8 High-Paying Eco-Friendly Jobs

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Every day can feel like Earth Day when you work in an eco-friendly job.

You don’t have to give up any green to work in a green position, either. A number of occupations focused on conservation and the environment offer above-average incomes, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Following is a closer look at high-paying jobs that revolve around natural resources and environmental science, with the best-paying career listed last.

We’ve included each job’s median pay in 2018, the education needed to enter the field and the rate of growth expected for these jobs from 2016 to 2026.

Is one of these jobs right for you?

8. Environmental science and protection technician

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Median pay: $46,170
Entry-level education: associate degree
Expected job growth: 12%

You don’t have to go to school for long to end up in a green job that offers solid pay. Most environmental science and protection technicians can be ready to work after earning a two-year degree, according to the BLS. Some positions may require a bachelor’s degree.

Often employed by scientific consulting firms or the government, these workers inspect businesses and public places for sources of pollution and contamination, including those that could affect public health.

This work involves making sure no environmental or health hazards are present, a career that can expect faster than average growth.

7. Environmental engineering technician

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Median pay: $50,560
Entry-level education: associate degree
Expected job growth: 13%

Environmental engineering technicians work as part of a team to prevent and clean up pollution. They execute the plans drawn up by environmental science and protection technicians.

For instance, the BLS notes, they may be called upon to dispose of asbestos, lead or other hazardous materials.

While some of their days may be spent in a laboratory, technicians are often in the field, collecting samples and setting up testing equipment.

You can be ready to work as a technician after earning a two-year associate degree. This career is poised for faster than average growth in the years to come.

6. Conservation scientist or forester

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Median pay: $61,340
Entry-level education: bachelor’s degree
Expected job growth: 6%

Working as a conservation scientist might be a good choice for someone who wants to play a direct role in how natural resources are used.

These professionals work with government officials, landowners and others to ensure that activities such as forest harvesting are balanced with the need to preserve natural habitats. Fire prevention and suppression are commonly part of the job.

Nearly a third of conservation scientists are employed by the federal government, the BLS says. State and local governments also are frequent employers.

5. Soil or plant scientist

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Median pay: $69,170
Entry-level education: Bachelor’s degree
Expected job growth: 9%

Soil and plant scientists fall under the umbrella of agricultural and food scientists, all of whom research ways to increase efficiency and improve safety of agricultural products and establishments.

Plant scientists and soil scientists work to improve the quality and productivity of crops. But they do this in different ways. As the BLS notes, plant scientists focus on improving crop yields and controlling pests. Soil scientists work on conserving and managing soil to maximize plant growth.

4. Environmental scientist or specialist

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Median pay: $71,130
Entry-level education: bachelor’s degree
Expected job growth: 11%

Often found in offices and laboratories, environmental scientists and specialists may spend their days analyzing field data obtained by environmental science and protection technicians. Their work typically requires a bachelor’s degree in environmental science or a related scientific field. A master’s degree may be needed to advance.

Environmental scientists and specialists use data to formulate plans to prevent or resolve pollution problems. The are dedicated to protecting human health and the environment. Some specialists focus on areas such as climate change or environmental restoration, according to the BLS.

3. Hydrologist

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Median pay: $79,370
Entry-level education: bachelor’s degree
Expected job growth: 10%

Hydrologists are on the front lines of many water projects. Experts in solving problems of water quality and availability, they test water for pollution, analyze the environmental effects of erosion and consult on the feasibility of hydroelectric dams and irrigation systems, among other jobs.

The BLS says hydrologists may specialize in groundwater or surface water. Often, they work as part of a team of scientists and policymakers.

2. Environmental engineer

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Median pay: $87,620
Entry-level education bachelor’s degree
Expected job growth: 8%

From conducting environmental investigative reports to inspecting facilities for compliance with regulations, environmental engineers are involved in a variety of fronts. These may include advising businesses on cleaning up contaminated areas, designing environmental protection projects and providing technical data for legal cases.

Entry-level jobs require a bachelor’s degree. Also, practical experience, gained through some school programs or perhaps an internship, is valued. Environmental engineers are paid well for their expertise, according to BLS figures.

1. Atmospheric and space scientist

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Median pay: $94,110
Entry-level education: bachelor’s degree
Expected job growth: 12%

Atmospheric and space scientists top the BLS list of high-paying, eco-friendly jobs, and it’s a field with faster than average growth potential.

Meteorologists may have the best-known specialty type within this occupation. But the field also includes climatologists, atmospheric chemists and weather researchers.

It is possible to earn nearly six figures as an atmospheric or space scientist, the BLS reports, and you only need a four-year degree to get started in this line of work.

Can you see yourself working in any of these jobs? Tell us in the comments below or on our Facebook page.

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