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Prev.: Environmental Studies Jobs in Education and Academics

That slippery substance, petroleum, moves our world. Without a sustained flow of processed petroleum, what we call gasoline, people and economies literally come to a grinding halt. The use of petrochemicals, including plastics, shapes the quality of life for residents of nearly every nation, including the United States and Canada.

When the world’s petroleum reserves are depleted—and some scientists estimate that date to be approximately 2040— life on earth will drastically change; or, what is more likely, we will be relying on other energy and chemical resources. We are acutely aware that this resource is becoming scarcer in 2007 as gasoline prices continue to rise. Many economists have suggested that we have already reached the peak of petroleum production.

Natural Resources

Resources, as used in this book, are materials that humans draw on to meet their needs and wants for living. This is a purposefully very broad definition. As we explore the topic of resources, we must examine several factors, including availability, distribution, renewability, and strategic value, in order to gain a reasonable understanding of the situation.

Scarcity and Geographic Distribution

Some resources such as water, air, soil, and plant life are, generally speaking, readily available across the surface of the earth. Most other resources are found below the surface of the earth, so availability is affected by the distribution that has been created by natural processes. Geology, rather than political boundaries, governs the occurrence of minerals. For example, gold, silver, antimony, and copper have small raw supplies because they occur in association with relatively scarce igneous and metamorphic rocks. However, limestone, which is used in fertilizers, concrete and cement, and steelmaking, is in relatively large supply. It is associated with ancient deposition in vast ocean basins.

Renewable Versus Non renewable Resources

Some resources are renewable, while others are not. Much of the world’s timber supply is grown on tree farms and most of the shrimp and salmon that we consume are farm raised, and thus, renewable. Resources such as coal, natural gas, and petroleum are nonrenewable because current supplies can and will be exhausted.

Strategic Value

A resource having strategic value is one that is necessary to our modern economy. A number of resources that are classified as strategic by the U.S. government do not naturally occur within its political boundaries. Cobalt, chromium, manganese, and platinum, which are essential in the U.S. metallurgical and electronics industries, are distributed irregularly across the earth and tend to be concentrated in what are now politically unstable nations. Others, such as iron, petroleum, and coal, are available within the United States, but they require considerable effort to extract and process.

A Career Characterized by Complex Interacting Variables

In 1971, Barry Commoner, who has been advocating, researching, and publishing about the environment for more than three decades, wrote Laws of Ecology. He described three tenets in this publication. First, he suggested that an intrusion into nature will have multiple effects, many of which will be unpredictable. Let’s use the example of clear-cutting a mountain slope in the Pacific Northwest. Some of the effects might be increased and more rapid runoff, which will lead to accelerated erosion. Eroded sediments then make their way into stream courses, negatively impacting trout and salmon food supplies and leading to reproductive failure. Fewer fish, in turn, leads to fewer opportunities for fishermen. Fewer fishermen translates to an economic impact on a community as motel reservations decrease, fewer meals are consumed in restaurants, and the need for guide services declines. All together, these changes adversely affect tax revenues.

Professionals in the field of environmental policy, planning, and management have to be able to plan for, detect, and mitigate the effects of all kinds of environmental intrusions. Many of the implications of activities, such as logging and mining, are well known to scientists. But other issues, such as the environmental implications of global warming, are just beginning to be understood.

Commoner’s second tenet is that people and nature are tightly bound. Changes in the natural environment impact society, and society, in turn, impacts nature. Humans and nature are inextricably linked. There is no better example of this link than global warming. Beginning in the latter half of the nineteenth century, human activity set a temperature increase in motion. Enormous quantities of fossil fuels were burned to support industrialized society. Earth’s mean temperatures are expected to continue to rise, as are green house gas concentrations, including carbon dioxide. Now we must deal with the changes this temperature increase has wrought in the earth’s terrestrial, atmospheric, biotic, and hydrologic subsystems.

Commoner’s third tenet states that by-products of human activities must be monitored to assure that negative impacts are minimized. Nearly every thing that we do results in waste. A quick road trip to the minimart leads to carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide emissions. The car we drive requires the extraction of petroleum for the fuel and lubricants. This petroleum refining has its own associated wastes. Additionally, iron and limestone are mined to create steel to build the car. The resulting mines leave deep scars on the face of the earth and create areas that have no further use. We must be very careful to be as efficient as possible in using natural resources.

It is important that we undertake a full complement of actions given the strategic importance of and competition among all of the world economies for nonrenewable resources. Trained professionals are needed to develop polkies, implement plans, and carefully manage current supplies of resources. Still more professionals are needed to undertake similar activities as a viable range of sustainable alternate resources and strategies are identified and put in place.

Environmental Policy, Planning, and Management: Definition of the Career Path

This career path involves the development and interpretation of natural resource policy, planning, and management (including development, conservation, and preservation) of the materials that humans need and want to sustain life. There is a focus on the interrelationships of people with earth systems, such as air, water, biota, soil, and landforms. This work ii centered in the social sciences, but it demands a working knowledge of some combination of biology, chemistry, geography, geology, hydrology, conservation, and other subjects. Without a foundation in the sciences, it is impossible to understand human impacts on the environment and environmental impacts on humans.

Environmental policy, planning, and management are highly integrative subfields of environmental studies. People trained to work in this career path deal with the interface of the natural and social sciences. They, therefore, must understand and accommodate various perspectives on an issue, including science, policy development and interpretation, and management.

Environmental Policy

Environmental policy work involves the formulation of rules by which organizations must operate. The Environmental Protection Agency website ( suggests that you might be interested in a policy development career if you have a background in the social sciences with negotiation skills and risk assessment. You would also, by necessity, possess a solid foundation in the natural sciences so that you can understand the complexity of the scientific matters addressed in the policies. Although you have to understand the science behind the issues and problems, you are not involved with field data gathering, lab analyses, and interpretation.

Environmental Planning

Environmental planning is the interpretation of policies and the formulation of plans that adhere to the policies. Environmental planners consider the allocation and use of resources in a manner that is consistent with fundamentally sound environmental practice. It is the planner’s job to work with the landscape in light of the rules established by policy developers. Environmental planning involves a wide variety of issues, including land use and development, wetlands preservation, watershed protection, environmental quality, sustainability, and toxic waste disposal, just to name a few.

Environmental Management

Environmental management is the ongoing execution of environmental plans. It stresses stewardship of the landscape and its resources, emphasizing ecology and social issues. It involves control over the processes of development with sustainability as a principal goal. Environmental managers seek to attain a balance between natural resource use and preservation. They identify goals for resource development, balance those with conservation, and then initiate and implement the means to achieve these goals. These activities can be intertwined, and sometimes all three of these tasks are completed by individuals working at planning agencies, in environmental law firms, or at non profit advocacy organizations.

Job Postings in this Career Path

Let’s examine some actual recent job postings that fit within this career path. Then we’ll summarize the common threads that run throughout jobs in this career path.

Environmental Planner. A growing employee-owned consulting firm specializing in environmental regulatory compliance, natural resource management, cultural resource management, and related research is actively seeking an entry-level environmental planner. Successful candidate will serve on a variety of natural resource management, recreation management, and conservation planning projects. Candidate will also assist on projects including budgets, technical staff, and reports related to Clean Water Act Permitting, and NEPA compliance documents, particularly environmental assessments and environmental impact statements. Expertise in BLM planning, water resource planning/permitting, biology/ecology, geology/soils, and /or other natural resource disciplines required. Qualifications include bachelor’s degree in environmental planning, environmental science, biology, or related field and 1 - 2 years’ experience related to resource management planning and preparing NEPA documents. Send application materials to:

Natural Resources Planner. A growing environmental and natural resource planning and consulting firm actively seeking natural resources planner. Position focuses on a variety of projects including riparian habitat restoration planning, wildfire planning, watershed planning, and NEPA compliance; position may also require ability to complete data collection, coordination of field efforts, report writing, and other biological and environmental planning tasks as needed. Successful candidate will assist in writing and developing complex natural resources planning and management documents, including riparian habitat restoration, wildfire, and watershed monitoring. Minimum of a bachelor’s degree in biology, ecology, natural resource management, or related field, with two years’ experience in natural resource planning, including NEPA, watershed management, habitat restoration, or wildfire planning is required. Candidates must have experience in writing environmental reports. Apply online.

Policy, planning, and management positions also deal with legislation that will ensure protection against overexploitation of the natural environment. The development of new legislation requires research by technically oriented professionals who understand the effects of such regulations and who can determine cost benefits and risks. Training in statistics, economics, land- use law, and risk analysis is important in dealing with legislative matters.

State Public Interest Research Groups (PIRG) advocate for consumer welfare and the environment in a number of ways. One is by educating the public about related issues, such as in the example “Global Warming Advocate.” The education process might include sponsoring forums, organizing rallies, distribution of literature, and lobbying public officials.

Global Warming Advocate. The global warming advocate will be responsible for campaign strategy and coordination, development, and implementation of strategies and tactics needed to build political support for our work. Additional duties include lobbying, testifying at legislative and administrative hearings, coalition building, and research. Qualified applicants have strong commitment to public interest issues; excellent verbal, writing, and analytical skills; ability to debate and speak persuasively in a charged atmosphere; enthusiasm for the work; and an interest in taking on more responsibility for campaigns, programs, and organizational development over time.

Watershed Leadership Coordinator. This state organization seeks watershed leadership coordinator to provide leadership and support services to state’s network of local watershed conservation organizations. Major focus areas include implementing organization’s strategic focus on improving local protections for rivers, establishing and maintaining relations with state’s existing watershed organizations, developing programs to assist citizens with formation of new river and watershed organizations, and identifying and fulfilling training needs. Successful candidate will be expected to organize campaign planning, facilitate meetings, develop outreach, and be involved with fund-raising. Technical duties include issues impacting state rivers, water policy, and remediation of water courses. Qualifications include enthusiasm, passion, and knowledge for protecting and restoring state’s rivers, superior verbal and written communication skills, and a bachelor’s or graduate degree in nonprofit management, ecology, natural resources management, public administration, or a related field. Send letter and résumé.

Conservation Coordinator. The conservation coordinator furthers strategic goals for the Black Hills area and is responsible for implementation of comprehensive program to protect natural communities and species and address critical threats to natural systems in the Black Hills area. This position will coordinate community outreach programs, engaging the local community in efforts to promote conservation ethic within the project area. The coordinator will prioritize and implement monitoring and stewardship activities, complete ecological assessments of potential conservation sites, work with a conservation team, and may supervise staff or volunteers. Bachelor’s degree required in science-related field (biology, ecology, natural resource management). Additionally, experience in working with or knowledge of natural systems and the ability to recognize plant and animal species and familiarity with flora, fauna, geology, and resource management issues essential. Excellent written and verbal communication skills essential. Visit website to apply.

These positions require a range of skills. A solid understanding of scientific principles, knowing how to analyze and integrate sometimes apparently conflicting data, learning how to negotiate, experience working on a team, being able to write clearly, and feeling comfortable speaking in public set tings are common threads running throughout the examples presented above.

Working Conditions

By nature, many of the positions that fall under environmental policy, planning, and management are office jobs that involve working with similarly trained individuals. The importance of teamwork and effective communication can't be overemphasized. Positions often require at least some travel—a bit of fieldwork or at least field visits—but most of the tasks will be completed indoors.

You might work for a government agency, a nonprofit, a planning agency, or an environmental consulting firm. Sometimes environmental policy analysts, planners, and managers are required to attend public hearings or meetings that take place during evening hours or on weekends. Deadlines are often associated with the documentation required of this work, so you may feel the pressure of either having to work overtime to prepare paperwork or, if you’re working on the regulatory side, facing piles of paperwork immediately following the passage of a deadline. and interest groups often place pressure on individuals working in this field as efforts that are in conflict with their missions move through the planning process.

If you are excited about the prospect of advocating for the environment, doing research, developing planning and assessment documents, and man aging projects and personnel, then this career path is just right for you.

Training and Qualifications

The environmental policy, planning, and management career path encompasses a variety of jobs, and there is a corresponding variety in the training and qualifications required for these three activities. A minimum of a bachelor’s degree is required. Review the job postings presented throughout this chapter and you’ll find that quite a variety of degrees are acceptable. Your training should have included classes in effective communication, both writ ten and verbal presentation. Courses in business negotiation, risk analysis, urban planning, business management, and policy analysis and development are all skills that will prove valuable as you advance in your career.

Environmental Policy

More specifically, classes that might prove especially valuable for someone interested in the policy analysis and development aspects of environmental studies include a substantial mix of regional, community, environmental, and urban planning; economics; public administration; public policy analysis; land-use law; argumentation and debate; and philosophy courses, such as logic and ethics. Some combination of these classes will provide a solid foundation for careers in environmental policy. The two job descriptions shown below highlight this.

Regulatory and Environmental Specialist. A nationally recognized licensing and environmental consulting firm specializing in hydroelectric energy development seeks highly motivated, self-directed applicants for environmental and regulatory consulting on conventional hydroelectric and ocean power projects in Pacific Northwest. We assist clients with project management, strategy development, outreach and consultation processes, technical work group support, management of technical consultants, license and permit application, NEPA document preparation, and negotiated settlement efforts. Successful applicant will have excellent writing skills, including ability to synthesize wide variety of scientific, technical, and policy information and develop clear, will-organized written descriptions of information for broad audiences. Competence in editing of technical reports as well as general business communications (e-mail communications and letter writing) and providing meeting management, note taking, and other logistical support for work groups is also required. Successful applicant will also have excellent verbal communication skills, will work effectively both as part of a team and independently, will have good problem-solving skills, and will demonstrate ability to successfully balance multiple tasks in a deadline-driven work environment. Mail résumé and letter.

Research Assistant. This exciting position will support an Ocean Commission Initiative and requires someone with interest in research, writing, and additional project support related to national and regional ocean governance, fisheries management, appropriations, and other topics related to ocean and coastal policy. Tasks include preparation of reports, testimony, meeting summaries, and other materials. Successful candidate will be self- starter with exceptionally strong written and verbal communication skills, high level of organization, ability to excel in a team environment, and ability to juggle multiple deadlines simultaneously. This is an entry-level position. A recent undergraduate with a bachelor’s degree from a relevant program (marine or environmental science or policy) with demonstrated understanding of the dynamic relationship between science and policy is preferred. A high degree of proficiency with word-processing software, spreadsheets, Internet use, and electronic communications is a must. Online applications only.

Community Organizer and Membership Coordinator. A state wilderness coalition seeks full-time wilderness coalition community organizer to help fulfill its mission to permanently protect and restore wilderness and other wild-lands and waters in state. The community organizer will conduct outreach activities and build support for wilderness and wild places among key stakeholders and interested individuals. Community organizer will work to ensure that appropriate stakeholders such as elected officials, sportsmen, developers, and business owners are educated about wilderness with the goal of procuring support for protection of state’s spectacular wild-lands. Qualifications include bachelors or master’s degree in a related field. Strong grassroots organizing experience and working knowledge of political campaigns, wilderness designation, and public lands management is desired. Excellent oral and written communication skills are required. Strong environmental ethic and interest in nature and being outdoors are essential. Mail cover letter and résumé.

Environmental Planning

Specialists in environmental planning should also develop a foundation of courses in the sciences, then build onto that a selection of courses such as urban, regional, community, and environmental planning; resource conservation; environmental biology; freshwater ecology; hydrology; conservation economics; geographic information systems; aerial photograph interpretation; remote sensing; landscape architecture; horticulture; soil science; natural hazards; and environmental geology. It is obvious that if you were to take classes in all of these areas of study, it would require about seven years to obtain a bachelor’s degree. Instead, highlight the core of relevant courses you have completed and indicate a willingness to continue learning whatever is needed. The following job postings show that you can bring a core of basic skills to the employment arena and build new skills on the job.

Junior-Level Environmental Planner. Consulting firm’s western office seeking junior planner (0—3 years’ experience) for environmental planning and interdisciplinary NEPA compliance projects. Bachelor’s in planning, geography, landscape architecture, or related field required. Previous project management experience, NEPA documentation, and coordination with federal land management agencies in the western U.S. preferred. Salary negotiable based on experience. Firm offers employees comprehensive benefits package, including paid vacation/holidays; health, dental, and vision care plans; life insurance; and 401K with employer-matched contributions for eligible employees.

Environmental Planner. Dynamic California environmental consulting firm seeks Environmental Planner for any of our 6 offices. Experience working with CEQA and NEPA preferred. Experience writing CEQA analysis preferred. Excellent written and oral communication skills and computer literacy are required. Team orientation. B.A. or higher with course work in a related field required. Salary commensurate with experience. Full benefit package including medical, dental, vision, and 401(k) plan. Positive work environment. EOE. Visit our website at.

Environmental Planner. Engineering, architecture, and related services firm is looking to add an Environmental Planner to new Transportation Programs unit. Primary responsibilities include: researching, collecting, and analyzing data to determine possible environmental impacts of proposed transportation or construction projects on the environment, animal behavior, public use, and social patterns; drafting documents to provide information on proposed projects and ongoing activities to regulate agencies; demonstrating compliance with laws, regulations, and mandated mitigation measures; identifying permits required for project and permitting agencies involved; coordinating permitting process including public notices and hearings; negotiating permit requirements and mitigation measures to provide the most economic methods of ensuring environmental protection; monitoring construction activities for compliance with permit requirements. Bachelor’s degree from accredited college in an environmental, physical, biological, or natural science; engineering; planning; or natural resources. One year of professional experience preferred. Will need good MS Office skills for report writing. Any NEPA experience considered a plus. Apply online at.

Environmental Management

Environmental management involves the implementation of plans that are based on policies. Therefore, it is imperative for people working in this area to have the usual scientific foundation, but added to that would be a strong layer of business classes that might include organizational communications and behavior, management science, business law, land-use law, and public relations. Planning, conservation, and public policy are also valuable courses that will prepare you for this endeavor.

Environmental Analyst. An environmental consulting firm is looking for a highly skilled and motivated analyst. The successful applicant will perform quantitative analysis of environmental cleanup programs, evaluation and development of remediation strategies, and decision analysis reflecting costs. Qualifications include a bachelor’s degree from a major university, preferably in finance, business, engineering, or environmental science; experience using Microsoft Excel, PowerPoint, and all MS Office applications; excellent writing, communication, and organizational skills; and a strong passion for environmental issues.


Current salary offerings for positions in environmental policy, planning, and management represent quite a range. Public Interest Research Group jobs showed starting salaries in the $20,000 to $23,000 range. Other nonprofit environmental research groups started their workers in the $27,500 to $30,000 range. Those workers earning the highest salaries were employed in private industry. Some entry-level positions in the energy industry started at $35,750. As with nearly every type of job, there will be some salary variation by region. Be sure to undertake the activities outlined in Chapter 1, The Self-Assessment, to determine the salary you want to earn as you enter the job market, and then begin exploring salaries for the specific kinds of positions that interest you.

Career Outlook

Most of the various types of positions described in this chapter are expected to grow as fast as the average, according to the Occupational Outlook Hand book, although individuals working for consulting firms are expected to have more opportunities open to them. Competition will be keen for all positions given the current interest in environmental issues. Many job listings indicated that a master’s degree would be preferred, so if you are interested in attending graduate school, know that you will be more attractive as an employee and able to command a higher salary.

Strategy for Finding the Job

There are five specific activities you can undertake to be in the running for the jobs that interest you. They include developing a solid understanding of environmental programs, laws, and issues; gaining writing and public presentation experience; knowing how to use word-processing and database software to create reports; honing your analytical skills; and learning basics about fund-raising. Here are specific tips on developing and improving these skills.

Develop a Solid Understanding of Environmental Programs, Laws, and Issues

Throughout your years of study you undertook class readings that informed you about environmental issues directly related to the topics you studied. You’ll want to expand your knowledge of the range of current environmental issues, the laws and regulations associated with those issues, and environmental programs that have been developed to address them. The association list at the end of this chapter highlights some publications that may be held by your college library. Some are available online. From the Journal of the American Planning Association to the National Association of Environmental Professionals’ Environmental Practice, begin a reading program now and draw on your expanded knowledge as you write cover letters, create an effective résumé, and interview for environmental policy, planning, and management positions.

Another option is to gain experience by volunteering. AmeriCorps will take volunteers with no experience and assign them to relevant work situations. Some of these assignments are in the environmental sciences. One position recently advertised was with their Watershed Stewards Project. It is a comprehensive, community-based watershed education and restoration pro gram whose mission is to conserve and restore anadromous watersheds. The salaries are low but credit is given toward tuition; awards will vary depending on the length of service. The educational awards could be applied to tuition for graduate school or even for completion of a bachelor’s degree if the volunteer program were completed prior to graduation. This is a great way to apply skills that you developed in school and gain on-the-job experience at the same time.

Gain Writing and Public Presentation Experience

Each of the job descriptions shown in this chapter lists either writing or presentation duties, or some combination of the two. One job calls for writing proposals, creating policy briefs, interacting with the community, and facilitating workshops. Another wants a professional who can use excellent writing skills to prepare reports. Yet another position needs someone to document environmental issues and undertake lobbying efforts. During your college career you will be offered the opportunity, both in and outside of the class room, to build these skills. Don’t pass them up! Participate in extracurricular activities such as campus clubs and organizations, and offer to be the person who drafts requests for club funding from the student government finance committee. Or offer to be the spokesperson for a work group in a class and be the one to present the group’s findings. All of these activities help you build skills that will make a favorable impression on potential employers.

Know How to Use Word-Processing and Database Software to Create Reports

Professionals working in environmental policy, planning, and management rely on reports and the data analyses they contain. To create a report in today’s world of work, you must be proficient with word-processing and database software. You will need to know how to enter data, store it, extract and manipulate it, and import it into your report. Take courses that will provide you with both database and word-processing experience, and also take advantage of your campus’s computer labs and their staffs’ knowledge to learn more as you practice using those computing skills.

Hone Your Analytical Skills

Whether you have innate analytical skills or you have been able to develop them through your education and experience, they will be important in your work. As you undertake policy analysis, data analysis, or any other kind of analysis, you’ll be looking for causes, precursors, connections, and results. As you write the final papers of your college career, meet with your professors to get specific feedback on how clearly your analyses are presented and how well they stand up under questioning. Use this feedback to continually make improvements in your writing. Prospective employers may want to see writing samples, so be sure to show them your best work.

Learn Some Basics of Fund-Raising

The smaller the organization, the wider the range of duties each professional is expected to undertake. Many of the hundreds of job postings we reviewed mentioned fund-raising in some form. So learn some of the basic concepts associated with this kind of activity, whether it be grant writing, annual fund activities, or major donor relations. Each is very different, so you’ll want to ask intelligent questions during the interview process to better understand what the organization expects of you. You can get direct experience by working as a student volunteer fund-raiser on your campus. In addition, some excellent books are available on the subject, so be sure to check with the cam pus library. A third activity you might undertake is an informational inter view with a representative of a local nonprofit. Use the tips discussed in Chapter 4 to develop an interview agenda that will allow you to find out about the nonprofit’s fund-raising activities.

Possible Employers

As with the other four career paths in this book, new graduates interested in environmental policy, planning, and management work for federal, state, and local governments, private industry including consulting firms, and non profit organizations.

Federal Government

Agencies such as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, Department of Defense, and Environmental Protection Agency hire professionals with job titles like program manager, research assistant, or natural resource specialist. Use the information that follows to begin exploring all the possible positions available with the federal government.

Help in Locating These Employers. Visit the U.S. Office of Personnel Management’s website ( to kick off your search for federal jobs. Select the “Entry-Level Professional” option. In the menu of job types, the first item you will see is “all.” Simply highlight this job type; enter one of the following keywords: policy, planning, or management; and then submit your request. Generally, many jobs were available for review.

State Government

State departments, including environmental quality, wildlife management, land management, natural resources, and transportation, all require the skills of environmental policy, planning, and management professionals.

Help in Locating These Employers. If you have access to the Internet, use the information contained in Appendix A and visit the official state websites for the state(s) where you may want to work. Explore the site to determine the names of the various related agencies and then connect to each agency to read about its mission. Use the information on each state’s human resources Web pages to review current state job openings. If you don’t have access to the Internet, review your local telephone directory. It should contain listings under (state name)-State of (e.g., Illinois, State of), for the various agencies that hire environmental policy, planning, and management professionals. If you do not have Internet access at home, most public libraries offer this ser vice to their patrons.

Local Government

Local government jobs are often listed in both regional and local newspapers. You can also call the human resources department of those local governments where you’d like to work to find out about their policies and procedures for advertising positions.


Coal-mining companies, companies that create and provide electricity, crude petroleum and natural gas exploration companies, and environmental consulting firms (one company mentioned their utilities group) are just a few of the kinds of companies in industry that call on environmental policy, planning, and management professionals to help them accomplish their goals.

Help in Locating These Employers. Many websites can link you to hundreds of job listings. One way to start is to access the Wall Street Journal site ( and use their career section. Keywords such as environmental policy, environmental planning, and environmental management reveal lots of entry-level jobs all over the country. Other good sites include the Environ mental Career Opportunities site (, Earthworks (earthworks, Environmental Career Center (, and Environmental Career Bulletin Online (

Nonprofit Organizations

Nonprofit organizations undertake critical environmental policy, planning, and management efforts. The Rainforest Alliance works to improve the effectiveness of certification as a tool for protecting biodiversity, promoting sustainable communities, and enhancing the economic performance of forest operations managed by small forest enterprises. The Conservation Association hires people to work as part of a collaborative effort to protect major rivers. Research associates work for a nonprofit institute that conducts environmental research and provides consulting services. Some institutions of higher education have policy/research centers that hire professionals to help public officials develop environmental policies.

Help in Locating These Employers. Many of the websites that we have listed elsewhere in this book also list position openings in environmental policy, planning, and management with nonprofit organizations. They include Environmental Career Center ( and Environmental Career Opportunities ( Additional sites to review are River Net work ( and Colorado Guide ( PIRG jobs can be found at

Possible Job Titles

As you look for job announcements for environmental policy, planning, and management, keep your eyes open for jobs with the titles listed below.

  • Conservation analyst
  • Conservation coordinator
  • Conservation manager
  • Conservation specialist
  • Consultant
  • Environmental advocate
  • Environmental analyst
  • Environmental health specialist
  • Environmental planner
  • Land stewardship director
  • Legislative advocate
  • Natural resources specialist
  • Planning analyst
  • Policy analyst
  • Program manager
  • Recycling policy analyst
  • Research assistant
  • Research associate
  • Resource manager
  • Restoration coordinator
  • Water treatment and wastewater disposal specialist
  • Watershed ecologist
  • Watershed leadership program coordinator
  • Watershed steward
  • Wildlife habitat manager

Related Occupations

Many companies support the work of environmental policy, planning, and management activities. For example, some technology companies create artificial intelligence software that allows professionals to model, predict, control, and optimize nonlinear processes. Planning activities often involve the use of geographic information systems (GIS software). Salespeople represent both types of companies interacting with the environmental professionals.

Other occupations draw on some of the same skills used in environmental policy, planning, and management. Be sure to consider these job titles:

  • City manager
  • Computer programmer
  • Computer scientist
  • Computer systems analyst
  • Director of community development
  • Director of economic development
  • Economist
  • Environmental editor/researcher
  • Environmental sales account manager
  • Financial analyst
  • GIS sales associate
  • Management analyst
  • Mathematician
  • Operations research analyst
  • Reporter
  • Statistician

Professional Associations

Review the professional association listings shown here and explore the associated websites to review job listings; gain information about environmental policy, planning, and management issues; and review publications.

American Planning Association

122 S. Michigan Ave., Suite 1600

Chicago, IL 60603; see home page for specific addresses to various departments.

Members/Purpose: Citizens, academics, practicing planners, state and local planning agencies. Purpose is to contribute to the public good by encouraging wise planning.

Training: Books available from online bookstore; annual meeting with workshops; workshops; training videos; and audiotapes. Links to continuing education resources.

Journals/Publications: Proceedings of annual meeting; Journal of the American Planning Association; numerous other periodicals, including newsletters

Job Listings: None

Canadian Society of Environmental Biologists

CSEB National Offices

P.O. Box 962

Station F

Toronto, ON M4Y 2N9


Members/Purpose: Biology professionals and students working to improve resource management through ecology

Training: Annual meeting

Journals/Publications: Symposia proceedings

Job Listings: None

International Association for Impact Assessment

1330 Twenty-Third St. South, Suite C

Fargo, ND 58103;

Members/Purpose: Community groups, individuals, educational institutions, academics, government officials. Purpose is scientifically based and ecologically sound sustainable development.

Training: Annual meeting with workshops and training course; also, training course database available online.

Journals/Publications: JAJA Journal; IAIA Newsletter; online publications focusing on impact assessment.

Job Listings: None

National Association of Environmental Professionals

P.O. Box 2086

Bowie, MD 20718;

Members/Purpose: Planning agencies, government officials, individuals, academics, and students. Promotes education and certification of environmental professionals, emphasizing the balance of economic growth and environmental excellence

Training: Annual conference with workshops and short courses, including HAZWOPER refresher.

Journals/Publications: Environmental Practice; conference proceeding; online links to other resources.

Job Listings: Online links cataloged by date of receipt.

National Association of Local Government Environmental Professionals

1350 New York Ave. NW, Suite 1100

Washington, DC 20005;

Members/Purpose: Local governments. Encourages communication among local environmental officials and promotes education and training

Training: Conducts research and produces reports that focus on environmental problems of importance to local government officials

Journals/Publications: Newsflash newsletter Job Listings: None

National Registry of Environmental Professionals

P.O. Box 2068

Glenview, IL 60025;

Members/Purpose: Accrediting agency for environmental professionals, including environmental managers, scientists, technologists, technicians, and engineers.

Training: Workshops

Journals/Publications: Study guides

Job Listings: Dozens of online links

National Society of Consulting Soil Scientists, Inc.

325 Pennsylvania Ave. SE, Suite 700

Washington, DC 20003;

Members/Purpose: Academics and practicing soil scientists. Advances the practice of soil science and promotes interaction among soil scientists

Training: Annual meeting; links to many educational soil science sites with online tutorials and resources.

Journals/Publications: None

Job Listings: Many links to soil and environmental sites with job postings.

Society for Conservation Biology

4245 N. Fairfax Dr., Suite 400

Arlington, VA 22203;

Members/Purpose: Resource managers, educators, students, government officials, conservation groups. Promotes study affecting the maintenance, loss, and restoration of biological diversity.

Training: Annual meeting

Journals/Publications: Conservation Biology; Conservation Biology in Practice; Neotropical Conservation newsletter

Job Listings: Dozens of links online

Society of Wetland. Scientists

810 E. Tenth St.

P.O. Box 1897

Lawrence, KS 66044-8897;

Members/Purpose: Educators, students, and conservation officials. Fosters conservation and understanding of the ecological importance of wetlands.

Training: Annual meeting; links to many wetlands conservation courses, professional certification.

Journals/Publications: Wetlands journal; regional chapter newsletters Job Listings: Dozens of online links

Soil Science Society of America

677 S. Segoe Rd.

Madison, WI 53711;

Members/Purpose: Academics, students, and practicing soil scientists. To advance the discipline and practice of soil science through disseminating information about the science of soils, ecosystems management, bioremediation, waste management, recycling, and wise land use

Training: Annual meeting with workshops, continuing education opportunities

Journals/Publications: Soil Science Society of America Journal; Journal of Environmental Quality; Journal of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Education; numerous books and materials available from online bookstore

Job Listings: Many job links online

Soil and Water Conservation Society

7515 N.E. Ankeny Rd.

Ankeny, LA 50021;

Members/Purpose: Conservation professionals. Fosters the science and art of soil, water, and related resource management to achieve sustainability

Training: Online resources available

Journals/Publications: Journal of Soil and W Conservation; Conservation Voices: Listening to the Land; Conservogram newsletter

Job Listings: None

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