Sustainability Specialist Salary: Your 2024 Guide

Written by Coursera Staff • Updated on

Discover the average pay for a sustainability specialist, including factors that impact yearly earnings.

[Featured Image] A sustainability specialist meets with employees to discuss their company's environmental impact.

According to a 2021 report by Statista, approximately 44 percent of consumers worldwide show a growing preference for brands that demonstrate a strong commitment to sustainability [1].

According to the United Nations, sustainable development entails addressing present needs without undermining the capacity of future generations to fulfill their own needs. Essentially, sustainable development necessitates a company's operational strategies uphold economic, social, and environmental sustainability.

To achieve this target, firms may turn to sustainability specialists. Read on to gain a deeper insight into a sustainability specialist’s salary and job prospects. 

What is a sustainability specialist?

A sustainability specialist will scrutinize a company's operations to pinpoint opportunities for enhancing sustainability. Common work duties that are expected in this role include:

  • Developing policies that govern sustainability practices

  • Training team members on new sustainability initiatives 

  • Reporting on practices that hinder sustainability 

  • Collecting climate and energy data

  • Tracking greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions

Typically, sustainability specialists will work full-time in an office. However, there may be instances where work off-site is necessary. For example, you might have to visit your company's manufacturing facility to ensure the sustainability measures align with your organization's environmental commitments and standards. 

How much does a sustainability specialist make? 

According to multiple job listing sites, the average annual pay for a sustainability specialist ranges from $49,602 to $70,809. The following table lists the salary ranges provided by Zippia, Glassdoor, and Payscale: 

Zippia [2]Glassdoor [3]Payscale [4]

Factors impacting sustainability specialist salary

An array of factors can affect your salary as a sustainability specialist. Below, we'll explore how education, experience, certification, industry, and more can impact your yearly earnings.


Education can be a defining factor in affecting your earning potential. According to Zippia, here is a breakdown of how much sustainability specialists earn annually based on your education level [5].

  • Associate: $43,421

  • Bachelor's: $54,524

  • Master's: $63,717

Note that a bachelor's degree is the most prevalent qualification among sustainability specialists, with 55 percent of professionals holding this credential [5]. Typical fields of study for sustainability specialists include business, environmental science, and sustainability.


Your earnings typically increase in correlation with your experience. Here's the estimated base pay range you can anticipate based on your years of experience as a sustainability specialist, according to Glassdoor [3]:

  • 0–1 year: $46,000–$66,000

  • 1–3 years: $50,000–$74,000

  • 4–6 years: $55,000–$85,000

  • 7–9 years: $57,000–$89,000

  • 10–14 years: $61,000–$98,000

  • 15 or more years: $69,000– $113,000


Skills can be vital in boosting your marketability as a sustainability specialist. Payscale lists the following as key skills for sustainability specialists [4]:


Having relevant certifications can lead to higher earning potential as most organizations are willing to pay a premium for certified sustainability specialists who can effectively contribute to their sustainability efforts. Listed below are some industry-recognized certifications that you may want to consider:

  • IFMA Sustainability Facility Professional (SFP): $95,000 [6]

  • Leed Green Associate Certification: $69,000 [7]

  • Green Globes Professional (GGP): $88,000 [8]

  • Certified Energy Manager (CEM): $95,000 [9


The field you opt to work in can also affect your annual income. According to Glassdoor, here’s a list of the two top-paying industries for sustainability specialists. Note that these average pay figures include base salary as well as additional pay, which might include benefits such as profit sharing and bonuses [3]: 

  • Information technology: $130,623

  • Construction, repair, and maintenance services: $77,334


Earnings can vary notably depending on your geographical location. Certain cities may offer salaries that exceed the average pay. If you are open to relocating, gaining insight into location-specific salaries can aid you in making a well-informed choice. 

Highest-paying cities for sustainability specialists 

The following are top-paying cities for sustainability specialists in the US, according to Zippia [2]:

  • Boston, MA: $67,006

  • Washington, DC: $63,762

  • San Francisco, CA: $62,994

  • Columbia, MD: 62,516

  • New York, NY: $62,347

  • Detroit, MI: $62,020

  • Philadelphia, PA: $61,260

  • Austin, TX: $60,562

Read more: What Is a Good Salary?


Pay can vary between firms, depending on the scope of your responsibilities within the organization. The following list highlights the average total pay of the top-paying companies for sustainability specialists in the US, according to Glassdoor [3]:

  • Cisco Systems: $155,670

  • SLB: $98,571

  • Conagra Brands: $86,156

  • Gensler: $83,162

  • Skidmore, Owings & Merrill: $81,204

Job outlook

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a 6 percent in employment prospects of environmental scientists and specialists between 2022 and 2032, which is faster than the 3 percent average for all job titles in the US [10]. The forecast translates to 6,900 job openings a year, on average, over the next decade.

Along with being a sustainability specialist, you can pursue other jobs within the field. Should you wish to specialize in sustainability, the following job titles may appeal to you: 

1. Sustainability engineer

Average annual base salary (US): $79,254 [11]

Requirements: Bachelor's degree in civil engineering, mechanical engineering, agricultural engineering, or a related field

As a sustainability engineer, you will help ensure your firm’s adherence to environmental policies. You may conduct field tests, participate in audits, and create reports on your company's environmental impact. 

2. Sustainability manager

Average annual base salary (US): $88,713 [12]

Requirements: Bachelor's degree in environmental science, engineering, or business

As a sustainability manager, you may implement eco-friendly strategies in business operations, support ethical sourcing practices for raw materials, supervise community outreach initiatives, and ensure the company's financial well-being by analyzing costs linked to unsustainable activities.

3. Sustainability analyst

Average annual base salary (US): $66,633 [13]

Requirements: Bachelor's degree in environmental science, mathematics, engineering, or related field

As a sustainability analyst, your role involves gathering data and conducting statistical analysis of sustainability indicators. Additionally, you may assist the leadership within your department in appraising novel sustainable programs.  

Get started with Coursera. 

Enhance your understanding of core sustainability principles with IESE, the graduate business school of the University of Navarra’s Strategy and Sustainability course, available on Coursera. This course is intended for beginners to help them understand and develop robust strategies for incorporating sustainability into a firm’s mission-critical operations. You will need approximately 16 hours to finish this course, following which you will earn a sharable certificate. 

Article sources


Statista. “Share of consumers more likely to buy from a brand with a clear commitment to sustainability in 2021, by region,” Accessed February 28, 2024.

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