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Air Quality Specialist: Job Description & Salary

Air quality is essential for people to be able to survive, but it is affected by things people use every day, such as vehicles. Air quality specialists help determine how to prevent or limit pollution. Read on to learn more about this career.

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Career Definition of an Air Quality Specialist

Air quality specialists play a vital role in ensuring that the air we breathe is not dangerous. Their work can involve enforcing regulations concerning things that can adversely affect air quality, such as vehicle emissions or emissions from factories.

Air quality specialists may spend a lot of time in the field performing tests and gathering data related to air quality. They use this information to ensure regulations regarding air quality are being followed. These specialists also must prepare technical reports and make presentations or recommendations to organizations or companies based on their findings.

Educational Requirements Bachelor's degree
Job Skills Ability to use testing equipment, capable of lifting up to 50 lbs, data collection and analysis, communication skills, organizational skills, driving (valid driver's license)
Median Salary (2017)* $62,145
Job Outlook (2014-2024)** 11% (environmental scientists and specialists)

Sources: *PayScale.com; **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Required Education

Air quality specialists typically need to have a bachelor's degree. In some cases, it may be possible to start out in an entry-level position with an associate's degree but a bachelor's degree will usually be required for advancement. The most common degree options to prepare for this career include environmental science or a natural science subject, such as biology. Like other environmental scientists and specialists, completing courses in environmental policy and environmental regulations may be beneficial, since air quality specialists are responsible for enforcing regulations.

Required Skills

Air quality specialists must have good analytical skills since their work involves processing a lot of data that is used to support recommendations they make. They are usually required to have a valid driver's license, since travel is a regular part of their work. Since they must also bend over or lift equipment, it's important for air quality specialists to be reasonably fit and capable of lifting up to 50 pounds. Their duties can also involve talking to local companies about air quality issues, so good communication skills are important in this job.

Career and Salary Outlook

From 2014 to 2024, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expects environmental scientists and specialists will see an 11% rate of job growth. This occupational category includes air quality specialists. The 11% rate is notably higher than the national job growth average for all occupations, which is expected to be 7% during the same time period. In 2017, PayScale.com reported that air quality specialists earned a median salary of $62,145 per year.

Related Careers

Since air quality specialists play a key role in protecting the environment, those interested in this career field may also be interested in other environmental careers. This list of links leads to more information about the work that climate change analysts, environmental technicians and water conservation specialists do. These occupations share some similar duties with air quality specialists, such as testing samples and compiling data concerning the environment.

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