Back to Career Explorer

Environmental Physicist

Environmental physicists learn how environmental factors influence earth, water and atmosphere. They use math to explain patterns they see in nature. They consider energy conservation, water concentration, nutrients, air, and both man-made and natural materials. This helps physicists learn the laws that govern nature in order to better explain environmental systems and how people impact those systems.

Environmental Physicist

An environmental physicist typically focuses on research. In their daily work, they may collect soil, air and water samples, run experiments, develop plans to help prevent or mitigate pollution, and work collaboratively with others. They often work with data to solve problems and learn how the environment works. They work in teams and have lots of opportunities to collaborate with people in the same or different fields.

One of the most important skills in environmental physics is an advanced knowledge in math. This is because physicists frequently use theoretical approaches and must be able to integrate math to describe the physical property of whatever aspect of the environment they are studying. They also need to be good problem solvers and be able to think outside the box since they are often faced with challenging scenarios.

In order to become an environmental physicist a Master’s Degree is expected, although you will be able to find jobs with a Bachelor’s Degree. In college, the major will focus on science and math with core courses in physics. Computer science experience is also extremely important as physicists often work with computers to compile and analyze data. Looking into the environmental aspect of physics, it is good to have taken natural sciences and biology.

The job outlook for environmental sciences is increasing at a 5% rate, which is considered an average increase. The median pay is $76,530 per year and $36.79 per hour. This job pays the highest when the person works for the federal government with a median annual wage of $103,530. The lowest median wage is for the state government, working full time for $67,710 a year.