Environmental scientists study, develop and advise on policies and plans for managing and protecting the environment. This occupation describes a number of specialisations including ecologists, environmental officers, aquaculture consultants and soil scientists.

Where environmental scientists are employed

Environmental scientists may be employed by federal, state and territory government departments, statutory authorities and local councils. They may also work with engineering and environmental consultants or in areas such as the minerals and energy industries or climate change research.

There are also opportunities for self-employment as consultants and teaching at secondary and tertiary level.

"The best thing about my job is going outside! Whether its rain, hail or shine, getting out of the office and into the field using 4WDs, boats and kayaks is the best feeling!" - Ben Hamilton, Environmental Protection Officer.


Full-time environmental scientists in South Australia generally earn more than $1,600 per week.

Graph of pay scale for Environmental scientist

Job prospects

National landcare initiatives have led to the creation of new positions for environmental scientists within state and territory government agriculture departments.

In 2011 there were 306 people employed full-time as environmental scientists in South Australia compared with 215 in 2006.

How to become one

To become an environmental scientist you usually have to complete a degree in environmental science, science or applied science with a major in environmental science, natural resource management, geography, marine science or a related field. To get into these courses you usually need to gain your South Australian Certificate of Education (SACE). Prerequisite subjects or assumed knowledge in one or more of English, maths, biology, chemistry, physics and earth and environmental science are usually required.

Some employers prefer environmental scientists who have at least four years of training.

For information on course admission requirements and how to apply to the universities and TAFE in South Australia visit the South Australian Tertiary Admissions Centre (SATAC).

Check South Australian universities at The University of Adelaide, Flinders University and University of South Australia.

For information about Australian universities visit Quality Indicators for Learning and Teaching (QILT)

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Career information has been sourced from government publications, see data sources for more information.

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