Career Story: Section Chief In State Environmental Regulatory Agency

Section Chief In State Environmental Regulatory Agency

Job Title: Section Chief In State Regulatory Agency

Type of Company: I work for a state regulatory agency. My agency is responsible for administering and enforcing environmental regulations pertaining to solid waste, hazardous waste, air quality, drinking water, waste water, wetlands, floodplains and coastal areas -- basically all environmental protection for the state.

Education: BA Urban Studies, Boston University •• MA Urban Affairs & Environmental Planning, Boston University •• MA Dispute Resolution, UMass-Boston

Previous Experience: I started working in the public policy department of a non-profit environmental organization. After 4 years there, I then worked for 3 years as the Conservation Administrator in a town. After that, I moved to my current position in state government.

Job Tasks: I am a Section Chief in the Wetlands Program, which means I supervise all of the technical staff in my specialty area. I supervise 11 people total. My job includes assigning projects, assisting staff as they analyze hydrological and wetland data, reviewing draft documents, and reviewing and signing any permits that we issue.

Most of our work involves looking at proposed construction projects in or near wetland areas. Staff have to do field work to determine if the work shown on the plan is actually reflected on the ground; determine where the wetland is by using plants and soils; and review hydrologic calculations to determine if stormwater management designs are accurate. All of our work involves figuring out whether the work that is proposed is being done in accordance with state regulations.

My job is to supervise the staff and to review what they do, but I also carry a case load of projects of my own. Our projects can range from additions to single family houses, to large subdivisions containing 50 houses with roadways and drainage, to major highway expansion projects. We regulate all kinds of wetlands -- forested swamps, rivers, small streams, dunes, beaches, ponds and the ocean. In addition, we regulate work in floodplains as well.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: My favorite parts of the job are working directly with staff to puzzle out the technical issues in a particular case, and to figure out what step we should take next. I like the back-and-forth of these discussions, and I enjoy helping my staff learn. Often, I learn something from them as well. I also really enjoy field work, where I get to meet the people who are proposing (and opposing) a particular project.

The worst part of the job is having to respond to demands from other parts of our agency, and having to always educate them about what we do.

Job Tips:
1. Take some math and engineering courses, especially in hydrology.

2. Take some courses in coastal geology.

3. Get some experience by working in an environmental organization, or even better, in municipal government. Understanding how government works is a crucial skill.

4. Work on your communication and conflict resolution skills. These are important in any job, but especially so in a regulatory agency.

Additional Thoughts: My job has a lot of variety. New projects are always coming in, and I spend time outside as well as sitting in front of a computer writing letters and other documents. Working in government requires a commitment to public service. This isn't the kind of career where you make loads of money. However, there are other benefits.

Popular Schools offering Public Policy Programs

quickinfoClick the Visit School Site buttons to go directly to a school's website and learn more about the school and programs it has to offer. School website will open in a new tab. .

Click the Request Info buttons to request more information from a representative at the school

Matching School Ads

Recognized by the U.S. News and World Report for: Best Online Programs, Bachelor’s 2017, Best Online Programs, Grad Education 2017 and Best Online Programs, Bachelor’s for Veterans 2017

  • Programs: Law and Public Policy Certificate
  • Degrees: Certificate

Liberty University provides a world-class education with a solid Christian foundation, equipping men and women with the values, knowledge, and skills essential for success in every aspect of life.

  • Programs: Bachelor of Science: Government: Pre-Law, MA Public Policy: Campaigns and Elections, Bachelor of Science: Government: National Security, more...
  • Degrees: Bachelor, Master

Pursue your education at Ohio Christian University.

  • Programs: Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, Bachelor of Arts in Human Services
  • Degrees: Bachelor
Argosy University
Alameda, Ontario, Orange, San Diego

Welcome to Argosy University

Argosy University offers doctoral, master's, and bachelor's degree programs to students through its eight colleges:  College of Behavioral Sciences, Graduate School of Business and Management, College of Education,  College of Health Sciences, College of Arts and Sciences, College of Creative Arts and Design, College of Clinical Psychology and Western State College of Law at Argosy University as well as certificate programs in many areas.

  • Programs: Human Services (MS)
  • Degrees: Master

Which career path will you take – Business, Nursing, Education, Psychology? Something else? GCU offers more than 100 majors to get you started!

  • Programs: B.A. in Christian Studies with a concentration in Youth Ministry, Ed.D. in Organizational Leadership - Christian Ministry, Master of Public Administration with an Emphasis in Government and Policy
  • Degrees: Bachelor, Doctorate, Master

Syracuse's Master's in Library and Information Science (MLIS) curriculum prepares students for careers in a broad range of settings, including academic institutions, public libraries, corporations, government agencies, and cultural institutions.

  • Programs: MS in Information Management, MS in Library and Information Science
  • Degrees: Master

The MSW@USC is the first top-ranked MSW program offered nationally. Many online programs are limited to certain geographic areas or the availability of courses, making it necessary to travel to campus. Our program can be completed from virtually anywhere without the need to relocate to Southern California.

  • Programs: Doctor of Social Work , Master of Social Work
  • Degrees: Doctorate, Master

#1 Best Online College


Northern Arizona University understands the need for flexibility in your learning journey.

  • Programs: Liberal Arts - BS/BA
  • Degrees: Bachelor

Join the community of thought leaders at University of the Rockies. Pursue your graduate degree from the University’s School of Professional Psychology or School of Organizational Leadership.

  • Programs: MA in Human Services, Mental Health Administration Specialization, MA in Human Services, MA in Human Services, Not-for-Profit Management Specialization
  • Degrees: Master

Founded in 1766, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, is a leading national public research university and the state’s preeminent, comprehensive public institution of higher learning.

  • Programs: Online Master of Information
  • Degrees: Master
Matching School Ads

Additional Career Stories for Urban And Regional Planners

The inside stories from people actually working in the field.
Click a story title to show the story, and click the title again to hide it.

All Types

You are visiting:

Find a school near you

What are Career Stories?

Career Stories are concise, real-world career overviews written by people relating their personal career experiences and wisdom. They provide invaluable insights and mentoring advice to students and career changers.

Most stories include:

  • a typical day or project
  • tips and advice
  • best and worst parts
  • educational background
  • previous experience

Browse hundreds of Career Stories

More Details On This Career

Please also see our detailed information about Urban And Regional Planners, including:

Back to Top
SPEAK TO AN ADVISOR 1.844.285.6104