3 Hot environmental jobs & how to get them

Why simply stop at a list of “hot” environmental jobs? To provide better career insights for environmental professionals, here’s a snapshot of what 3 popular jobs in this sector actually involve.

Post by: Angie Knowles, ECO Canada

One of my favourite sections in our Profile of Canadian Environmental Employment series is the description of which environmental jobs are in the highest demand.
For transitioning professionals, new professionals, and students, the information is essential. So much of successful career preparation and professional development depends on an awareness of which occupations employers are experiencing current shortages in or are planning to hire a large number of workers for.

However, why simply stop at a list of these “hot” jobs? It is one thing to know which occupations are in the greatest demand—what about what they actually involve? Details on specific job duties, educational requirements and typical places of employment are also critical for professionals to determine if a prospective career path is both viable and a good fit.

Accordingly, here’s a snapshot of 3 popular jobs in the environmental sector, with important insights into what workers typically do, the education they need, and where they work:

Environmental Engineers:

What Do They Do?

In the 2010 Profile of Canadian Environmental Employment, this is one of the jobs that employers anticipated the greatest demand for workers. Overall, environmental engineers plan, design and supervise a variety of industrial components and processes, based on this career profile. They may choose to specialize in areas such as air/water quality or solid/hazardous waste management, and are often involved in regulatory procedures that review whether facilities are in compliance with environmental policies and regulations.

A few common activities include monitoring sites and procedures to confirm that company operations comply with environmental regulations, designing waste-treatment and pollution control plans, and evaluating current systems to improve performance and incorporate innovations or new technologies to support environmental protection. Environmental engineers may also recommend procedures to clean up contaminated sites, design cost-effective site remediation strategies, and write and/or evaluate environmental impact statements.

What Education Do They Need?

For the most part, environmental engineers require at least a university undergraduate degree, with many pursuing applicable programs in environmental engineering, civil engineering or chemical engineering. In order to work as an environmental engineer, professionals also need to register as Professional engineers with their provincial association.

Where Do They Work?

Environmental engineers are frequently employed by engineering consulting firms, government departments, post-secondary and research institutions, and property management companies.

Environmental Technicians/Technologists:

What Do They Do?

Environmental technicians/technologists draw on broad scientific knowledge and technical skills to work on projects that assess, clean up and protect the environment. They may be involved in field inspections and investigations of contamination, monitoring compliance with government environmental regulations, and operating pollution control or treatment equipment.

Typical job activities for environmental technicians/technologists can include gathering air, water and soil samples and performing tests to measure environmental conditions, reviewing applications for environmental permits or certification, and implementing quality control and assurance protocols for testing materials.

What Education Do They Need?
Usually, the minimum educational requirement for environmental technicians/technologists is a college technical diploma. Conventional post-secondary programs for this field include environmental technology, environmental science, environmental engineering technology, or environmental protection. Additionally, most environmental technicians/technologists are required to complete the applicable certification of their provincial professional association.
Where Do They Work?
Environmental technicians/technologists are often employed by environmental and engineering consulting firms, government departments, post-secondary or research institutions, municipal and industrial treatment facilities, or not-for-profit/non-governmental agencies. A number of these professionals also work as self-employed consultants.

Environmental Managers:

What Do They Do?
Environmental managers represent a key category in ECO Canada’s sector model of National Occupational Standards (NOS). They rely on a broad understanding of environmental issues, along with specific project development and management expertise, to oversee projects that reduce environmental impact. Environmental managers are often involved in environmental awareness, sustainable development and public consultation programs. They are also frequently responsible for training personnel on environmental issues and regulatory compliance.

A sample of job duties for environmental managers might consist of coordinating public hearings and consultations on environmental issues, ensuring compliance with legislation, operating approvals and Environmental Management Systems Certification, and developing pollution control, pollution prevention and recycling programs.

What Education Do They Need?

In most cases, environmental managers complete a university graduate degree. Many professionals in this occupation pursue educational programs in environmental management, environmental policy, natural resource policy, or natural science.

Where Do They Work?

A number of different organizations employ environmental managers, such as government departments, land-use and conservation agencies, environmental consulting companies, not-for-profits/NGOs and industries related to manufacturing, forestry, oil and gas, and mining.

Finding a great job that is both in-demand and aligned with your interests is challenging, but also incredibly important.

What would your dream environmental job look like?

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