high paying environmental jobs

10 Environmental Jobs That Pay Over $100,000 a Year

Steve Russell - September 8, 2023

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Not all science jobs bring in the big bucks, but some offer a lucrative salary while simultaneously helping the planet. If you want to make a difference in the world and in your bank account, consider one of these 10 high-paying environmental jobs. 

1. Natural Sciences Manager

Natural sciences managers supervise the work of other scientists, including physicists, biologists, and chemists. Many spend most of their day in an office, but some also spend time in laboratory settings. You’ll likely need at least a bachelor’s degree in natural science or a related industry to get this job. It’s typical to work as a scientist before becoming a natural sciences manager. 

U.S. median salary range: $75,040 to $208,000

2. Environmental Advisor

As an environmental advisor, you’ll help businesses meet or surpass their environmental obligations. This career involves inspecting company practices and comparing them to current legal regulations. You’ll also provide advice on the environmental risks and benefits of new projects, and you’ll spend time in the field doing site inspections. 

Becoming an environmental advisor often requires auditing companies, participating in meetings, and collecting and reporting contamination data. You will likely report to an environmental consultant or manager. Some environmental advisors help respond to environmental incidents. Most work as contractors or keep regular hours working for individual businesses.

U.S. median salary range: $63,500 to $144,000

3. Geoscientist

Geoscientists study physical aspects of the environment, such as the Earth’s composition, processes, and structure. As a geoscientist, your goal is to learn more about the planet’s history to make informed decisions about responsible use. You may participate in field studies, analyze geological data, collect samples, and conduct lab tests. 

Many geoscientists have a bachelor’s degree in geoscience, natural resources, or physical science. You’ll likely need to take classes in geology, engineering, mineralogy, and math to become a geoscientist. 

U.S. median salary range: $48,880 to $172,490

4. Hydrologist

Anyone fascinated by the flow of water — and, specifically, how it moves on and through the Earth — should consider becoming a hydrologist. This high-paying environmental job is crucially important for developing cities, directing resources, and ensuring the safety of agriculture. Hydrologists study water volumes and flow. They also take soil and water samples to make important environmental and municipal decisions. 

U.S. median salary range: $51,120 to $135,170

5. Agricultural Scientist

Agricultural scientists ensure the longevity of the food supply while preserving the planet. They create new food products and come up with better ways to process, package, and deliver them. They also oversee the implementation of projects at different facilities, study the composition of soil as it relates to plant growth, and conduct research that improves the productivity and sustainability of livestock care and plant growth. 

Agricultural scientists work in offices, laboratories, and the field, spending most of their time studying reports and data. Their findings help manufacturers and farmers make more environmentally friendly and sustainable choices. To become an agricultural scientist, you will need at least a bachelor’s degree that emphasizes biology, animal science, chemistry, and related fields. 

U.S. median salary range: $44,160 to $128,160

6. Environmental Lawyer

Do you have a passion for science and justice? Consider becoming an environmental lawyer. You’ll work with a variety of clients, from large corporations and government agencies to single individuals. Environmental lawyers often work on projects relating to sustainability, climate change, and renewable energy. They are skilled researchers and negotiators with strong written and verbal communication skills.

U.S. median salary range: $58,500 to $265,000

7. Environmental Planner

Environmental planners help make decisions related to land development. They often assist with development projects to make sure businesses follow environmental regulations, and they also research environmental concerns to develop plans to address existing issues. Environmental planners study topics like noise pollution, transportation, flood zones, and housing and how these issues intersect with sustainability. 

You’ll likely need at least a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering, environmental engineering, regional planning, geography, or environmental science to land this career. You may find a job in the private sector or work for a government agency.

U.S. median salary range: $55,900 to $131,441

8. Solar Engineer

Want a hands-on, high-paying environmental job? The solar energy sector is growing rapidly, with 263,882 solar energy jobs available in 2022 in the U.S. Solar engineers design solar panels and solar farms to help power the world. Some solar engineers also perform routine maintenance and repairs on photovoltaic systems. 

This career puts you on the front line of the renewable energy movement and helps you make a difference for people and businesses. Most solar engineers get a bachelor’s degree in electrical, civil, or mechanical engineering. 

U.S. median salary range: $40,500 to $109,000

9. Wind Energy Engineer

Another career that lets you do something tangible is working in the wind industry. Wind energy engineers — also called wind turbine engineers — design and supervise the layout of wind farms and turbines. Job responsibilities often include creating models and blueprints, ordering equipment, finding the best locations to build wind farms, assessing turbine performance, and analyzing turbine noise levels. You may also manage the employees working on wind farms to ensure their safety. 

U.S. median salary range: $75,500 to $133,500

10. Environmental Engineer

Some of the highest-paying environmental jobs are in engineering. Environmental engineers apply their understanding of engineering, chemistry, geology, biology, and soil science to a wide range of issues. They can help cities access safe drinking water or create innovative waste disposal solutions. Environmental engineers also tackle problems related to erosion and pollution. Essentially, the job involves using engineering to find environmental solutions. 

U.S. median salary range: $59,820 to $153,200

High-Paying Environmental Jobs Are Out There

As climate change becomes a pressing concern, more and more high-paying environmental jobs are going to open up. The world needs smart, responsible people who are passionate about helping the planet to step into environmental roles. You could be one of them — and make a decent living in the process. Get the degree or experience you need and then apply for the career of your dreams!

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About the author

Steve Russell

Steve is the Managing Editor of Environment.co and regularly contributes articles related to wildlife, biodiversity, and recycling. His passions include wildlife photography and bird watching.