Salary of an Environmental Scientist

March 3, 2016
I would ideally live in Oregon

How much junior-level environmental scientists earn varies by industry.How much junior-level environmental scientists earn varies by industry.


Environmental scientists identify and suggest ways of minimizing problems in the environment. Some propose environmental regulations designed to protect people’s health, while others focus on finding ways of minimizing the impact people have on the environment. Several factors, such as where they work or the industry they work in, affect what junior-level environmental scientists earn.


On average, environmental scientists and specialists earn about $61, 700 a year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Salary calculations at, which lists the average yearly salary for an entry-level environmental scientist at $63, 000, back up these numbers. Most environmental scientists work full-time and, when working in the field, may work even longer or more irregular hours.

Regional Differences

More environmental scientists work in California, Texas, Florida, North Carolina and Washington than elsewhere in the United Sates. However, those who work in Washington, D.C., Rhode Island, Washington, Virginia and California earn the most, according to the BLS. Environmental scientists who work in large metropolitan areas, such as in Framingham, Mass., Ann Arbor, Mich., San Francisco and Washington, D.C., earn more than those who work in smaller cities.

Related Reading: The Average Starting Salaries for Environmental Scientists

Contributing Factors

Most junior-level environmental scientists start out working primarily in the field as analysts or as research assistants or in laboratories and offices as technicians. As they gain experience and shift into supervisory, management and leadership positions, their salaries should increase. The industries junior-level environmental scientists work in also affects their salaries. For example, those who work in the oil and gas extraction industry earn more than those who work for the federal government or in petroleum and coal product manufacturing.

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Meet Chantal, environmental scientist
Meet Chantal, environmental scientist

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