Is becoming an industrial ecologist right for me?
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How to become an Industrial Ecologist
Most employers prefer applicants who have at least an associate’s degree or two years of postsecondary training in a natural science or science-related technology. However, some entry-level positions require just a high school diploma.
Many technical and community colleges offer programs in environmental studies or a related technology, such as remote sensing or geographic information systems (GIS). Associate’s degree programs at community colleges are traditionally designed to provide easy transfer to bachelor’s degree programs at colleges and universities because a bachelor’s degree can be useful for future career advancement. Technical institutes usually offer technical training but provide less theory and general education than community colleges offer.
A well-rounded background in natural sciences is important for environmental science technicians, so students should take courses in chemistry, biology, geology, and physics. Coursework in mathematics, statistics, and computer science also is useful because ecologists routinely do data analysis and modeling.
Many schools offer internships and cooperative-education programs, which help students gain valuable experience while attending school. Internships and cooperative-education experience can enhance the students’ employment prospects.
Most industrial ecologists receive on-the-job training. The length of training varies with the new employee’s level of experience and education. Typically, experienced ecologists teach new employees proper methods and procedures for conducting experiments, inspections, and other tasks. They usually learn about relevant environmental and health regulations and standards as part of their training. Those who have a bachelor’s degree are often able to advance to environmental scientist positions.