Job Description of an Environmental Engineering Consultant

Environmental engineering consultants require significant formal education. Learn about the degree programs, job duties, employment growth expectations and salary projections to see if this is the right career for you.

An environmental engineering consultant has expertise in issues relating to the environment, which could include soil, air, water, conservation, or pollution among other topics. They usually have a degree in environmental science or a related field, consulting in order to solve or understand a problem.

Essential Information

Environmental engineering consultants may have broad-based knowledge and experience or be specialized in a particular area of environmental studies like water conservation, air pollution or food contamination. Consultants may work in the field or a laboratory or office setting, helping businesses, organizations and government leaders solve problems. They usually hold degrees in environmental science or another relevant area.

Required Education Bachelor's degree in environmental science or a related area; master's required for managerial positions
Projected Job Growth for Environmental Scientists and Specialists (2014-24)* 11%
Median Salary for Environmental Scientists and Specialists (2015)* $67,460

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

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Job Description of an Environmental Engineering Consultant

Environmental engineering consultants use their expertise to advise corporations, organizations and government entities. Consultants may use different metrics, such as air, food, water or soil, in order to identify and evaluate problems. Additionally, these professionals may be experts in implementing environmental programs or ensuring compliance with government regulations.

Project Summary

Consultants typically begin a project by understanding the problem. This may include fieldwork, such as taking soil samples and monitoring drilling, as well as office work like performing laboratory tests and analyzing data. Consultants may also research specific inquiries like the potential effects of construction or the impact of offshore drilling on marine life. Once the analysis process is complete, consultants present technical assessments and provide solutions and methods for implementation.

Gaining Experience

Entry-level consultants generally begin as field agents or research analysts. As new hires gain experience, they may begin to take on more responsibility, including writing reports, managing projects and meeting with other specialists. Consultants may also use computer applications like Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to map water toxicity and over-fished areas as well as producing other environmental diagrams. GIS software may also be used with environmental statistics and computer modeling to forecast probable outcomes.

Career Outlook

While it doesn't compile figures for consultants in the field, the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), said job opportunities for environmental scientists are expected to grow by 11% between 2014 and 2024. Median annual wages were $67,460 in May 2015.

Entry-level consultants typically have either a bachelor's or master's degree in environmental science or related field. Consultants may be promoted to supervisory or managerial roles by completing a 2-year MBA in environmental management or sustainability.

A position as an environmental engineering consultant could involve working in the field, in a laboratory, or in a business or office setting. These consultants may have specialized knowledge of one particular area, or be knowledgeable about something more broad. Entry into this field may begin with a research or analyst job to gain relevant knowledge and experience.

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