There are about 21,000 economists, including environmental economists, working in the United States. Approximately 31 percent work in federal and state government. Many work as researchers at government agencies, such as the Environmental Protection Agency, or international organizations, such as the United Nations, World Bank, and International Monetary Fund. Many environmental economists teach at colleges and universities. Most economics-related jobs are concentrated in large cities like Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, and Washington, D.C., although academic positions are located throughout the United States.
Many environmental economists get started in their careers through internships. Those that do well receive job offers. Ask your school's career services office for help with locating internship opportunities for environmental economics. Professional associations offer career-support resources, including job listings and referrals. Search the job listings sections of organizations such as the American Economic Association, https://www.aeaweb.org/joe, and the Agricultural & Applied Economics Association, http://www.aaea.org/employmentopps.
Advancement for environmental economists depends on their experience, skills, and knowledge, and ambition. Many start as research assistants and after one to two years of successful job performance, advance to become full environmental economists. As they gain more practical work experience, their responsibilities grow. They may handle more complex projects that are more high-level in their company. Those with advanced degrees and years of work experience advance to become managers and directors, overseeing the work of other economists and developing new business for their organization. Many environmental economists become teachers and also write about their work for academic and industry journals and publications.
Tips for Entry
Search for job listings and internship and fellowship opportunities by visiting these Web sites:
Keep up with news and developments in the economics field by reading publications like Business Economics (https://www.palgrave.com/us/journal/11369), American Journal of Agricultural Economics and Applied Economic Perspectives and Policy (http://www.aaea.org/publications), and The American Economic Review (https://www.aeaweb.org/journals/aer).
Conduct an information interview with an environmental economist to learn more about the job. Ask your school's career services office for help in locating someone who is interested in speaking with students about their career.