Environmental consultants solve environmental problems and issues. They have a background in environmental engineering or environmental science and use a combination of sciences, including engineering, biology, chemistry and natural sciences, in order to do their jobs. Typical duties include:
Collecting environmental data for scientific analysis
Analyzing collected samples to determine environmental threats
Provide information on hazards and health risks to governments, businesses or the public
Design and monitor progress of environmental protection projects
Inspect facilities to determine compliance with environmental regulations
Entry-level jobs for environmental consultants require at least a bachelor's degree in a relevant field, like environmental engineering, or natural sciences. Work experience in the environmental field is critical, and most consultants have hands-on experience as environmental scientists or engineers. They typically start their careers as lab technicians, research assistants, or field analysts, and then move up in their field. Additional work experience and education, including a master's degree within a cooperative education program, also leads to job advancement. Important qualities for environmental consultants include:
Problem-solving skills, in order to deal with multiple issues simultaneously
Analytical skills, in order to consider several competing methods and solutions
Reading and writing skills, in order to convey analysis and findings
People and communication skills, in order to work toward a common goal
Environmental Consulting Job Market
The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 15 percent job growth for environmental consultants through 2022. This is faster than average for all occupations. Job growth for professionals inenvironmental project management will see growth working for private firms that monitor environmental concerns and regulatory compliance. Other job growth will come from increased public concern for the environment and environmental demands that come from a growing population. Further growth will come from environmental consultants working with the construction and transportation industries.
Environmental Consulting Job Salary Information
According to the BLS, the average annual median pay for environmental consultants with a science background is about $64,000, and the average pay for consultants with an environmental engineering background is about $81,000. Pay can top out at over $122,000 per year for consultants at the top of their field. The most lucrative industries for environmental consultants are the federal government, architectural and engineering services, scientific and technical consulting services, and local and state governments. Most environmental consultants work full time, and many work overtime, especially if their positions require project management.