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Do you want to work as an environmental toxicologist?

  • Read about the most important info you need to decide on following this career.
  • ​Follow the 7 points below and search for a tertiary institution near you for future studies. If you already are graduated, you may also search through our list of Jobs in the main menu.
  • If you want to PLAN the way you need to prepare, then join our community in step 8 where you will learn everything, while chatting with other potential toxicologists and experts from around the world. Prepare to be amazed!


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UPDATED: 31 August 2020

1. What is an environmental toxicologist?

Environmental toxicologists study the effects that chemicals may have on the environment, including the animals within such an environment.


The first word to describe what became the study of environmental toxicology

Micro plastics?

When plastic substances break down in water to form tiny fragments of plastic

2. What do they do?


Health / Law & Enforcement / Marine Conservation / Wildlife Conservation / Specialists


The primary focus of environmental toxicologists is to sample the soil, water and air within a specific area to find out whether toxins have infiltrated, and are causing harm.

Daily Tasks:

  • Discuss brief with clients
  • Gather samples from the environment
  • Use the laboratory to study the samples
  • Note any toxins and collect further data on how they impact the environment
  • Research effects and write reports on what needs to be done to clear up the toxins
  • Administration and filing

Where they work:

Environment –

Environmental toxicologists may work equal amounts of time indoors and outdoors. They need to collect samples and observe the environment, while processing the samples in a laboratory.

Places of Employment –

Most environmental toxicologists work for research institutions or ecology consultancies, but they may also work for conservation organizations, universities and government.

Average Salary:

On average the income per year is around $60,000. This will differ from country to country.


As their title indicates, they will need to work with toxic material. They may also work long hours and over weekends and holidays to finish work within tight deadlines, as well as travel regularly to conduct tests.

​Future growth and Possibilities:

The future growth for new environmental toxicologists is around 12% per year, which is above average. With the current level of environmental pollution, the need for toxicologists will remain high.

3. Which Skills are required?

The skills required for a career as an environmental ecologist can be divided into two very important groups. The first is the group containing life skills, which are the core skills that are necessary or desirable for full participation in everyday life. The second group is career skills, or the specific skills required to allow a person to enter and operate effectively within a specific career. Some or maybe even all of the life skills can assist in strengthening the career skills, and they might even be the same for specific careers.

Life Skills:

  • Self-awareness
  • Empathy
  • Critical thinking
  • Creative thinking
  • Decision making
  • Problem Solving
  • Effective communication
  • Interpersonal relationship

Career Skills:

  • ​Good business knowledge
  • Basic customer service skills
  • Good health and physical fitness
  • Excellent computer literacy (data capturing and analysis)
Life Skills
Career Skills

4. Which Subjects must I have at School?

The subjects you choose at school are important as they lay the foundation for further studies at college or university. While still at school, it’s also important to learn more about the animals you will work with, as well as gain some experience.

OZT has a list of various tertiary institutions where you can study further, after school. Each of these institutions also have their own Group page on OZT where you will find the exact subjects they require of you to have passed in school. Keep these requirements in mind, and discuss it with your school, guidance counselor and parents to ensure that you are prepared!

5. What will I need to Study?

Minimum Requirements:

To become an environmental toxicologists requires at least a Bachelor’s Degree. As this career can be highly specialized, most students do study further towards a Master’s Degree.


Major –

Choosing the right major is critical to future success, especially when entering a niche market. Subjects can include biology, chemistry, environmental chemistry, ecology, microbiology, botany, entomology, soil science, hydrology, and atmospheric science.

Short Courses –

With such a specialized career, there will always be a need to constantly stay updated through short courses.


The duration of College and Bachelor’s Degrees can be up to 3 or 4 years. Short Courses are usually between a few weeks and a year.

Possible Career Preparation Paths:

If this is your dream career that you want to pursue, then it’s important to plan the way forward.

Why is planning important?

​To ensure that you understand the requirements for your career, and that you are always prepared for the next step on the road towards your dream. A Preparation Path is like your road map to where you want to be.

Possible Paths:

Possible Combined Career Paths:

It is possible to sometimes combine two or more related careers. This normally happens when you study and practice a specific main career, but the knowledge and experience gained also help you to have a paying hobby or secondary income career.

Possible Alternatives (there are a lot more):

Training and apprenticeship:

Even though it is important to study to get into some of the animal careers, most of the skills you will need as a toxicologists will be acquired through practice. This means that you will learn how to perform some of the daily tasks within a laboratory by actually doing it a few times and learning the steps.

In some cases entry level positions require training sessions even before you are allowed to actually perform your job duties. These sessions are offered by the place of employment, after you have successfully applied.

Apprenticeship is also possible where you need to learn skills from a more senior toxicologists or expert.

Join the Environmental Toxicologists Group in STEP 8 to learn more and even interact with the educational institutions that will help you secure your dream career!

Average level of education of all the people who enter the career:

High School Certificate 0%
Diploma or Short Courses 0%
Degree or Higher Studies 0%

6. Licenses, Certificate, Registration and Professional Associations

Certain animal careers require some form of legal certification to prove that you can indeed do the work, and work with the necessary equipment.

Although not required by law, certifications may help workers establish their credentials and enhance their skills.

Learn more about requirements by joining OZT in STEP 8.

Professional Associations:

7. Where can I study further?

All of the above information will help you understand more about the Career, including the fact that there are different paths to take to reach it. But if you are almost done with High School (Grades 11 or 12), you also need to start thinking about further studies, and WHERE you will study.

See the List of Universities, Colleges and Online Training Academies who offer courses towards toxicology.

Environmental Toxicologist Career_opt

8. Join the OZT community

Join us as a special member and learn more about becoming an environmental toxicologist.

Members of the Platform have special access to:

  • Info on the best places where you can study (colleges, universities and online)
  • Expertly designed advice to prepare you for the career, and links to places where you can gain valuable experience. For some career experience is necessary, otherwise you wont get the job!
  • Top notch info on each of the different species you will work with
  • Make friends around the world and share knowledge
  • Compete and win points, badges, games, prizes and certificates. Be the best of the best, while you learn and prepare!

If you have decided on being an Environmental Toxicologist, please click on the JOIN GROUP button. Members will be directed to the Group, while non-members will be assisted to register first.

If this career is NOT the career for you, then you may return to the MAIN CAREER menu, and search for something different.

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Contributions by expert members are always appreciated to allow the Students to make informed decisions. Please add your contribution through the attached Form:

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