Many environmental scientists protect the environment through jobs in solid waste management, hazardous waste management, air quality management, or water quality management. Their understanding of biology, chemistry, and physics helps them assess environmental quality and find ways to protect air, water, and land.
Environmental scientists work for departments of natural resources, departments of environmental protection, and federal agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency. Private environmental consulting firms, environmental laboratories, and corporations which discharge waste in the air, in water, or on land also hire environmental scientists to monitor discharges, assess environmental quality, and assure compliance with state and federal laws regulating pollution.
To be an environmental scientist, you need a bachelor's degree. You can major in soil science, water resources, or meteorology. Some universities offer more specific majors, like groundwater management, water chemistry, air resources, and water and wastewater treatment. All majors include courses in chemistry and biology. Other courses you take vary with your major. Examples include: solid and hazardous waste management, development of environmental impact statements, water chemistry and analysis, pollution ecology, hydrogeology, and advanced techniques in environmental analysis. Often environmental scientists earn graduate degrees.
In high school, take mathematics, biology, chemistry, physics, and computer science. English courses are also important.
-- Richard Wilke, University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point