Environmental Restoration Planners


Education and Training Requirements

High School

Environmental restoration planners have a strong background in math, science, and communications. Take classes in math, biology, ecology, geology, natural sciences, environmental studies, history, political science, English, and computer software and design programs.

Postsecondary Training

A bachelor's degree is the minimum requirement for most environmental restoration planning jobs. Degree fields vary but are usually in environmental science or a related field, such as biology, chemistry, ecological restoration, or geosciences. Many environmental restoration planners have a master's degree in environmental science, marine sciences, environmental health, environmental chemistry, or similar fields.

The Society for Ecological Restoration offers a list of colleges and universities that offer training in ecological restoration at https://www.ser.org/page/AcademicPrograms. 

Other Education or Training

Environmental restoration planners may pursue ongoing education through organizations such as the American Planning Association, Canadian Institute of Planners, the Society for Ecological Restoration, among others. Contact these organizations for further information.

Certification, Licensing, and Special Requirements

Certification or Licensing

Certification is voluntary and can broaden the work opportunities for environmental restoration planners. The Society for Ecological Restoration offers two types of certifications: the certified ecological restoration practitioners (CERPs) and the certified ecological restoration practitioners-in-training (CERPITs). Senior-level environmental restoration professionals who meet work experience requirements may be qualified for the CERP designation, whereas recent graduates and those with less work experience may qualify for the CERPIT designation. Further information is available at http://www.ser.org/page/CERPProgramOverview. The American Institute of Certified Planners, a division of the American Planning Institute, offers certification, with more details at https://www.planning.org/certification. Environmental restoration planners may also receive the certified environmental professional (CEP) designation through the Academy of Board Certified Environmental Professionals (a subsidiary of the National Association of Environmental Professionals). Learn more at https://www.abcep.org/certification. 

Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits

Many employers prefer to hire environmental restoration planners who have a master's degree and several years of work experience.

The job requires close attention to detail, organizational skills, and the ability to work independently as well as in a team. Planners must be able to set up and monitor testing equipment and use lab equipment to analyze environmental samples such as soil, ground water, and emissions. They are good at gathering information from different sources, evaluating this information, identifying problems, and working closely with others to come up with the best solutions and plans. Successful restoration planners have a solid grasp of environmental laws and regulations and remediation plans for environmental compliance. They have clear communication skills and are able to express their findings and ideas both in writing and verbally, whether by e-mail, telephone, or in-person meetings and presentations.