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Environmental Scientist

Environmental scientists conduct research to identify, abate, and eliminate hazards that affect people, wildlife, and their environments. These workers analyze measurements or observations of air, food, water, and soil to determine the way to clean and preserve the environment.

Hours: Foresters employed by the Federal Government and the States usually work 40 hours a week, but not always on a standard schedule. In field positions, foresters often work for long blocks of time, working 10 days straight, followed by 4 days off, for example. Overtime may be necessary when working in fire fighting, law enforcement, or natural disaster response.

Opportunities: Conservation scientist jobs are heavily concentrated in government where nearly 3 in 4 are employed. Soil conservationists are employed primarily in the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Natural Resource Conservation Service. Most range managers work in the USDA's Forest Service, the U.S. Department of the Interior's Bureau of Land Management, and the Natural Resource Conservation Service. A small number are self-employed and others work for nonprofit organizations or in consulting firms.   The Federal Government and some State governments expect a large number of workers to retire over the next decade. This is likely to create a large number of job openings for foresters and conservation scientists in government despite the projection for slower than average growth of this occupation in all State, local, and Federal governments combined.

Pay: Median annual earnings of conservation scientists in May 2006 were $54,970. The middle 50 percent earned between $40,950 and $68,460. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $29,860, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $80,260.

Training: Most forester and conservation scientist jobs require a bachelor's degree. Research and teaching positions usually need a graduate degree.


Suggested citation: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2008-09 Edition, Conservation Scientists and Foresters, on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos048.htm (visited July 22, 2009 ).

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