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Environmental Health Consultant: Job Description, Duties and Outlook

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become an environmental health consultant. Get a quick view of the schooling requirements as well as details about the job description, duties and employment outlook statistics to find out if this is the career for you.

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Environmental scientists, environmental engineers and conservation scientists and foresters are all environmental health professionals. As environmental health consultants they may work with farms, companies and the government to reduce pollution or eliminate environmental hazards. Their tasks can vary from testing air, soil and water quality to testing for pollution to determine the safest way to eliminate waste.

Essential Information

Environmental health consultants help government, farms and companies identify, limit and manage pollution and other environmental hazards. They may design waste management systems, monitor for worker safety or work in a regulatory capacity. Candidates for this position should have a bachelor's degree in an area such as forestry, natural science or environmental engineering.

Required Education A bachelor's degree in forestry, natural science, environmental engineering or a related field
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 11% (environmental scientists & specialists, including health)
7% (conservation scientists & foresters)
12% (environmental engineers)
Median Salary (2015)* $67,460 (for all environmental scientists & specialists, including health)
$61,110 (conservation scientists)
$84,560 (environmental engineers)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Job Description for an Environmental Health Consultant

Environmental health consultants identify sources of pollution and degradation for landowners, real estate developers and government agencies. They perform scientific investigations to discern a property's soil, water and air conditions, monitor for hazards and propose solutions to limit pollution and hazardous conditions.

These consultants can work in a variety of industries and locales. Some specialists assist farms with soil health and erosion control. Some design waste management systems and monitor them for local municipalities. Others perform environmental impact studies to help engineers limit the pollution caused by commercial or industrial structures.

Duties of an Environmental Health Consultant

Environmental health consultants work in both a laboratory setting and in the field. General research and investigative responsibilities include collecting soil and water samples and taking atmospheric measurements. They analyze collected materials for mineral composition and pollution levels. Consultants also develop data collection protocols for future monitoring and propose methods to limit a site's environmental impact. They often draft reports and proposals to present their scientific findings and forecasts.

Additional duties vary by specialty. Environmental health consultants working within the government can monitor water supply and waste removal systems, help formulate environmental policy, perform regulatory site inspections and develop conservation plans. Those working in oil and gas collection and processing environments monitor the facilities to ensure workers are not exposed to hazardous materials. For land developments, environmental consultants gauge subsurface soil conditions to ensure new structures will be stable.

Outlook for an Environmental Health Consultant

Job growth for environmental health consultants is good overall. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projected employment of environmental scientists and specialists (including health) to grow 11% from 2014 to 2024 (www.bls.gov). Jobs for conservation scientists, who work on forests, farms and protected habitats, were projected to increase by 7% over the same decade. The BLS expected environmental engineers to also have a projected 12% growth in employment from 2014 to 2024.

In addition to analytical, investigative and research skills, environmental health consultants should have excellent organizational, communication and critical thinking attributes. The job growth expectations for environmental health consultants from 2014 to 2024 are strong. The minimum education is a bachelor's degree in a relevant field such as natural science or forestry.

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