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Work Conditions: Environmental Scientists and Geoscientists




Some environmental scientists and geoscientists spend the majority of their time in an office, but many others divide their time between fieldwork and office or laboratory work. Many environmental scientists, such as environmental ecologists, environmental chemists, and hydrologists, often take field trips that involve physical activity. Environmental scientists in the field may work in warm or cold climates, in all kinds of weather. In their research, they may dig or chip with a hammer, scoop with a net, and carry equipment in a backpack. Oceanographers may spend considerable time at sea on academic research ships. Fieldwork often requires working long hours. Geologists frequently travel to remote field sites by helicopter or four-wheel-drive vehicles and cover large areas on foot. An increasing number of exploration geologists and geophysicists work in foreign countries, sometimes in remote areas and under difficult conditions. Travel often is required to meet with prospective clients or investors.

Environmental scientists and geoscientists in research positions with the Federal Government or in colleges and universities frequently are required to design programs and write grant proposals in order to continue their data collection and research. Environmental scientists and geoscientists in consulting jobs face similar pressures to market their skills and write proposals so that they will have steady work.