60+ places your environmental and biological science degree could take you.

I’m often asked about where degrees in environmental or biological sciences can take you.   Being an academic, my own career choice is only an example, and one that represents only a very small percentage of graduates.  Certainly “being a scientist” doesn’t cut it either as the huge range opportunities and possibilities extends well beyond this.

Many work places look for the knowledge and skills gained while studying environmental and biological sciences.  Knowing which careers it could lead to is important, because the way to move from studying or working at a university to getting a job isn’t always obvious and people often change careers and add qualifications.

My friends, colleagues and past students are testament to the diverse careers available – here I’ve compiled a list of real jobs undertaken by people who studied environmental and biology (including natural and life science) degrees.  I’ve indicated the type of degree people had when they began the job (sections), gender (♀♂) and if people did further study during their job (*).  Some just list the employing company, while others describe the role.  Thanks so much to the folk who shared their qualifications and careers with me!

Undergraduate degree

  • Lab analyst looking at water quality/micro algae 
  • Testing computers and programs. Private company 
  • Crime scene investigator. Police force
  • Writing outreach text. World Wildlife Fund (WWF) ♂♀
  • Writing science fiction
  • Policy specialist ♀*
  • Reserve Warden on bird reserve. Wildlife Trust 
  • Weeds officer, including training and working dogs to locate problematic weeds. Government department 
  • Research Assistant plant cell biology project. University 
  • Wildlife ranger 
  • Department of Forestries and Fisheries 
  • Laboratory technician (class set-up). University 
  • Zoo keeper 
  • Research Officer. Wildlife Service 
  • Science museum. Museum ♀*
  • Habitat restoration. Private company 
  • Teaching English and Science to women in a developing country. School 
  • Estuary project officer (writing an estuary management plan) 
  • Looking at statistics to do with cancer. Ministry of Health  
  • Field/Research Officer, broadscale field projects. Museum 
  • Administrative Business Partner for Engineering communications. Google 
  • Technical Officer, taxonomy. Museum 
  • Ecology surveys for threatened plants. Private consultancy 
  • Project Officer for Citizen Science program. Museum 
  • Policy work  (native vegetation). Environment organisation 
  • Researching animal diets by tracking rhinos. Wildlife Service 
  • Administration for plant ecology research group.  University 
  • External quality assessor. Hospital 
  • Geoscientist. Geoscience Australia 
  • Medical microbiologist. Hospital 
  • Soil extension officer. Government 
  • GIS and monitoring officer 
  • Park ranger 
  • Transport planner: providing safe and connected networks for pedestrians and cyclists (behaviour change, road safety, sustainable transport, strategic transport planning).  Government 

Masters degree

  • Dietician/nutritionist. Community sector in preventative health 
  • Fisheries observer. Government 
  • Curriculum manager: project managing teams of academics, designers and programmers to produce and prepare online courses. University 
  • Co-director. Hydrographic surveying company 
  • Fluvial systems officer. Government 
  • Consultant flora ecologist (ecological impact assessment and vegetation management planning) 
  • River management co-ordinator. Government 
  • River geomorphologist managing river rehabilitation projects. Not-for-profit organisation 
  • Project manager for a bush regeneration company and starting an ecological consultancy 
  • Program coordinator: managing sewage and stormwater risks to drinking water catchment. Catchment Authority 
  • Compliance manager

Doctorate

  • Program director, overseeing education team and curriculum that teaches kids sustainability. Not-profit-organisation 
  • Data science, developing artificial intelligence in health care. Government. 
  • Threatened Species Officer (management planning and on ground implementation, monitoring, facilitating community involvement, negotiating with gov/funders on behalf or with community members/traditional owners, data management, database development, mapping, training rangers, helicopters and dancing). Aboriginal Land Council, 
  • Teaching in Conservation and Land Management. TAFE/VET 
  • Pesticide residues chemist
  • Project management with a conservation and sustainable development NGO- reforesting areas 
  • Academic. University. ♂♀ (see my post on interview questions here!)
  • Translating and editing for non-native English speakers to improve publication potential in English-language journals 
  • Science communicator and events coordinator. Museum 
  • Freelance science writer and editor 
  • Outreach and events manager for non-profit company encouraging coding for kids 
  • Lab technician 
  • Research and Monitoring Officer (City Planning) – data (mainly spatial) and information support to the team that write and maintain the plan for the city. Also monitoring key aspect of growth and capacity in the city. Council. 
  • Assess the state of Queensland’s environment to see what was improving/declining. Also using social based marketing to change peoples behaviour in relation to illegal dumping. Department of Environment.
  • Research Officer, working on forest water use and hydrology. Government 
  • Technical officer: genetics (gender and paternity testing for zoo animals, identify bird species in air strike case, species identification for wildlife forensic cases). Museum 
  • Impact assessment and approvals. Government 
  • Domestic climate policy. Government 
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