Environmental scientists measure and record features of the environment and study, assess and develop methods of controlling or minimising the harmful effects of human activity on the environment.
To become an environmental scientist you usually have to complete a degree in environmental science, science or applied science with a major in environmental science, natural resource management, geography, marine science or a related field. To get into these courses you usually need to gain your Senior Secondary Certificate of Education. Prerequisite subjects, or assumed knowledge, in one or more of English, mathematics, biology, chemistry, physics, and earth and environmental science are normally required. Most universities in Australia offer degrees in these areas. Universities have different prerequisites and some have flexible entry requirements or offer external study. Contact the institutions you are interested in for more information. For full details, refer to the entries on the website at www.goodcareersguide.com.au or university handbooks.
Environmental scientists may perform the following tasks:
Environmental scientists usually work with a range of other professional and technical staff. The amount of indoor and outdoor work they do depends on the individual job.
Environmental scientists may be employed by federal, state and territory government departments; statutory authorities; and local councils. They may also find employment with engineering and environmental consultants or in areas such as the minerals and energy industries or climate change research. In recent years, national landcare initiatives have led to the creation of new positions for environmental scientists within state and territory agriculture departments. There are also opportunities for self-employment as consultants, as well as in secondary and tertiary teaching. Some employers have indicated a preference for environmental scientists who have at least four years of training.
An ecologist studies the relationship between the environment and the organisms and actions that affect and are affected by it, including animal and plant life, weather patterns and human activity such as agriculture, urban development and pollution.
An environmental officer ensures that businesses and organisations pursue sound management practices that support plant and animal life.