How To Become An Environmental Scientist In Australia? | Study in Australia • OzStudies (2022)

How To Become An Environmental Scientist In Australia? | Study in Australia • OzStudies (1)

Do you like the environment, its conservation, management and excellent research abilities? If yes, a career as an Environment Scientist could be well-suited for you.

An environmental scientist work in consulting firms or government departments to research environmental issues. They develop, implement, and enforce regional, state, or federal regulations to conserve and safeguard the environment.

You usually require a relevant bachelor’s degree, such as a Bachelor of Environmental Science, to work as an Environmental Scientist. It is common to complete postgraduate studies in a specific area of expertise.

This comprehensive blog discusses what a profession as an environmental scientist can be like and guide you on the steps to becoming an environmental scientist in Australia.

1. What Is Environmental Science?

Environmental science is a discipline involving environment study and how human behaviour can affect health. It closely examines the environment to develop ways to conserve and reduce human impact on it.

2. What Are Environmental Scientists?

Environmental scientists monitor the environment over periods to research the impact of human activity on the environment, natural resources, and plant and animal populations.

It helps them develop and implement environmentally sound practices, plans, and policies to ensure environmental conservation, management, sustainability and wildlife preservation.

They also educate the community about the importance and benefits of conservation to control or minimize the adverse impact of human activity on the environment.

3. What Does An Environmental Scientist Do?

Environmental scientists spend time researching specific industries that could affect the environment, such as agriculture, urban development, and industrial processes. They find ways to enhance environmental sustainability to ensure a strong and healthy environment.

Here are a few more duties that they carry out daily:

  • Spend time researching current environmental challenges

  • Study and analyze pollution, demographic features, ecology, atmospheric conditions, soil, water, and minerals

  • Study the impact of topography, elevation, nutrition sources, predators, and climatic and environmental change, on plant and animal life

  • Develop new regulations and policies that encourage sustainable practices

  • Identify harmful hazards or pollutants that might cause threats to the environment.

  • Take inventory of flora and fauna to inform environmental policy.

  • Run informational programs to educate people about the need for environmental conservation and the implementation of eco-friendly policies and practices

  • Undertake laboratory work to study the biological and physical nature of the environment

  • Develop conservation plans and proposals to reduce the impact of urban, industrial, and agricultural processes on the environment

  • Implement new policies that promote preservation in areas with large volumes of natural life like parks and natural heritage.

  • Report on violations of environmental guidelines

  • Respond to emergencies such as chemical spills, timber felling, oil spills, and wildfires.

  • Monitor the impact of land degradation and pollution and suggest its prevention and control measures

  • Rehabilitate air, water, and land destroyed by logging, overgrazing, construction, mining, and pollution

  • Assess the requirements of habitat, fisheries, and wildlife, and formulate short-term and long-term management objectives

  • Negotiate with and advise government, industry, and the public on the management, disposal, or re-use of environmental matters.

  • Perform environmental audits

4. What Does An Environmental Scientist Do In Mining?

Mining poses critical environmental and community concerns that need to be addressed. Environmental scientists help mining firms to operate at set environmental standards to generate improved environmental results from mining.

Some of these environmental concerns include:

  • Less usage of water

  • Uncertainty of geotechnical, hydrogeology, and reference point data

  • Impact on the valuable surface and ground-level water systems

  • Vulnerability of mining sites to extreme events, such as drought, and floods.

  • Proper treatment and reuse of mine-impacted water and brine

Environmental scientists deploy specialist software and technologies and provide sustainable solutions to help lessen environmental impacts before, during, and after mining, for a sustainable future for the industry and community.

5. Environmental Scientist Skills

The job of an environmental scientist requires a good set of technical and soft skills related to this field.

If you are thinking of pursuing this career, then developing the following skills will be beneficial:

6. Environmental Scientist Qualifications

  • Obtain your Senior Secondary Certificate of Education in one or more prerequisite subjects such as Mathematics, Chemistry, Biology, Earth, Physics, and Environmental Science

  • Complete a 3-year bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science, Science, Natural Resource Management, Geography, Marine Science, in Applied Science with a focus on Environmental Science or related qualification

  • Advance your career by specializing in a specific environmental area with a postgraduateenvironmental scientist degreeprior experience as a lab technician, research assistant, or field research role is beneficial to landing an entry-level job as an environmental scientist.

7. Steps To Become An Environmental Scientist In Australia

Below are a few steps you can follow to begin your career as an environmental scientist:

Step 1: Earn A Bachelor's Degree

The minimum education recruiters require for an environmental specialist position is a bachelor's degree in natural science such as fisheries, earth science, or biology.

ABachelor Of Environmental Scienceis the ideal degree course that gives you an in-depth knowledge of the environment and its sustainability. In addition to it, you will also explore a wide range of environmental issues from social, physical, and biological viewpoints.

After your first year, you will choose a major that interests you and suits your career plans. In the final year, you can choose between enrolling in industry internships to obtain employment-relevant experience or undertaking a research project.

Graduates from this accredited degree will develop a broad set of skills and knowledge to work as an environmental science professional in the following areas:

  • Ecology and Conservation

  • Environmental Management

  • Soil and Water Science

  • Urban Environments

Course graduates can also apply for the Environment Institute of Australia and New Zealand membership. Becoming a member will enable you to network with industry professionals and participate in various professional events.

Step 2: Consider Taking Environmental Scientists Courses

To get started on the path to an environmental science profession, it is a great option to complete a specialist course such as Certificate IV in Laboratory Techniques.

It is a 12-month course delivered by TAFE that helps you develop technical skills and put your theoretical knowledge into practice.

By doing this course, you will learn how to:

  • Record samples

  • Prepare samples for testing

  • Do scientific calculations

  • Comprehend results

  • Upkeep laboratory equipment and more

Successful course completion qualifies you to work as a technician/ technical assistant in environmental science and other related areas.

Step 3: Consider A Master's Degree

Though not mandatory, most environmental scientists pursue a master's degree in environmental science, hydrology, plant ecology, animal biology, or oceanography at accredited universities with dedicated science and research departments.

Step 4: Gain Professional Experience

Upon completing a relevant bachelor's degree, you can start searching for positions as an environmental scientist.However, gaining work experience in an entry-level position before taking up an Environment Scientist role can be beneficial.

You get an opportunity to learn from professionals and develop the skills to succeed in this role in the future. There are several places where you can find relevant job openings for environmental scientists, such as laboratories, offices, or universities with research centres.

Conducting an online job search can help you find open positions by job title and location. After you build 1 or 2-years of professional experience, you can apply for permanent environmental scientist positions.

Industry bodies:

8. Common Environmental Scientist Jobs

There are plenty of entry-level employment options in environmental science. Choose the one best suiting your career aspirations to receive relevant on-the-job training.

Here are some of the entry-level job titles available in this field:

  • Junior environmental scientist

  • Junior environmental engineer

  • Laboratory technician

  • Laboratory assistant

  • Environmental technician

  • Research assistant

As you advance in your career, you can take on any of the following mid-level to senior roles such as:

  • Water Policy Officer

  • Natural Resource Manager

  • Agricultural Scientist

  • Environmental Consultant

  • Waste Management Coordinator

  • Marine Biologist

  • Toxicologist

  • Conservation Scientist

  • Environmental Health Officer

  • Hydrologist

  • Environmental Chemist

  • Planner/Transport Planner

  • Water Quality Scientist

  • Ecologist

  • Environmental Health And Safety Officer

  • Meteorologist

  • Conservation Ecologist

  • Environmental Advisor

  • Geologist

  • Environmental Science Teacher/Lecturer

  • Contamination Manager

  • Environmental Education Officer

  • Wildlife Biologist

  • Environmental Manager

  • Soil Scientist

9. Environmental Science Careers In Australia

Environmental science involves various industries and professions that lead to different opportunities, giving you a chance to choose the role and industry you want to work in.

They work in engineering companies, energy, minerals industries, climate change/ field research, wildlife conservation, and policymaking.

You will mostly find them working in the following settings such as:

  • Federal, state, and territory government agriculture departments

  • Statutory authorities

  • Local councils

Opportunities are available to work as self-employed environment consultants or in secondary and tertiary teaching.

10. Environmental Science Specializations

Environmental Officer:

Thisenvironmental scientist in Australiais taking care of environmental issues related to spreading awareness, event organization, and advocacy.

Their main job is to ensure that the campaigns are effective and implement the correct policies.


They study the factors that affect or get affected by the environment, such as weather patterns, urban development and pollution, animal and plant life, agriculture and other human activity, and more.

11. Working Conditions For Environmental Scientists

Environmental scientists generally work closely with technicians and fellow scientists at laboratories in government buildings or research centres that host research projects.

Environmental scientists may conduct experiments in a laboratory, do hands-on fieldwork, conduct research, or teach university students. They work full-time for standard business hours. They may frequently engage in overtime to complete and support their research.

Some degree of fieldwork and travelling may be required to conduct field research or attend conferences. Entry-level workers carry out more fieldwork than senior professionals.

12. How Much Is Environmental Scientist Salary In Australia?

The national averageenvironmental scientist salaryis AU$68,053 per year or an hourly equivalent to AU$31.18. Environmental scientists working in locations such as Victoria, Sydney, Perth, and Brisbane usually attract higher salaries.

  • Environmental scientist salary in Sydney,NSW:$102,462 per year

  • Melbourne, VIC: $102,503 per year

  • Perth, WA: $93,434 per year

  • Brisbane QLD: $87,900 per year

Experience is another major factor that influences environmental scientists’ salaries:

  • FreshlyGraduate Environmental Scientist Salary in Australia(< 1-year experience): AU$57,148

  • Early career Environmental Scientist (1-4 years of experience): AU$65,888 per year

  • Mid-career Environmental Scientist (5-9 years of experience): AU$79,328 per year

  • Senior Environmental Scientist Salary in Australia(10-19 years of experience): AU$90,064 per year

13. Job Prospects Of Environment Scientists In Australia

With the continuous rise in global environmental concerns, there is a demand for qualified environmental scientists to deal with prevalent environmental challenges.

As per the Australian government's labour market insights, this profession predicts strong future employment growth over the next coming years.

As environmental science encompasses various industries and professions, aspiring environment scientists can expect diverse employment and career progression opportunities. It will, in turn, contribute to a long-term and rewarding career with immeasurable opportunities for career growth and specialization.

Working arrangements

Around 76% of workers are employed full-time for 43 hours per week. Over 50% of workers work overtime to meet project deadlines.

Top Recruiting Industries include:

  • Professional, scientific and technical services: 39.0%

  • Public administration and safety: 22.4%

  • Arts and recreation services: 9.9%

  • Electricity, gas, water, and waste services: 6.6%

  • Other industries: 21.3%

Percentage of Employment across Australia:

  • New South Wales: 27.5%

  • Victoria: 17.9%

  • Queensland: 22.9%

  • South Australia: 6.0%

  • Western Australia: 16.9%

  • Tasmania: 2.7%

  • Northern Territory: 3.9%

  • Australian Capital Territory: 2.1%

Gender and Age Profile

Around 41% of Females occupy the total workforce, which is seven percentage points below the average of all jobs, 48%.

The average age of employed Environmental Scientists is 39 years, with most between 35 to 44.

14. Conclusion

Environmental science is an incredible industry offering various study areas and career progressions. When working in this role, you get to work on an array of global issues, including climate change, public waste, and public health.

The wide availability of employment opportunities, job growth, and specialization opportunities in various industries makes the Environment Scientist a rewarding career.

If you are interested in finding innovative ways to promote a sustainable environment and protect the planet, being an environmental scientist is the best way to achieve this.

Useful Links to Explore:

  • English Language Requirements for Australia
  • Cultural differences you may experience in Australia
  • How to find Part-Time work as a Student in Australia
  • Seven Tips for Students on a Budget in Australia
  • How to get a Scholarship to Study in Australia
  • Driving in Australia as an International Student
  • How to change your Course or Institute in Australia
  • The Benefits of a Professional Year Program (PYP)
  • A Complete Guide to Study in Australia
  • Types of Education in Australia
  • What to Study in Australia?

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