What Environmental Jobs are Available in Chemistry?

Green ChemistryThe environmental jobs available in chemistry are either science-based or technology-based. Having a chemistry degree will allow students to choose jobs similar to those below.

Lab Chemist

This position is one of the most common entry-level jobs for environmental chemists. Lab chemists follow chemical-specific models and dose standards to perform chemical evaluations. They provide analytical support for senior chemists who create chemical-specific information models for regulatory bodies. They collect and interpret chemical data to model chemical safety assessments and create exposure tolerance levels. Lab chemists use industry standard computational approaches to analyze and report on multidimensional sets of data. They must be comfortable working with complex software programs. Lab chemists are expected to have adequate training in advanced physics, organic chemistry and integral and differential calculus.

Field Chemist

Field chemists are employed by private companies that use them to provide environmental services and government agencies that employ them to ensure compliance with environmental laws, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. They handle, transport and use various chemicals, some of which are harmful and hazardous. They work in many different locations, such as rural factories where they test the surrounding environments for pollutants through sampling and profiling waste streams. They also work in inner city locations, such as manufacturing sites, to test storm water systems. At the end of their assessments, they prepare regulatory paperwork that demonstrates compliance or non-compliance with applicable internal procedures and environmental regulations. Field chemists should have a bachelor’s degree in chemistry with training in the environmental sciences.

Environmental Chemist

These environment specialists offer expertise in air, water and soil quality studies and impact analyses. They apply their knowledge of local, state and federal regulations to assist companies with maintaining compliance and obtaining proper permits. They are sometimes referred to as environmental health consultants because they often work with engineers, construction owners and business leaders. These scientists support environmental-based quality control and assurance programs through data research and validation. They gather data in the field and work in labs to track and process data. They collect data from volatile organic compounds and contaminants from the air, soil and water. They follow standard analytical methods to assess the usability of environmental data. They review chemical data to ensure compliance with EPA guidelines.

Analytical Chemist

Analytical chemists often travel to collect and transport specimen samples, so they must have an excellent driving record. They perform a wide range of chemical analyses for medical, research or regulatory purposes. They generate qualitative and quantitative reports that analyze complex chemical compounds. This requires the combined use of advanced instruments and chemistry processes like spectroscopy and chromatography. Analytical chemists are expected to be skilled at analyzing a variety of samples through standard and specialized analytical methods and instruments. They should have strong technical skills because they must often troubleshoot their own equipment and software programs. They maintain working relationships with private clients, regulatory agencies and independent science consultants.

Related Resource: Become an Environmental Policy Advocate

Other environmental jobs available in chemistry include research scientist, environmental specialist and environmental data technician.