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Environmental Chemist

Job Zone

Education
Most occupations in this zone require job specific training (vocational training) related to the occupation (NFQ Levels 5 and 6 or higher), related on-the-job experience, or a relevant professional award.

Related Experience
Previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is required for these occupations. For example, electricians typically complete four years of training in order to perform the job.

Job Training
Employees in these occupations usually need one or two years of training involving both on-the-job experience and informal training with experienced workers. A recognised apprenticeship program may be associated with these occupations.

Job Zone Examples
These occupations usually involve using communication and organisational skills to coordinate, supervise, manage, or train others to accomplish goals. Examples include restaurant managers, electricians, agricultural technicians, legal secretaries, hairdressers, and web developers.

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At a Glance... header image

Examines the presence and impact of certain chemicals in soil and water.


The Work header image

Environmental Chemistry focuses on the chemical aspects of the environment, such as reaction mechanisms of CFCs in the ozone layer, or the effects of pollutants in the atmosphere and waterways. 

Environmental Science, on the other hand, encompasses other areas, such as the biology of maintaining balance in ecosystems or effects on populations of the introduction of alien species, etc. It is much broader, working with environmental issues in the wider context- including environmental law, business or science.

Environmental Chemistry is a good choice for those who intend to work on issues such climate change and controlling human impact i.e. understanding how chemicals move through the environment and their effects on human health and the environment itself. This is done through field and laboratory work, including measurements, data interpretation and computer modelling.

Environmental chemists collect samples of water, soil and air to test. They record what they find and construct reports to share with other team members, employers or clients. They also set up and maintain the equipment used to gather and measure data. They constantly reevaluate their efforts and come up with ways to improve data collection and research methods, as well as establishing effective ways of controlling pollutants.

Employers in this area of work include Regulatory Authorities, (e.g. Councils, Environmental Agencies), environmental consultancies involved in in remediation work (e.g. the clean-up of contamination), contractors and academic positions.

Most career opportunities are with consultancies. A typical career path would be moving up to a management/business development position, or something specifically technical, which is more likely in a larger organisation. Alternatively some people move between all of the main employer types taking on a different role in the contaminated land sector.

 

 


Tasks & Activitiesheader image

The following is a list of the most commonly reported tasks and activities for this occupation

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Provide scientific or technical guidance, support, coordination, or oversight to governmental agencies, environmental programs, industry, or the public.

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Review and implement environmental technical standards, guidelines, policies, and formal regulations that meet all appropriate requirements.

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Collect, synthesize, analyze, manage, and report environmental data, such as pollution emission measurements, atmospheric monitoring measurements, meteorological or mineralogical information, or soil or water samples.

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Communicate scientific or technical information to the public, organizations, or internal audiences through oral briefings, written documents, workshops, conferences, training sessions, or public hearings.

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Provide advice on proper standards and regulations or the development of policies, strategies, or codes of practice for environmental management.

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Prepare charts or graphs from data samples, providing summary information on the environmental relevance of the data.

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Conduct environmental audits or inspections or investigations of violations.

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Monitor effects of pollution or land degradation and recommend means of prevention or control.

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Design or direct studies to obtain technical environmental information about planned projects.

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Analyze data to determine validity, quality, and scientific significance and to interpret correlations between human activities and environmental effects.

Work Activities header image

The following is a list of the most commonly reported work activities in this occupation.

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Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work:  Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.

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Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge:  Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.

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Getting Information:  Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.

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Processing Information:  Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.

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Communicating with Persons Outside Organization:  Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.

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Making Decisions and Solving Problems:  Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.

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Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships:  Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.

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Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events:  Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.

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Analyzing Data or Information:  Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.

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Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates:  Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.


Knowledge header image

The following is a list of the five most commonly reported knowledge areas for this occupation.

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English Language:  Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.

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Mathematics:  Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.

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Law and Government:  Knowledge of laws, legal codes, court procedures, precedents, government regulations, executive orders, agency rules, and the democratic political process.

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Clerical:  Knowledge of administrative and clerical procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office procedures and terminology.

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Customer and Personal Service:  Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.


Skillsheader image

The following is a list of the most commonly reported skills used in this occupation.

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

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Science:   Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.

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

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Speaking:   Talking to others to convey information effectively.

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Monitoring:   Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.

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

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Mathematics:   Using mathematics to solve problems.

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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.

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Active Learning:   Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.

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Complex Problem Solving:   Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.

Entry Routesheader image

A Bachelor of Science Degree in Chemistry (B.Sc.), or a field relevant to the earth sciences is typical for most entry-level environmental jobs.

A B.Sc. in environmental science is typically multidisciplinary, incorporating biology, chemistry, physics and philosophy, with ecology, hydrology and atmospheric science.

 

Last Updated: November, 2014


Related Occupationsheader image

Contactsheader image

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Organisation: Institute of Chemistry of Ireland
  Address: PO Box 9322, Cardiff Lane, Dublin 2.
  Tel:
  Email: Click here
  Url Click here

 

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Thinking of a Career as an Environmental Chemist?

Career Guidance

This occupation is popular with people who have the following Career Interests...


...and for people who like working in the following Career Sectors:

Earth Science & Environment
Chemical, Biomedical & Pharmaceutical Sciences

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