Starting a career as an environmental scientist can be a good decision if you are passionate about protecting the environment. As an environmental scientist, you will observe the natural world and create policies to protect the environment. Environmental scientists research how human activity impacts the larger environment and also assist in developing policy responses to climate change issues.


An environmental scientist is a scientist who examines the natural environment and how people interact with it. Additionally, they formulate policies and interventions that address climate change issues. Starting a career as an environmental scientist will enable you to gain a comprehensive awareness of contemporary environmental issues and difficulties. Therefore, you need to have highly specialised training and education to be able to undertake the projects needed in this field. You must understand the qualifications and the steps needed to pursue this career path.


In the following sections, I will cover the list of steps to take in starting a career as an environmental scientist and the tips for pursuing this career.


How to Start a Career as an Environmental Scientist

  1. Obtain a Bachelor’s Degree

    A bachelor’s degree is important if you want to become an environmental scientist. You can pursue a bachelor’s degree in courses such as environmental science, ecology, agriculture or a related field. Additionally, you should focus on developing industry-related skills. This will be important when making internship applications.

  2. Gain Practical Experience

    You can gain practical experience through internships or volunteering. You can apply to companies such as government agencies, environmental organizations and privately owned companies. These opportunities will provide you with knowledge of localised environmental challenges as well as the opportunity to work on a variety of practical initiatives. Additionally, you will have the opportunity to develop the skills and experiences needed in your career pursuit.

  3. Choose an Area of Specialisation

    You may be required to choose an area of specialisation in this field. This is a broad field and you cannot be everywhere as a professional. Therefore, you can determine the area of environmental science you have an interest in and make it an area of specialisation.

  4. Get Certified in your area of Specialty

    You can consider earning a certificate within your preferred specialty. This can make you stand out from other candidates when making job applications. Additionally, It allows you to have career advancement and growth.

  5. Pursue Advanced Degrees

    Gaining advanced degrees in environmental science can be beneficial. Earning a master’s or a doctorate will give you room for career advancement and growth. Additionally, it can give you an opportunity for high-professional roles.

  6. Join a Professional Organization

    You may be able to collaborate and network with professionals by joining professional organisations. Additionally, you can attend conferences and get updates on environmental science.


Skills for Environmental Scientists

  1. Research Skills
  2. Analytical Skills
  3. Communication Skills
  4. Thorough Understanding of the Scientific method
  5. Interpersonal Skills
  6. Problem-solving Skills
  7. Attention to detail


Areas of Specialisation in Environmental Science

  1. Environmental and Biological Conservation: This area of specialisation involves studying different groups of organisms such as mammals, birds and insects as well as their natural habitats. Additionally, professionals in this field focus on safeguarding various species and reducing the risk of extinction.
  2. Energy and Climate Change: Specialising in this field will enable you to comprehend the potential causes of climate change, the current evidence for change as well as future predictions and viable solutions. Furthermore, you can decide to concentrate on sustainable methods of energy production.
  3. Soil Ecology: This area focuses on the different processes that can change soil as well as how this can impact both natural habitats and human demands like agricultural output.
  4. Aquatic/Marine Biology: This field focuses on studying freshwater environments such as lakes, ponds, rivers and saltwater environments such as oceans.
  5. Pollution Prevention and Remediation: This area focuses on how humans affect the environment. Additionally, it gives you knowledge on various contaminants and how to evaluate the effects and severity of pollution.
  6. Water Resource Management: This area of expertise focuses on managing water resources such as water used for drinking, sanitation, agriculture, recreation and industry.


Universities in Africa that Offer Environmental Science

  1. University of Nigeria, Nigeria
  2. Cairo University, Egypt
  3. University of Johannesburg, South Africa
  4. Mansoura University, Egypt
  5. University of Sfax, Tunisia
  6. Alexandria University, Egypt
  7. Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria
  8. University of Ibadan, Nigeria
  9. Makerere University, Uganda
  10. Covenant University, Nigeria
  11. Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Ghana
  12. University of Sousse, Tunisia
  13. Rhodes University, South Africa
  14. University of Lagos, Nigeria
  15. Afe Babalola University, Ado Ekiti
  16. University of Cape Town, South Africa
  17. Tanta University, Egpyt
  18. University of Pretoria, South Africa
  19. University of Nairobi, Kenya
  20. Moi University, Kenya
  21. University of Witwatersrand, South Africa
  22. Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia
  23. University of Botswana
  24. Ain Shams University, Egypt
  25. University of Cape Coast, Ghana
  26. Ahmadu Bello University, Nigeria
  27. University of Mauritius, Mauritius
  28. Tunis University, Tunisia
  29. Federal University of Technology, Akure, Nigeria
  30. Manouba University, Tunisia


Starting a career as an environmental scientist will allow you to have a successful career while impacting the environment. The career is in high demand as more people and businesses know the importance of conservation and sustainability. However, you need to acquire highly specialised education and training to thrive in this career. This will give you the ability to take up responsibilities and roles in environmental science. Therefore, learning more about the career role of an environment can help you decide whether this career path is suitable for you.


Good luck!

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