Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Green Job Series: Careers in Environmental Remediation [Fourth Installment]

Environmental remediation is an important sector of the green economy. Whether polluted through years of industrial activity or by inadvertent releases of contaminants, land areas and bodies of water must be remediated to restore them to their natural state or to make them suitable for redevelopment.

This installment of The Daily Leap's green job series describes management and business specialist occupations in environmental remediation.

Management and Business Specialist Occupations

Management and business specialists handle the administrative work of an environmental remediation project. These people are typically office workers who plan and organize remediation projects, as well as those who supervise the workers cleaning up a site.

Job Duties

Compliance officers are specialists in the various local, state, and federal laws and regulations involved in environmental remediation. Remediation is highly regulated, so these specialists must be aware of pertinent regulations and ensure that whoever is managing the project is in compliance with them. In addition, remediation work can be hazardous, so the compliance officer must ensure that workers follow safety regulations.

Construction managers coordinate and supervise many of the on-site operations. They oversee construction workers and heavy-equipment operators to ensure a productive and safe work environment. They make sure that jobs are completed on time and on budget with the right amount of tools, equipment, and materials. Many managers also are responsible for obtaining necessary permits and licenses. They often are responsible for multiple projects at a time.

Cost estimators collect and analyze data to estimate the time, money, resources, and labor required for a remediation project. They make allowances for wasted material, bad weather, delays, and other factors that can increase the costs of the project. Cost estimators use sophisticated computer software, including databases, simulations, and mathematical programs.

Emergency management directors coordinate responses to emergencies. They might be called to manage the response to unforeseen events, such as an oil spill or a release of hazardous materials. They coordinate the emergency response to these incidents and begin planning for cleanup and management of the incident.

Natural sciences managers supervise scientific professionals involved in a remediation project. Because remediation involves a variety of technologies, many scientists from different disciplines might be involved in these projects. Natural science managers oversee and coordinate the efforts of these different scientists.

Public relations specialists are responsible for keeping the media and the general public informed about remediation projects. This is especially important if an accident such as an oil spill has caused an area to be polluted. Public relations specialists compile information given to them from others working on the project and present it to the public in a clear and concise way.

Education and Training

Compliance officers have a bachelor's degree in business or a related field, plus knowledge of relevant laws and regulations. Compliance officers also typically undergo moderate-term on-the-job training lasting from 1 month to 1 year. Cost estimators usually enter the field with a bachelor's degree in math, accounting, or a related field.

Construction managers typically require an associate's or bachelor's degree in construction management, or business management with experience in construction. Other construction managers do not have a degree, but have moved into the position through work experience, though this is becoming less common. Natural sciences managers typically have a bachelor's, master's or doctoral degree in one of the natural sciences plus several years of work experience as a scientist. Emergency management directors typically need at least a bachelor's degree plus several years of relevant work experience. They also need a year or more of on-the-job training.

Public relations specialists typically need a bachelor's degree plus excellent written and verbal communications skills. They also need moderate-term on-the-job training.


The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) currently does not have wage data specific to the environmental remediation industry. The table that follows shows wages for selected management and business specialist occupations in the waste management and remediation services industry group for May 2011. The wages shown are median annual wages for the United States as a whole; wages vary by employer and location.

Occupation Median annual wage
Compliance officers $60,370
Construction managers $89,920
Cost estimators $67,680
Emergency management directors $77,690
Natural sciences managers $96,710
Public relations specialists $62,190

For more detailed information on management and business specialist occupations in the environmental remediation industry, follow the Occupational Outlook Handbook link.

No comments:

Post a Comment