Environmental Project Manager Job Profile

Environmental project managers are the people in charge of projects dealing with environmental issues. They're professional managers of a diverse range of experts like hydrologists, engineers, and environmental scientists. The projects they manage are the repair jobs on the world which are in ever increasing demand.

The Work Environment

Environmental projects can range from local  damage control jobs to major ecological issues and disaster recovery. Much of this work is funded and overseen by public sector or government agencies. In some cases, environmental projects are initiated by top level government policy, such as clean waters policies, land rehabilitation, and native forest regeneration.

This is project management in the strictest sense of the description. Environmental projects may be individual projects, or part of a suite of programs for environmental management.

Environmental project management has been expanding conceptually, as well as expanding literally in the employment market with a US job growth rate of 11% annually. Sustainability in agriculture, land use and environmental management is now a major emerging project sector in the field.

Representative tasks of environmental management include:

  • Forest regeneration
  • Wetland management
  • Sustainable land use projects
  • Agricultural projects
  • Decontamination of industrial sites and landfills
  • Water quality and river management programs
  • Invasive species programs
  • Marine ecology projects
  • Animal conservation projects
  • Endangered species programs
  • Ecological reconstruction
  • Oil spills recovery programs

This is a very responsible role, particularly in difficult projects which involve serious environmental issues. The environmental project manager is both manager and the resident operational expert, working with diverse levels of professional scientists, researchers and contractors. The manager operates as a business manager, coordinator, and the person responsible for the success of the project. The manager is also responsible for the financial management of the project and its operational efficiency.

Projects are operated as individual operations, either within an organizational structure like an Environmental Protection Agency, or as unique projects like recovery programs from natural or man made disasters. Project managers are necessarily specialists in particular areas of environmental management, and have a range of qualifications matching their projects. 

Wages: Median salary $77,400 to $119,000. (Salaries for projects are budget based.)

Hours: Very variable, depending on the location and nature of the work.

The Career Environment

This is a career which includes a very wide range of potentials for further development. The career progression in this field can be complex, and there are several criteria which define how career progression is achieved.  In career terms, environmental project managers may come from a range of professional origins. Some are government officials specializing in environmental management, others are environmental experts from specialist fields.

These different origins define the career paths for individual as environmental project managers. The basic career path concept is that project management roles are significant professional credentials. They can lead to consultancy roles, and in some cases to senior policy administration roles in the public sector.

As career roles, environmental project management also falls within the range of professional project management. Career advancement can be a straightforward developmental process of progression through specialist management expertise.