmental scientists to develop a plan to reduce or control contamination.

As a laboratory analyst, you may specialize in performing specific types of analysis or conducting fieldwork for a consulting firm or government agency. Additionally, you might be responsible for reviewing new construction projects or evaluating potential environmental threats.

14. Environmental Remediation Engineer

Salary range: $74,500-$107,500 per year

An environmental remediation engineer helps remove contaminants from groundwater, surface water, and soil to bring the environment back to its natural state. As an environmental remediation engineer, your job duties include collaborating with other engineers to develop removal plans for various pollutants, visiting spill sites, and overseeing removal and remediation efforts. Your primary responsibilities are to monitor the levels of contaminants and protect the ecosystem, animal habitats, and public health.

15. Environmental Compliance Manager

Salary range: $70,000-$103,000 per year.

As an environmental compliance manager, your primary responsibilities include managing special waste and conducting ecological inspections. You investigate environmental findings and use that information to help interpret the impact of those findings on the environment so that plans can be put into action.

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Your job responsibilities include overseeing regulations, tracking waste programs to ensure they meet legal standards, and ensuring companies and organizations follow the laws in place to protect the environment. You also help develop training programs for employees so they are familiar with required practices.

16. Environmental Protection Specialist

Salary range: $59,000-$98,000 per year.

An environmental protection specialist monitors the quality of our air, water, and soil to ensure they are meeting or exceeding standards set by government. Your job as an environmental protection specialist is to help prevent pollution from happening in the first place, identify where it’s taking place, and teach businesses and landowners how to reduce their emissions.

As a water quality specialist, you are responsible for ensuring compliance with industry or government standards by conducting tests on the water and air quality of land and businesses. After the tests are complete, you produce reports detailing your findings and develop a plan to reduce pollution.

17. Sustainability Manager

Salary range: $75,500-$97,500 per year

A sustainability manager is an individual whose responsibilities include ensuring that organizations meet environmental goals while also maintaining profitability. This involves researching, developing, and implementing policies that improve the organization’s environmental impact without negatively impacting its overall business performance. Additionally, they are responsible for ensuring adherence to all laws and industry regulations.

18. Environmental Program Manager

Salary range: $52,500-$97,000 per year.

The environmental program manager is responsible for planning and developing construction projects at environmental sites or facilities, as well as ensuring compliance with environmental regulations in terms of air quality, clean water, pollution, and waste management. In order to be successful in this role, the manager must have strong leadership skills and be able to work on projects both independently and collaboratively.

Job responsibilities for this career include obtaining permits and necessary documents to comply with federal and state laws, implementing action plans, negotiating costs of supplies, and overseeing employees. Qualifications for this career include having a bachelor’s degree in environmental science or a related field along with experience using computer modeling technology.

19. Environmental Advisor

Salary range: $59,000-$96,500 per year

Environmental advisors help companies meet or exceed their environmental obligations by reviewing company practices and comparing them to current regulations, visiting sites to inspect them, and providing advice on ecological risks posed by new projects. Many of the duties and responsibilities of an environmental advisor require collecting and reporting contamination data, auditing ecological targets, and participating in meetings as necessary.

Environmental advisors typically report to someone who oversees environmental issues. They have regular hours, but may be called in to help respond to environmental incidents.

20. Director of Environmental Services

Salary range: $51,500-$95,000 per year

Your job duties as an environmental services director include overseeing the cleanliness and safety of an organization’s facilities, hiring, training, scheduling, and evaluating staff for your department, researching strategies to improve efficiency and outcomes in your field of work, conducting inspections to make sure the facility meets environmental quality standards.

A career in environmental services requires a bachelor’s degree in facilities management or hospitality management and several years of experience in the field. You also need knowledge of OSHA standards and strong leadership skills.

21. Environmental Economist

Salary range: $42,500-$94,500 per year

Environmental economists research the economic consequences of environmental issues, like pollution or climate change. They may also study sustainable energy solutions and assess the feasibility of environmental management plans.

Environmental economists use statistical analysis and forecasting software to research projects that will meet financial needs while also protecting the environment.

22. Environmental Compliance Engineer

Salary range: $72,500-$94,000 per year

As an environmental compliance engineer, you help ensure that your company or organization complies with environmental protection regulations. You may work as a consultant for a variety of companies or as an in-house compliance engineer for one specific entity.

23. Environmental Permitting Specialist

Salary range: $54,500-$92,000 per year


An environmental permit specialist is responsible for preparing and obtaining permits from local, state, and federal regulatory agencies. In addition to conducting reviews on permit applications and providing regulatory guidance, your duties may include preparing environmental assessment reports, conducting field inspections, and participating in project meetings.

You are a professional communicator who assists clients in gathering information and providing recommendations. You may also serve as the contact point between clients, project teams, and regulatory agencies.


24. Environmental Project Manager

Salary range: $58,500-$86,500 per year

As an environmental project manager, you help to assess the ecological impact of construction projects and recommend ways to reduce it. You also work on waste management and engineering projects, so that these activities can be carried out in a way that does not damage the environment.

Many environmental scientists and project managers have a degree in engineering or construction, which gives them an advantage when applying for jobs. They may also have experience working on larger projects that will help them understand the mechanics of these disciplines.

25. Air Quality Specialist

Salary range: $44,000-$85,000 per year

An air quality specialist is a scientist who tests and analyzes the air quality of a specific environment, such as an industrial plant or municipality. They may also be responsible for enforcing regulations for vehicle emissions or factory pollution in order to maintain acceptable air quality standards. Becoming an air quality specialist typically requires a bachelor’s degree in environmental science, biology, or chemistry.

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The successful air quality specialist will have excellent communication skills, able to work with a variety of people from companies and government officials to make presentations or recommendations based on their findings. They will also need to be able to collect samples and analyze data.

26. Environmental Health and Safety Specialist

Salary range: $56,500-$84,000 per year

As an environmental health and safety specialist, your primary responsibilities are to assess workplaces for compliance with workplace safety standards and environmental regulations. You use specialized equipment to take measurements, provide written documentation of your findings, and make recommendations for improvement.

As a professional in the public sector, you may be involved in creating regulations to ensure compliance with government and international standards.

27. Environmental Compliance Inspector

Salary range: $37,500-$82,000 per year

As an environmental compliance inspector, your job is to assess businesses and organizations to ensure they are in compliance with pollution regulations. During an inspection, you collect samples in the field and look for evidence of pollution or violations of environmental protection laws. Your job may include performing lab work on test samples.

After conducting an investigation, you gather your documentation and evidence to create reports that will be submitted to the relevant regulatory agency. If you find violations, you may need to testify in court or provide explanations about your findings to officials from the regulatory agency.

28. Sustainability Coordinator

Salary range: $47,500-$77,000 per year

The sustainability coordinator supports environmental programs within the company, providing guidance to management and staff on product development and program implementation. Their goal is to help the organization reduce its environmental impact.

You will spend some of your time in an office, but regular travel may be required. You may travel to meet with clients, learn about environmental health, or provide program support.

29. Environmental Engineering Technician

Salary range: $41,500-$77,000 per year

Environmental engineering technicians help implement the plans and technology created by environmental engineers. They use equipment to clean up environmental pollution, perform air quality inspections, and collect soil, air, and water samples for lab analysis.

Environmental engineering technicians typically require a degree in environmental engineering or science, experience working with field instruments, specific industry certifications, and excellent communication skills.

30. Environmental Specialist

Salary range: $41,500-$76,000 per year

As an environmental specialist, you use your knowledge of the environment and population growth to identify environmental impacts from business practices and recommend solutions. To become an environmental specialist, you must have a bachelor’s degree in natural science, as well as a master’s degree in environmental science.

As a new environmental specialist, your job duties will include conducting research and investigating potential violations of clean air, water, and soil regulations. You must have a passion for the environment and strong scientific reasoning skills in order to be successful in this career.

31. Environmental Compliance Specialist

Salary range: $45,000-$76,000 per year

As an environmental compliance specialist, your responsibilities include investigating potential violations and developing compliance programs for a company or organization.

32. Environmental Auditor

Salary range: $40,000-$75,500 per year

Environmental auditors review a company’s compliance with environmental regulations to ensure that the company is adhering to best practices and meeting legal requirements. Auditors may perform a compliance audit, which looks for violations of environmental laws or regulations, or a management performance audit, which evaluates the effectiveness of policies and procedures related to managing environmental risks.

Environmental auditors plan and conduct audits of an organization’s processes and management systems to ensure compliance with environmental regulations. They collect data during site visits and inspections, identify violations of environmental regulations, suggest steps for improvement, and present their findings to business management.

What is the highest salary in environmental science?

An SES-level environmental scientist can earn a top salary of $197,300 as of 2020. The same top pay applies to a select number of specialized scientist positions that are not formally labeled SES but are afforded the same compensation.The Highest Salaries in Environmental Science – Work – › Career Advice › Salary and CompensationAbout Featured Snippets

How can I make a lot of money with an environmental science degree?

Here is our list of the 7 highest paid green jobs with up-to-date outlooks and salary data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.Environmental Engineer. … Conservation Scientist. … Urban Planner. … Environmental Lawyer. … Zoologists. … Hydrologist. … Marine Biologist.Top 7 Highest Paying Environmental Careers – Unity › environmental-careers › top-7-highest-paying-environmental-c…About Featured Snippets

What kind of careers help the environment?

9 great jobs for people who want to save the planetEnvironmental engineers. Keithfrith | Getty Images.Environmental scientists and specialists. … Geoscientists. … Atmospheric scientists and meteorologists. … Biochemists and biophysicists. … Conservation scientists and foresters. … Hydrologists. … Urban and regional planners. … 9 great jobs for people who want to save the planet – › 2017/04/20 › 9-great-jobs-for-people-who-want-to-save-…About Featured Snippets

What is the most eco friendly job?

Consider this list of green jobs, their national average salaries and primary duties to help you make an advantageous career decision:Recycling worker. … Refuse collector. … Agricultural equipment technician. … Environmental technician. … Solar installer. … Wind turbine technician. … Farm manager. … Environmental specialist.20 Green Careers for the Environmentally Conscious | › Career Guide › Finding a jobAbout Featured Snippets

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