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STEM And Environmental Careers

environmental career

Do you have a passion for the environment, but you’re unsure of the career opportunities out there? Keep reading to discover just a few of the many environmental careers out there.

The study of science can open up many doors and make some fantastic and fulfilling careers available to you. Here we explore just a few of the environmental career options that you may not have thought about.


If you have an interest in geography, representing data or maps, a career in cartography could be for you. A cartographer is somebody who develops and produces maps. They work to produce complex information in the forms of diagrams, charts, spreadsheets and standard maps.

The use of IT now dominates this role as within map making almost all data is now collected electronically although some physical designs are also still used.

The tasks of a cartographer include designing maps and illustrations, using computers to produce graphs, researching map source data, working with clients and operating specialist equipment and technology.

For a career in cartography you will typically need a degree in a subject such as geographical information systems (GIS), geography, earth sciences or similar. An HND or foundation degree in one of these subjects may also be accepted.

The starting salary for a cartographer may be around £18,000 per year, but at a senior level could be up to £47,000 – a very wide range! This is typically an office-based job, but at a senior level there may be travel involved as there will be more communication with clients.


Meteorologists study the Earth’s atmosphere in order to forecast weather conditions. Meteorologists need good analytical, teamwork, communication and problem solving skills, as well as an interest in weather systems.

The main duties of a meteorologist include recording and analysing data from weather satellites or systems, providing customers with weather reports and forecasts, using specialist computer programmes to make predictions, researching climate change and writing reports.

The role of the meteorologist is specialist and you will typically need a good degree, such as a 2:1 in a subject such as meteorology, mathematics, physical sciences or environmental science. A postgraduate qualification such as a master’s degree or PhD is also beneficial, and may be required by certain employers.

2:1 refers to the classification of degree that you get; in this case upper second class honours

On average, a meteorologist earns between £20,000 to £60,000 per year. As a forecaster, you’ll usually work 30-40 hours per week, with shifts at the weekend too. Mainly work is conducted in an office setting, but you may get the chance to travel around a bit too.


Ecologists study different environments and the organisms within them, often choosing to specialise in a specific environment (i.e. marine or coastal areas) or study specific animals or plants.

Typical duties include carrying out fieldwork, researching human impact on environments, managing wildlife conservation areas and predicting the changing effects of different climates. You might even develop plans for sustaining a healthy climate for local authorities.

To become an ecologist, you’ll usually need a degree in a subject such as conservation biology, ecology, ecological science, environmental science, marine biology or zoology. Some employers may also expect you to be working towards a masters or a PhD in a relevant subject. To increase your employment opportunities, work experience or volunteering may also be worth considering.

An ecologist can earn between £19,000 to £45,000 per year. They typically work between 37-40 hours per week, in a field setting, a laboratory and an office. There’s certainly a wide variety of working environments available! In an office, working hours may be regular – but fieldwork may include longer, more irregular hours.


Oceanography is all about discovering how oceans work and how to make the use of its resources most effective. You’ll use science and mathematics to study and explain many different aspects of the ocean. You could choose to specialise in physical oceanography, chemical oceanography, which is the study of chemicals of the sea, biological oceanography, which is the study of marine organisms or geological oceanography, which involves examining the seabed.

As an oceanographer, you could earn between £18,000 to £55,000 per year. Working hours can vary greatly, depending on the company that you work for. Hours working at sea will be especially irregular, and you could find yourself working at sea for a long time!

Duties include collecting data from the sea, analysing samples, using specialist computer models, attending conferences, writing reports and possibly lecturing at universities.

Usually, a degree in physics, mathematics, chemistry or biology is needed, as well as a postgraduate degree in oceanography. You will also be expected to have studied science or maths at A-level. Entry with an HND or foundation degree may be possible.

Postgraduate courses include master’s degrees and PhDs. These are qualifications that you can take after completing your first / undergraduate degree, which is what you do after A-levels or equivalent Level 3 qualifications.




About Lynette Daly

Lynette is the publishing editor of Moving On magazine. Moving On is devoted to helping young people make good choices for their future – education, qualifications and careers. Moving On really wants to motivate you! Our articles cover a range of topics to inspire and give ideas. Our magazines are delivered free to all schools, colleges and sixth forms in England and is also available online.

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