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Industrial Ecologist

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Life As an Industrial Ecologist

Career Description Apply principles and processes of natural ecosystems to develop models for efficient industrial systems. Use knowledge from the physical and social sciences to maximize effective use of natural resources in the production and use of goods and services. Examine societal issues and their relationship with both technical systems and the environment.

A Day in the Life of an Industrial Ecologist

  • Plan or conduct studies of the ecological implications of historic or projected changes in industrial processes or development.
  • Perform analyses to determine how human behavior can affect and be affected by changes in the environment.
  • Provide industrial managers with technical materials on environmental issues, regulatory guidelines, or compliance actions.
  • Recommend methods to protect the environment or minimize environmental damage from industrial production practices.
  • Forecast future status or condition of ecosystems, based on changing industrial practices or environmental conditions.
  • Research sources of pollution to determine environmental impact or to develop methods of pollution abatement or control.

What an Industrial Ecologist Should Know

Below is a list of the skills most Industrial Ecologists say are important on the job.

Reading Comprehension: Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.

Critical Thinking: Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Writing: Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.

Active Listening: Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.

Speaking: Talking to others to convey information effectively.

Judgment and Decision Making: Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.

Types of Industrial Ecologist

  • Eco-Industrial Development Consultant
  • Industrial Green Systems Designer
  • Sustainable Systems Analyst
  • Product Development Ecologist
  • Environmental Consultant

Job Opportunities for Industrial Ecologists

There were about 89,500 jobs for Industrial Ecologist in 2016 (in the United States). New jobs are being produced at a rate of 11.1% which is above the national average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 9,900 new jobs for Industrial Ecologist by 2026. Due to new job openings and attrition, there will be an average of 9,500 job openings in this field each year.

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The states with the most job growth for Industrial Ecologist are Utah, Nevada, and Colorado. Watch out if you plan on working in Maine, Alaska, or Maryland. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.

How Much Does an Industrial Ecologist Make?

Industrial Ecologists make between $42,520 and $124,620 a year.

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Industrial Ecologists who work in District of Columbia, California, or Colorado, make the highest salaries.

How much do Industrial Ecologists make in different U.S. states?

State Annual Mean Salary
Alabama $67,630
Alaska $80,220
Arizona $72,150
Arkansas $58,540
California $91,890
Colorado $93,010
Connecticut $83,220
Delaware $59,890
District of Columbia $115,190
Florida $58,790
Georgia $72,860
Hawaii $69,780
Idaho $60,470
Illinois $78,640
Indiana $62,590
Iowa $74,140
Kansas $76,780
Kentucky $51,740
Louisiana $68,570
Maine $67,390
Maryland $77,300
Massachusetts $82,580
Michigan $69,430
Minnesota $74,880
Missouri $53,820
Montana $68,660
Nebraska $61,020
Nevada $63,920
New Hampshire $75,520
New Jersey $80,350
New Mexico $87,200
New York $79,340
North Carolina $64,850
North Dakota $72,860
Ohio $74,750
Oklahoma $65,490
Oregon $77,980
Pennsylvania $74,430
Rhode Island $82,160
South Dakota $61,250
Tennessee $72,470
Texas $80,880
Utah $68,480
Vermont $66,440
Virginia $85,550
Washington $85,090
West Virginia $56,380
Wisconsin $61,030
Wyoming $68,940

Tools & Technologies Used by Industrial Ecologists

Although they’re not necessarily needed for all jobs, the following technologies are used by many Industrial Ecologists:

  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Office
  • Microsoft PowerPoint
  • Web browser software
  • Python
  • Email software
  • SAP
  • Autodesk AutoCAD
  • Adobe Systems Adobe Acrobat
  • Microsoft Visio
  • Microsoft SharePoint
  • Adobe Systems Adobe Photoshop
  • The MathWorks MATLAB
  • SAS
  • Adobe Systems Adobe Illustrator
  • StataCorp Stata
  • Wolfram Research Mathematica
  • STATISTICA
  • ESRI ArcGIS software
  • Online databases

Becoming an Industrial Ecologist

What education is needed to be an Industrial Ecologist?

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What work experience do I need to become an Industrial Ecologist?

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Where do Industrial Ecologists Work?

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Below are examples of industries where Industrial Ecologists work:

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References:

Image Credit: Lynn Betts via Photo by Lynn Betts, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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