Air and water pollution are problems around the world making air and water quality management a vital focus everywhere. Looking to make a difference and have a satisfying career, consider one in air and/or water quality management.
Air and water quality management are two of the largest environmental professions in the world. The more man pollutes, the more essential air and water quality management become. The field of air and water quality management is vast, with many specialties and occupations.
Studying to become an air and water quality management professional requires good math and science skills, for air and water quality management begins with measurement and statistical analysis of air and water quality problems. In addition to classroom work, students of air and water quality management take frequent field trips to get hands-on experience in collecting air and water quality management data. These trips can range from neighborhood corners where air samples are collected and analyzed, to sewage treatment plants, to pristine mountain streams and some of the foulest, most polluted bodies of water. Air and water quality management can be a great career for someone who loves travel and the great outdoors.
Air and water quality management can also be a great career for those who like to work in a clean, orderly environment such as a scientific laboratory. Technicians and scientists spend their time with samples collected in the field, analyzing their contents with mass spectrometers, counters, and other equipment. They also spend a great deal of time creating databases of sample data and analyzing air and water quality trends using statistical modeling software. Computer programming skills are a must to enable creation of new programs that give greater insight into air and water quality management problems.
Good oral and written communication skills are necessary to prepare reports and grant applications, and to present findings and conclusions to groups of air and water quality management colleagues at symposia and other gatherings. Scientific research is always shared generously, and the ability to communicate what one has learned can build one’s reputation in the air and water quality management professional community.
Employers of air and water quality management specialists include government, private industry, and nonprofit organizations. The federal government’s primary employer of air and water quality management specialists is the Environmental Protection Agency, which is responsible for enforcing the Clean Air Act. Each State has a statewide version of the EPA, and most counties do too. Metropolitan areas often have significant air and water quality management departments, and even many of the smallest towns have at least one air and water quality professional. Private companies employ air and water quality management professionals to ensure compliance with applicable laws and regulations. Nonprofits employ air and water quality professionals to work on special interest problems, inform the public, and act as watchdogs over government and private industry entities.
A career in air and water quality management can be exciting, personally rewarding, and lucrative. Salaries for air and water quality management professionals are well above average, for there is a chronic shortage of qualified personnel. Recessions do not effect the employment market for air and water quality management professionals as much as they do other professions, because hiring such professionals is often mandated by law. A career in air and water quality management is thus secure as well as rewarding.