Environmental contractors perform various types of environmental construction and remediation tasks for the private and public sectors. Such tasks include promoting green construction practices, reviving land area, and cleaning up hazardous materials. Those interested in devoting their lives to helping create a sustainable future should consider this career. Like other environmental specialists and scientists, these workers typically possess a bachelor's degree.
|Required Education||Bachelor's degree|
|Other Requirements||Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certifications|
|Projected Job Growth (2012-2022)||15% (for environmental scientists and specialists, including health)*|
|Median Salary (2014)||$50,086 (for environmental consultants)**|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **PayScale.com
Job Description for an Environmental Contractor
Environmental contractors are usually hired after a building or land area has been deemed unusable or unsafe due to chemical or biological contamination. They perform required restoration or cleanup activities to make the area safe or suitable for use. These contractors may be involved with emergency response teams when natural disasters introduce debris or other contaminants that put the public in danger into the environment.
Environmental contractors also participate in sustainable building projects, including using environmentally-friendly materials and processes to restore existing structures. These practices promote recycling and prevent erosion control. Environmentally-friendly practices also help conserve energy and other natural resources. They also reduce air and water pollution.
Many environmental contractors hold Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) professional credentials, which certify their knowledge of green building practices and the LEED building rating system. Candidates can acquire and maintain credentials, such as the LEED Green Associate or the LEED AP, by taking the required number of continuing education credits and passing the corresponding exam.
Environmental contractors are often responsible for assessing the condition of a contaminated site and determining the actions required to make it safe for use. These assessments may include recommending the removal of hazardous waste, asbestos, and mold. Contractors may oversee the clean up of infectious, biohazard, chemical, or sewage contaminants. They also might be involved in brownfield and Superfund site restoration.
Like environmental engineers, environmental contractors provide clients with solutions to their contamination problems once contamination has occurred. However, the contractor might also advise clients on how to prevent environmental hazards. Contractors should have detailed knowledge of the regulations established by government organizations such as the U.S. Environmental Projection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). They might also recommend ways to restore or renovate infrastructural systems to reduce the system's negative effects on the environment.
Salary Info and Job Outlook
PayScale.com reports that the median salary for environmental consultants as of December 2014 was $50,086. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs in the related fields of environmental science and occupational health and safety are expected to grow in employment by approximately 15% and 7%, respectively, during the decade spanning from 2012 to 2022.