Environmental Manager

Environmental Management and Assessment

Studies in Environmental Management provide many exciting, interesting and satisfying career choices. Contributing to the maintenance and conservation of ecosystem that we rely on for our survival is extremely rewarding.
Environmental managers and assessors are in high demand, to advise on and help manage development and use of cities and rural areas with minimal impact to the environment. Attractive features about working in this industry include working independently and as part of a team; different working environments (e.g. outdoors, in a laboratory or an office, running community education programs, doing scientific research); and an attractive salary once beyond graduate level.

Typical jobs or career paths

Careers in Environmental Management may begin with begin with college or university study, and professional development in Environmental Science or Natural Resource Management. Studies in the natural sciences, with some physics and chemistry, can lead to a career in environmental management, as can studies in environmental engineering, which involves structural design, wastewater treatment, flood management, and covers all the natural science disciplines. It is a diverse field with a number of specialisations.

Career options include:

Environmental Consultant

Environmental Engineers



Environmental Education Officer or Manager

Waste Manager and Pollution Controller

Technical Officer/Environmental Officer

Project Officer for Land Councils

Natural Resource Manager.

Who Employs graduates

Typical Employers include:

  • Local and State Government – Department of Natural Resources, Parks and Wildlife Service. etc.
  • The private sector - Environmental Consulting Firms, Landscaping businesses (These roles are generally self employed or contracted).
  • NGOs – Greenpeace, World Wide Fund for Nature.
  • Wildlife Conservation Foundations and Trusts– The Wildlife Trusts (UK), RSPCA (Aus).
  • Universities – Research Assistant, Lecturer, Post Doctorate and PhD studies.

Positions can vary from short-term assignments, part-time, permanent roles, and consulting, depending on the employer.

Remuneration and Advancement Opportunities

Remuneration rates vary from country to country; and can be extremely variable.

Entry level jobs may be relatively low paid, and graduates from certificates diplomas and even degrees may undertake voluntary work on projects such as land rehabilitation, or perhaps in wildlife parks, as a way of getting experience and a start in the industry.

Jobs in Environmental Education, Ecotourism and wildlife can pay anything from a very basic wage to something comparable with other professions.

Environmental Scientists and Consultants are generally paid quite well, even during the Graduate phase. Salaries are comparable with other professions such as doctors and teachers.

NGOs and Wildlife Organizations may pay less than government organisations or large businesses; depending on funding capabilities.

Within the natural and environmental sciences there is always some competition. Experience goes a long way in gaining the role you seek and can put you ahead of other applicants. This may be gained from previous employment in a similar role, volunteering and work experience. Networking is very important. A lot of jobs tend to arise internally within companies and organisations. If you are in contact with them or involved in volunteer work, you will find out about these roles first.

Advancement within the field can depend on two things; further qualifications and development of your skills and experience on the job. Start early! Select a course that will give you practical experience and skills, and consider volunteering or work experience while you study. Employers look for employees with demonstrated initiative and skills specific to the job, not just qualifications.

Professional Bodies

Membership in relevant professional bodies is a great way to network, and look impressive on your resume. It shows that you are serious and focused on a career in this area. So does participation in conferences and workshops, and as a volunteer at environmental events. Some respected professional bodies are the Parks and Leisure Australia, Royal Geographical Society (U.K), the Environmental Institute of Australia, The Australian Conservation Foundation, and the Institution of Environmental Sciences (UK). Some can simply require an annual fee. Others may require that you be working in a particular industry, and others, relevant knowledge or experience. For example, to become a member of the Institution of Environmental Sciences, you must demonstrate knowledge of the discipline of Environmental Science and have varied interdisciplinary environmental experience.


To work as a consultant/contractor, you should consider personal indemnity insurance. A Professional Indemnity policy aims to shield the professional's assets in the event of a claim, therefore ensuring that he/she is able to carry on their business. Public liability insurance is designed for organisations that are Not-For-Profit and that employ volunteers. It is usually required to cover community and public events. Additional insurance may be required to cover volunteers. It is best to check with an insurance consultant to make sure that your insurance needs are met.

To minimise risk of liability, you must investigate and learn about the legal and professional requirements for practicing in this field.

Career Risks

There are risks associated with every career, but some are particularly pertinent to environmental management, including the following:

·Some jobs require you to deal with hazardous materials (eg. Toxic chemicals)

·The bureaucracy involved in environmental industries can be stressful.

·Conflicts between environmental and other concerns (eg. Economic) can create stress situations in some environmental jobs

·Funding in this industry can be erratic. The quantity of work can become excessive overnight as a result of changed government policy or funding a new project. It can disappear just as fast, when policy changes or a project finishes.

Dealing with the Risk of Erratic Work Opportunity:

Environmental professionals often maintain employment by diversifying their work. They may for example, teach, write for magazines, operate a plant nursery or manufacture/sell environmental products as well as taking on management or consulting projects whenever available.

Recommended Courses

In most employment situations (in environmental management), the knowledge is far more important than the qualification. In practice however, most people who work in the industry do hold a formal qualification in environmental science or a related discipline (eg. Agriculture, horticulture, engineering, biological science).

ACS’s Certificate in Environmental Studies (http://www.acs.edu.au/courses/product.aspx?id=538) is an excellent foundation course for understanding key environmental principles and issues. This course may provide a first step towards the higher qualifications needed to work in Environmental Management or Consulting or may provide a good supplement to other tertiary qualifications.

ACS’s Associate Diploma in Environmental Management (http://www.acs.edu.au/courses/product.aspx?id=422) was developed out of a need to provide students with ‘in demand’ skills covering subjects that provide employment opportunities. This course includes 10 core modules and 5 electives. Some modules are Conservation and Environmental Management, Waste Management, Project Management, Wildlife Management, Environmental Assessment, Nature Park Management etc. The course gives you a diversity of practical skills and theoretical knowledge and also includes 100 hours of industry meetings.

Note: Both of the above courses can be counted for credit toward higher qualifications with ACS Distance Education, Warnborough University, and other ACS affiliate institutions.


“Environmental” degrees vary in content. Many may provide a sound foundation in science, but still leave you lacking tangible skills that are “in demand” in industry.

For this reason, (and perhaps an oversupply of graduates in some countries), it is not uncommon for large numbers of graduates with environmental science degrees to struggle to find work in their industry. When selecting a degree program, we advise:

·Ensure the program develops marketable skills such as extensive plant/animal species identification

·Skills in consulting and conducting environmental assessments

·Management and/or business skills.

Environmental Management jobs in research (for government or large organisations) may require a Master’s degree.


Professional Development and Career Changes

If you hold a degree in a discipline other than environmental management; the value of getting a second degree will be greatly reduced. By studying short courses, certificates or diplomas in Environmental Management, it is often possible to change careers into this industry.

Excellent Short Courses include (Click on courses of interest):

Environmental Assessment

Healthy Buildings I

Healthy Buildings II

Environmental Waste Management

Marine Studies

Wildlife Management

For details on further courses, see



Levels of Study offered by ACS ...click here

For free course counselling, see: http://www.acs.edu.au/coursecounsel.aspx