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How to Become an Environmental Waste Auditor

Learn about what is required to start a career as an environmental waste auditor. Read on for information on the education, experience, and certification requirements for this job.

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Should I Become an Environmental Waste Auditor?

Environmental waste auditors often work for the government, but many act as compliance officers for private companies. They may also work as third-party consultants who offer recommendations on company strategies for handling environmental waste. Most auditors review reports, inspect premises and interview workers to determine whether federal and state standards are being met and what improvements are needed, if any.

Most auditors, including those who specialize in environmental waste, work full-time, occasionally with longer hours. Work hours are spent both in an office setting and in the field, completing site evaluations. Most auditors work independently.

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Career Requirements

Degree Level Bachelor's degree
Degree Field Environmental technology or a related field
Licensure and Certification Not required, but available from the International Register of Certified Auditors (IRCA) or the Board of Environmental, Health and Safety Auditor Certification (BEAC)
Key Skills Strong communication skills, presentation skills, mathematical ability, analytical and problem-solving skills; familiarity with Microsoft Office and related word processing and spreadsheet software; ability to bend, kneel and work in small spaces and remain on feet for extended periods
Salary $65,940 (Median annual salary for accountants and auditors in May 2014)

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Online job postings.

Step 1: Earn a Bachelor's Degree

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) states that most accountant and auditor positions require a bachelor's degree (www.bls.gov). Suitable degrees for aspiring environmental waste auditors include undergraduate programs in environmental health sciences or environmental technology. Coursework usually includes several courses in advanced math, chemistry and biology. Students also receive training about current industry trends, hazardous waste safety and environmental legislation.

Step 2: Obtain Computer Skills

In August 2015 job postings for environmental waste auditors listed on CareerBuilder.com showed employers often expected applicants to have computer skills. Employers often look for applicants to have experience using Microsoft Office software, such as Word and Excel. Students may have the opportunity to take computer courses during their undergraduate studies, but schools also offer individual training classes in basic computer skills and common office applications.

Step 3: Improve Communication Skills

Employers posting job listings for environmental waste auditors on CareerBuilder.com in August 2015 also commonly required auditors to possess strong interpersonal skills for communicating with personnel and the public. Auditors must be able to communicate effectively with workers to find out if procedures are being followed in relation to environmental waste handling. They must also discuss their findings in formal meetings and clearly explain any problems that need to be addressed.

Step 4: Gain Experience

Employers may prefer or even require job applicants to have previous experience in their industry. This experience can give the auditor a familiarity with the operation and organization of a business in that field. Environmental waste auditors can gain initial experience by working as assistants to established auditors or as environmental monitors.

Step 5: Pursue Certification

Although not required, earning credentials can provide additional job opportunities. Trade organizations, such as the International Register of Certified Auditors (IRCA) or the Board of Environmental, Health and Safety Auditor Certification (BEAC), provide several certification programs. For instance, IRCA offers credential programs for multiple grades of auditors, including internal, provisional and lead. BEAC provides an environmental compliance certification that covers five different areas, such as environmental legislation and techniques for reporting findings to the media.

Most credential-granting organizations have eligibility requirements, such as possessing a certain degree of education and having previous auditing experience. Some organizations, like IRCA, may require applicants to obtain sponsorship prior to submitting the application. Several groups offer training for the certification exam. Certification renewal usually involves participating in continued education courses on a yearly basis.

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