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Environmental Manager

Jobs in the environmental compliance field are expected to grow under the Democratic administration, as new regulations and enforcement provisions are likely to be enacted. Concerns over climate change and other environmental problems also are spurring growth of “green” jobs.
While the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook does not specify outlook for environmental managers, it does project growth for environmental engineers and environmental scientists of 25 percent through 2016, much faster than average.
Environmental health and safety managers earned an average base salary of $126,596 in May 2008, according to a survey of 97 companies employing 503 environmental managers conducted by the Foushee Group. Those managers who qualified for bonuses (a slightly smaller group) received average total compensation of $145,915.
By comparison, the average salary for an environmental engineer in 2006 was $70,000-plus, and that of an environmental scientist was $56,100, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Environmental managers coordinate and manage major environmental health and safety projects and programs. This includes environmental auditing for pollution or energy efficiency, hazardous material management and transportation, and real estate environmental assessment. Corporations hire environmental managers to help them develop environmental policy and achieve environmental goals.
The profession includes people with a variety of backgrounds, such as engineers (civil, chemical, and environmental); chemists, biologists, geologists, and environmental scientists; lawyers, financial managers, human resources directors, operations managers; and individuals who received specific training in environmental management.
Communications skills are important for environmental managers, who may need to explain complex environmental rules and regulations to a variety of people within a company in order to achieve goals.
Many colleges and universities today are offering bachelor’s degrees or master’s of science degrees in environmental management, including many online schools. Some bachelor’s degree programs in environmental management are general in nature, while others focus on specific areas within the field, such as waste management.
Master’s degrees tend to allow candidates to specialize in areas of interest. Those lacking master’s degrees who are already working in the field may prefer to pursue online courses of study tailored to their jobs, while maintaining their work schedules.
As in most career areas, the more education you have, the more likely you are to land a higher paying job. Those with master’s degrees and PhD’s will have better opportunities for higher level jobs and higher salaries, though jobs also exist for those with only a bachelor’s degree.
Certification is voluntary. Among available certifications are the Environmental Health and Safety Management Specialist (EHS) from the National Association of Safety Professionals and the Registered Environmental Manager from the National Registry of Environmental Professionals.
Entering the Field:
While in college, pursue research assistantships in environmental work to increase your experience and contacts, and to make you more attractive to companies once you are in the job market.{{ad91}}
Career Changers:
You are more likely to move into a position as an environmental manager if you already have a job within the environmental field, due to its technical nature. For example, an environmental engineer or industrial hygienist with people skills who likes organizing projects may wish to move into environmental management.

If you do not have a job in an environmental field, consider going back to school—which can be done online—to earn a degree or certificate in an environmental subject, such as environmental science or environmental management.


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