How to Become an Enviornmental Management: Career Advice & Information

Overview & Salaries


Environmental management ensures that the natural resources surrounding us—especially those that support us like water and energy—are sustainable for future generations. Environmental managers protect those resources by examining the impact of human activity on the environment, and developing strategies to protect those resources. They also make sure that environmental regulations are followed during new developments or projects.


Annual salaries for environmental managers will vary depending on your experience, education level, and expertise. In 2012, the average annual salary for environmental managers working in the U.S. was $70,770 per year.

For more information on what parts of the country have the most opportunity for environmental managers, click through to our Best Places to Work tab for information on the number of people employed and the average salary in each state.

Discover the Best Cities and States to Work in Environmental Management

California is the leader for employment of environmental managers, with 14,530 earning an annual average salary of $83,210. Texas is second in the nation, where 5,940 positions pay an average salary of $75,450.

The metro areas employing the most environmental managers are:

  • Washington D.C.-Arlington-Alexandria (3,400)
  • Sacramento, CA (2,490)
  • Los Angeles-Long Beach (2,450)

The metro areas employing the highest concentration of environmental managers are:

  • Kennewick, WA (5.14 per thousand jobs)
  • Boulder, CO (5.11 per thousand jobs)

The metro areas employing the best-paid environmental managers are:

  • Framingham, MA (average annual salary $138,480)
  • Ann Arbor, MI (average annual salary $104,060)

Employment and Salary Information for Environmental Managers

Use our interactive map below to find out which areas of the United States are currently experiencing the greatest amount of growth and job availability for graduates looking for a career in environmental management. The associated information has been gathered from Bureau of Labor statistics, representing data collected in 2012.

Why Become An Environmental Manager?

Environmental managers need to be well-educated and engaged with many different areas of knowledge, and also good with people. In other words, they need to develop a lot of different skills. But the rewards of what they do are well worth it:

  • Growing field. Projected to grow at a rate of 15% between 2012 and 2022—faster than the average for all jobs—the strong outlook for environmental managers reflects increasing regulation and concern about the environment.
  • Pays well. An average of $70,770 per year in 2013.
  • Help to save the planet. Protecting the environment for future generations is an important cause. If you care about the environment, this is a great job to have.
  • Know something about everything. Environmental managers need a working knowledge of the science, the law and regulation, how companies do business, and how to manage people. If you have a broad inquiring mind, this job might suit you.

Environmental Management: What You Need To Know

Environmental managers have all kinds of roles.  In government, they examine the environmental impact of new projects, by finding ways to protect the environment and making sure environmental regulations are being followed. Working for companies, they help reduce waste and ensure companies aren’t breaking environmental rules. Environmental managers also educate companies and the public about the importance of protecting the environment.

A working knowledge of these skill sets will help to set you apart from other candidates.

  • Understanding of Environmental Science
  • Knowledge of Environmental Regulation
  • Understanding of Business and Industry
  • Management
  • Communication

Feel like you’ve got a lot to learn? Get more information about environmental management careers, degrees, and applicable courses from one of the schools below.

Degree Options for Environmental Management Careers

Bachelor’s degree

Environmental managers will almost certainly have at least a Bachelor’s degree: probably in environmental science, but possibly in biology, chemistry, geosciences or a related subject.

Master’s degree

Many employers prefer master’s degrees, partly because environmental managers need specialist knowledge and will be managing others.  A number of colleges and universities offer programs in the environmental and natural sciences.

The coursework will likely include general science such as biology, chemistry, and geology, as well as more specific courses such as hydrology, waste management and fluid mechanics. There may also be courses that teach leadership skills, interpersonal communication, budget and finance, and human resource management.