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Environmental Economist

Environmental economists study the effects of environmental policies on the economy. They use economic theory to design economic policies and assess their effects on the environment. Their goal is to help create policies that protect and enhance environmental quality at the lowest cost to society.

Also Known As

Economic Consultant

NOC Codes

In Canada, the federal government groups and organizes occupations based on a National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. This alis occupation may not reflect the entire NOC group it is part of. Data for the NOC group can apply across multiple occupations.

The NOC system is updated every 5 years to reflect changes in the labour market. Government forms and labour market data may group and refer to an occupation differently, depending on the system used.

Here is how this occupation has been classified over time.

2006 NOC

  • 4162: Economists and Economic Policy Researchers and Analysts*

2006 NOC-S

  • E032: Economists and Economic Policy Researchers and Analysts*

2011 NOC

  • 4162: Economists and economic policy researchers and analysts*

2016 NOC

  • 4162: Economists and economic policy researchers and analysts*

2021 NOC

  • 41401: Economists and economic policy researchers and analysts*

*This NOC group is considered similar to the Environmental Economist occupation. Because this occupation is only similar to the NOC group, related details and labour market information may not be accurate.

Updated Mar 22, 2023

Environmental economists research economic and environmental topics and policy options for issues such as:

  • Climate change
  • Alternative fuel use
  • Public and private land use
  • Soil conservation
  • Air and water pollution
  • Endangered species protection
  • Environmental protection and international trade
  • Adopting new technologies to reduce environmental impact

When conducting research, environmental economists:

  • Develop plans for research projects, including information on budgets, goals, deliverables, timelines, and resource requirements
  • Write research proposals and grant applications to obtain private or public funding for studies
  • Gather data from various sources and integrate them into models
  • Develop economic models, forecasts, or scenarios to predict future economic and environmental outcomes
  • Maintain and adjust models as changes and improvements are made
  • Collaborate with professionals in related fields such as the physical and biological sciences

Environmental economists develop programs or policy recommendations to achieve economic and environmental sustainability. They qualify and quantify the benefits and costs of environmental policy alternatives. They suggest options such as renewable energy resources relative to fossil fuel energy. They:

  • Assess the economic costs and benefits of environmental activities, policies, or regulations
  • Assess the environmental costs and benefits of economic activities, policies, or regulations
  • Quantify the economic impacts of environmental policies on different groups
  • Monitor or analyze market and environmental trends
  • Inform policy makers whether environmental policies are feasible
  • Advise on incentives and taxes to modify consumer, producer, and investor behaviour
  • Identify and recommend environmentally friendly business practices

Environmental economists also write reports and deliver presentations to:

  • Share results of economic and environmental studies
  • Explain possible interactions between economic and environmental impacts of future development activities
  • Share policy recommendations
  • Raise awareness of the environmental and economic consequences of proposed policies
  • Prepare briefing notes for management on relevant environmental topics
Working Conditions
Updated Mar 22, 2023
  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg

Environmental economists primarily work in an office setting. They use computers to compile and analyze data. They may work from home. They may need to travel to consult with stakeholders or field professionals.

Working conditions can vary a great deal over the year. Environmental economists may work long hours at key times. For example, they may feel pressure to provide accurate, timely analyses when important decisions need to be made. This may occur when economic or environmental events are affecting business or government.

Interests & Abilities

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2006 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Economists and Economic Policy Researchers and Analysts*

2006 NOC: 4162

*This data is for a NOC group that is similar to the Environmental Economist occupation.

Interest Codes

Interest Codes for This NOC Group

Interest in conducting research and developing models to analyze, explain and forecast economic behaviour and patterns; in devising methods to collect and analyze data; and in studying the nature of money, credit and credit instruments, and the operations of banks and other financial institutions in order to develop monetary policies and forecasts of financial activity


Interest in co-ordinating information to monitor economic data and regional and local economic trend; to forecast the production and consumption of renewable resources and supply, consumption and depletion of non-renewable resources; to forecast production and consumption of specific products and services based on records of past production and consumption and general economic and industry-specific conditions; and to prepare forecasts of income and expenditure, interest rates and exchange rates


Interest in consulting to advise government agencies on policies to increase economic activities; in conducting research on market conditions in local, regional and national areas to set sales and pricing levels for goods and services, and to assess market potential and future trends

Your Interest Codes

To identify or change your interest codes, complete the Interests Exercise in CAREERinsite.

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. 

It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective, and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes for this NOC group is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn About Interests


Typical ability expectations for this NOC group
Your abilities

To fill in or change the values for your abilities, complete the Abilities Exercise in CAREERinsite.

Mental Abilities

General Learning Ability

Verbal Ability

Numerical Ability

Visual Abilities

Spatial Perception

Form Perception

Clerical Perception

Physical Abilities

Motor Coordination

Finger Dexterity

Manual Dexterity

Understanding Abilities

A Quick Guide

You are born with abilities that help you process certain types of information and turn it into action. These abilities influence which skills you can learn more easily.

The abilities or aptitudes shown for this NOC group come from the General Aptitude Test Battery (GATB). The GATB measures 9 aptitudes. It groups them into 3 categories: mental, visual, and physical.

The abilities scores range from 1 to 5, with 5 being stronger.

Learn About Abilities

Traits & Skills
Updated Mar 22, 2023

Environmental economists need:

  • Mathematical, statistical, and analytical skills
  • The ability to use plain language to express complex ideas, in person and on paper
  • An interest in current affairs, public policy, and the environment

They should enjoy working with leading-edge methods and economic models. They should be comfortable advising others. This includes:

  • Analyzing information
  • Making economic forecasts
  • Solving problems
  • Taking part in decision-making with government and business
  • Using a systems thinking approach
Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 22, 2023
  • Minimum Education 6 years post-secondary

Environmental economics is a special type of economics. Students may enter an economics program that includes courses in environmental or ecological economics. Their studies may include courses in business, environmental law, or natural sciences.

Research assistant positions usually require a bachelor’s degree in environmental economics.

Professional environmental economist positions generally require a master of arts (MA) or master of sciences (M.Sc.) degree in economics, environmental economics, or applied economics. Admission to master’s degree programs requires an acceptable average in the last 2 years of a related 4-year bachelor’s degree program. An honours program is preferred.

Teaching positions at the post-secondary level require a doctoral (PhD) degree.

Related Education

The following schools offer programs or courses that are related to this occupation but are not required to enter the field.

To expand or narrow your search for programs related to this occupation, visit Post-Secondary Programs.

Completing a program does not guarantee entrance into an occupation. Before enrolling in an education program, prospective students should look into various sources for education options and employment possibilities. For example, contact associations and employers in this field.

Certification Requirements
Updated Mar 22, 2023
  • Certification Not Regulated

There is currently no provincial legislation regulating this occupation in Alberta.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Mar 22, 2023

Environmental economists work in many sectors of the economy. They most often find jobs with:

  • Large organizations in finance, business, and industry
  • Industry associations
  • Environmental non-government organizations (NGOs)
  • Universities and colleges
  • Government departments and Crown corporations
  • Private consulting firms
  • International organizations
  • Policy think tanks

Many environmental economists work in government sectors or the energy industry. Many are employed as economic consultants. They advise business, industry, government, labour, and others. Some work for consulting firms or are self-employed.

The field of climate policy analysis is growing fast, with many organizations and countries developing climate action goals. Environmental economists will need to constantly update their knowledge and skills to keep up with this rapidly evolving field.

Industry Concentration

This section shows the industries where the majority of people in this occupation work. The data is based on the 2016 Census.

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups.

In the 4162: Economists and economic policy researchers and analysts* occupational group, 76.6% of people work in:

*This data is for a NOC group that is similar to the Environmental Economist occupation.

Employment Outlook

Employment outlook is influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • Time of year (for seasonal jobs)
  • Location in Alberta
  • Employment turnover (when people leave existing positions)
  • Occupational growth (when new positions are created)
  • Size of the occupation
  • Trends and events that affect overall employment, especially in the industry or industries from the previous list

In Alberta, the 4162: Economists and economic policy researchers and analysts* occupational group is expected to have a below-average annual growth of 1.6% from 2019 to 2023. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 39 new positions are forecasted to be created within this occupational group each year.

*This data is for a NOC group that is similar to the Environmental Economist occupation.

NOC groups often include several related occupations. Although there is labour market data for the larger NOC group, this occupation makes up only a part of that group. It means data for this occupation may be different than the data shown. For example, only some of the new positions to be created will be for this occupation. It also applies to other data for the NOC group such as number of people employed.

Source: 2019-2023 Alberta Regional Occupational Demand Outlook

Related Alberta Job Postings
Wage & Salary
Updated Mar 22, 2023

Salaries vary a great deal for environmental economists. They often earn more after promotion to management positions.

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Economists and economic policy researchers and analysts*

2016 NOC: 4162

*This data is for a NOC group that is similar to the Environmental Economist occupation.

Average Wage
Per Hour
Average Salary
Per Year
Average Hours
Per Week
Average Months on Payroll
Survey Methodology Survey Analysis

2021 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey

NOC 4162 Wage Profile

Unless otherwise noted, the data shown here is for all industries and all regions in Alberta.

All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production), and other forms of compensation.

To see the full survey data for this NOC group, visit the wage profile.

Other wage sources
To make an informed wage and salary decision, research other wage sources [pdf] to supplement this data.

B: Good Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

Good Reliability, represents a CV of between 6.01% and 15.00% and/or fewer than 30 survey observations and/or if survey observations represent less than 50% of all estimated employment for the occupation.

Hourly Wage

For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median

Hourly Wage

For full-time and part-time employees
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $21.63 $67.50 $38.63 $36.00
Overall $28.85 $71.43 $46.81 $43.27
Top $36.06 $73.05 $56.41 $59.55

Swipe left and right to view all data. Scroll left and right to view all data.

* All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production) and other forms of compensation.

Pay brackets for hourly wages

  • Starting pay: average pay offered for entry-level positions
  • Overall pay: average pay across all employees in this occupation
  • Top pay: average pay offered to top-paid employees

Industry Information

Other Services (Repair, Personal Services and Related)
Public Administration

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years
Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties
Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months
Vacancy Rate
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Business, Management and Administrative Studies
  • Environment, Forestry and Related Studies
  • Mathematics
  • Social Sciences, Law and Religious Studies
Other Sources of Information
Updated Mar 22, 2023

Canadian Foundation for Economic Education (CFEE) website:

Get information and referrals about career, education, and employment options from Alberta Supports.

Updated Mar 22, 2023. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook, and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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