Is becoming an industrial ecologist right for me?

The first step to choosing a career is to make sure you are actually willing to commit to pursuing the career. You don’t want to waste your time doing something you don’t want to do. If you’re new here, you should read about:

What do industrial ecologists do?
Career Satisfaction
Are industrial ecologists happy with their careers?
What are industrial ecologists like?

Still unsure if becoming an industrial ecologist is the right career path? to find out if this career is right for you. Perhaps you are well-suited to become an industrial ecologist or another similar career!

Described by our users as being “shockingly accurate”, you might discover careers you haven’t thought of before.

How to become an Industrial Ecologist

To become an industrial ecologist, you can follow these general steps:

  • Obtain a Relevant Education: Start by earning a Bachelor's Degree in Environmental Studies, Environmental Science, Environmental Engineering, or Ecology. Some universities may offer specific programs or concentrations in industrial ecology or environmental management that can provide a solid foundation for this career path. Consider taking courses that cover topics such as environmental impact assessment, industrial systems analysis, resource management, and sustainable practices.
  • Gain Professional Experience: Look for opportunities to gain practical experience in the field of industrial ecology. This can be done through internships, research assistantships, or entry-level positions in environmental consulting firms, government agencies, or non-profit organizations. Seek out experiences that allow you to work on projects related to industrial sustainability, environmental impact assessment, or resource efficiency.
  • Pursue Advanced Education (Optional): While not always necessary, pursuing a master's or doctoral degree in a relevant field can enhance your knowledge and career prospects in industrial ecology. Advanced degrees can provide more in-depth understanding of the subject matter and open up opportunities for research and specialized positions.
  • Develop Technical Skills: Industrial ecologists need to be proficient in various technical skills and tools. These may include data analysis and modeling, life cycle assessment software, geographic information systems (GIS), and environmental impact assessment methodologies. Acquiring these skills through coursework, workshops, or self-study can enhance your qualifications as an industrial ecologist.
  • Stay Updated on Industry Developments: Stay current with advancements in industrial ecology, sustainable practices, and environmental regulations. This can be achieved through attending conferences, participating in professional organizations and networks, reading industry publications, and engaging in continuous learning.
  • Seek Certifications (Optional): There are voluntary certifications available that can validate your expertise in environmental management and sustainability, such as the Certified Industrial Ecologist (CIE) certification offered by the American Academy of Environmental Engineers and Scientists (AAEES). While not mandatory, these certifications can enhance your professional credibility and demonstrate your commitment to the field.
  • Build a Professional Network: Networking is crucial in any field. Connect with professionals working in industrial ecology, attend industry events, and join relevant professional associations or societies. Networking can lead to valuable opportunities, collaborations, and career advancement.
  • Pursue Career Opportunities: Look for job openings in environmental consulting firms, government agencies, research institutions, industries with sustainability initiatives, and non-profit organizations focused on environmental stewardship. Tailor your resume and cover letter to highlight relevant coursework, experience, and skills in industrial ecology.

The following certifications may have specific eligibility criteria, such as educational qualifications and professional experience, and require passing a certification exam. Additionally, requirements for maintaining certification through continuing education or recertification may vary.

  • Certified Environmental Professional (CEP): Offered by the Academy of Board Certified Environmental Professionals (ABCEP), this certification is designed for professionals with comprehensive knowledge and experience in environmental management. It covers various aspects of environmental planning, assessment, and compliance, which are relevant to the work of industrial ecologists.
  • Certified Industrial Hygienist (CIH): Administered by the American Board of Industrial Hygiene (ABIH), this certification focuses on occupational health and safety, including assessing and managing environmental hazards in industrial settings. Industrial ecologists may find this certification valuable, as it covers topics related to industrial processes and their potential impacts on human health and the environment.
  • Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Certifications: Offered by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), LEED certifications demonstrate expertise in sustainable building practices. While specifically targeting the construction industry, LEED certifications can be beneficial for industrial ecologists involved in sustainable building design, resource management, and environmental assessment.
  • Sustainable Facilities Professional (SFP): Provided by the International Facility Management Association (IFMA), the SFP certification focuses on sustainable facility management practices. Industrial ecologists working in industrial facilities or involved in the management of sustainability initiatives may find this certification relevant.
  • Certified Energy Manager (CEM): Offered by the Association of Energy Engineers (AEE), this certification is geared toward professionals involved in energy management and efficiency. As energy conservation and efficiency are key considerations in industrial ecology, this certification can be beneficial for industrial ecologists working in energy-intensive industries or focusing on energy-related sustainability practices.