Environmental consulting can be a highly attractive career path. Environmental consultants can make a real positive impact both on the organization that they work with, as well as the world as a whole. It can also be a lucrative profession. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics the average worker in the Environmental Engineering sector earns a median salary of $78,740 a year.
Environmental consultant provide both public and private organizations with advice on their environmental impact. This include advising on issues such as air quality, water pollution, waste management and developing an environmental policy.
If you want to pursue a career as an environmental consultant here is what you need to do.
Take an inventory of your skill sets
First you want to make sure that the work that you will be doing as an environmental consultant matches your abilities and temperament. As an environmental consultant you will conduct site assessments for contaminations, prepare scientific reports which can be understand by the general public, and keep up to date with current legislation and how it can impact your clients. You will also need to locate potential sources of contamination that will could have an impact on the direct area or the environment as a whole.
Choosing the right course of study
In order to become an environmental consultant you will need at a minimum a Bachelor of Science degree with major in environmental sciences, geology, environmental engineering or related degree. It can be helpful to minor in another field of study which will compliment your major. This could be in construction, computer science or business administration. It can also be a good idea to look for an internship position while you are studying, either in the private sector or as a governmental organization.
While a masters degree is not essential for taking a position as an environmental consultant it can be important if you want to land a high paying or prestigious position. Obtaining a masters degree can enable you to specialize in a particular area such as hazardous waste or air quality control.
Take An Entry Level Position
It is normal not to be able to move into an environmental consulting position immediately after completing your studies. Most environmental consulting roles will require at least a few years of work experience. To obtain this experience you will want to look for work in a related field, such as taking a position as a technician. This will provide you with skills and experience in data gathering and analysis which will prove useful for your later career.
Finally, you should be clear about what type of environmental consulting will match your skills and personality. If you prefer to be out in the field then you may want to work in area where you are required to gather environmental data. If your strengths are towards communications then you may want to go into public facing role in the private sector. If you want to affect policy then a position in government or in lobbying may be appropriate. Environmental consulting has a huge range of opportunities and directions you can take your career, so it’s important that you are aware of all the possibilities available.