Science Staffing Agencies
You've got your choice of angles for entering the fields of earth science, environmental science and water science. Whether you're interested in studying coral reefs, managing tree populations, keeping water safe to drink, probing the layers of the Earth's crust, leading park tours, or educating tomorrow's generation of environmental scientists, you're likely to find at least a few entry-level jobs that require only a high-school education and a solid work ethic - along with a broad spectrum of related career paths that demand years of specialized training.
But whatever route you choose to take, you'll need a network of other professionals in your field to help guide you through each step. So here, we'll explain how to start cultivating that network - and how to make effective use of the information you harvest from it.
Survey some societies
You probably already know that environmental conservation is one of today's hottest topics for nonprofit activism - but what you might not know is that plenty of specific professions within environmental work also have their own dedicated societies and associations. Whereas many nonprofit organizations campaign for public awareness of environmental issues - and can often be worthwhile places to inquire about employment, too - it's still worthwhile to seek out professional societies specifically, because they tend to be more heavily focused on helping the career development of members in the fields they represent.
Whereas many nonprofit organizations campaign for public awareness, professional societies tend to focus on their members' career development.
Each professional society provides its own particular range of contributions, and many societies offer exclusive benefits to paying members only. But to give you a general idea, a society dedicated to your own area of environmental interest can likely connect you with mentors and scholarship opportunities, help you earn an official certification that'll qualify you for higher-paying positions, and keep you updated about the latest news and professional gatherings in your subfield.
All it takes to locate societies in your area of environmental work is a few quick Google searches for terms like (for example) "earth science professional association" or "sustainable agriculture society." The American Institute of Professional Geologists, for instance, offers scholarship and career guidance to geology aficionados; the American Meteorological Society provides news and continuing education for atmospheric experts; and the Soil Science Society of America educates and certifies those who study soil.
Even if you don't join a professional society right now - and in fact, depending on how far along you are in your career, the membership benefits may not even be worth the dues to you - you can save yourself time in the long run by bookmarking the websites of societies that look like they might be useful to you eventually. And even at the earliest stages of your environmental career, a society can be a helpful resource for finding out what your next steps ought to be.
Branch out your job search
One of the most obvious places to start an environment-related job search is on USAJobs.gov, the user-friendly website where many federal agencies - including the U.S. National Park Service and the U.S. Forest Service - post job openings and contact information. You can also track down info on state-level agencies by running a Google search for terms like, "California fish and wildlife department, " "Minnesota parks department, " or "Montana forestry division" - substituting the name of your state or province of interest where necessary. Even if your state's sites don't provide online job listings, they'll at least provide contact info for a person who can point you in the right direction.
But government agencies are just the tip of the employment iceberg. As the previous section of this article explained, a wide range of nonprofit organizations also exist to address environmental issues; and in addition, many private agencies - and even some corporations - keep experts in environmental sciences on their payroll. So if you aim to maximize your job-search potential, you'll want to take advantage of two other types of resources: Staffing agencies and job databases.
Staffing agencies (sometimes also known as recruiting agencies or staffing firms) earn a commission on every employee they're able to place in a job with one of their client companies - which means they've got their own motivation to keep looking until they've found you a job. The largest staffing agencies that serve the environmental field - such as Sequence Staffing and Aerotek - cover a variety of different subfields, including engineering, science, construction and resource management. Smaller agencies, on the other hand, focus on particular sections of the field, or on specific geographical regions. Work for Water, for example, recruits for water-related openings; and Alaska Earth Sciences recruits specifically for geology-related jobs in Alaska.