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Alaska Environmental Jobs

environmental jobs photoSustainability is all the buzz and likewise, so are jobs in the environmental monitoring field.  Would you like to spend your day counting caribous crossing a river or moose populations?  Do you know how to measure and read water samples?  Do you want to see if oil is contaminating our environment? Private consulting firms throughout the state hire experienced environmental studies graduates for positions such as technicians, engineers, geologists, biologists, and chemists. 

There are positions for individuals without relevant degrees, but positions are harder to find and available at much lower wages. 

What to Expect

Although most firms are located in Anchorage or Fairbanks, positions will take you out into the field all over the state.  Many firms will provide on-the-job training if the position requires a specific set of skills, but expect to complete the 40 hour Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response Standard (HAZWOPER) certification before you arrive.  This job can be challenging one.  The work wee may be 60 to 70 hours long, the work can be tedious, and without the proper skills the job requires, you may feel overwhelmed.  Locations may also not be ideal.  You may be placed in a native village with a population that isn’t supportive of your work.  Or perhaps you will be working in the oil industry on the North Slope where conditions are harsh at times. 

Compensation and Costs

Given the specialized skills needed for these positions, starting wages range from $20 per hour (for someone without experience and/or a degree) to $35 per hour.  With over 20 hours of overtime, large pier diems while in the field, and paid food and housing, one can save a substantial amount during a season.

Timeline and Tips

Consulting firms being matching applicants to projects in the spring.  However, consulting for North Slope jobs often occur during the winter.   Each company tends to have a careers section that lists jobs by location and by type of position.  Start checking sites for listings several months in advance of your desired start date.  Firms like Weston Solutions (http://www.westonsolutions.com/) allows you to apply for generic future positions at any time.  Other companies, like ABR Environmental Research and Services (http://www.abrinc.com/) are smaller and only have a few job postings on their site.  Thus, it may be better to send them an email to let them know you’re interested in future seasonal positions.  Some companies offer internship and jobs geared at recent college graduates – so check for those opportunities before applying to the general employment pool.  A few companies have recruitment events, so again, check websites like: http://www.urscorp.com and http://www.jacobs.com/ for those announcements.  If you want to make yourself a more desirable candidate, it is recommended that you complete the HAZWOPER certification before applying. Many companies have positions through the world and without a universal site to apply for these jobs; you’ll have to check numerous firms for job opportunities in Alaska.