Environmental consultants advise on sustainability, including waste management, recycling, flood risk and the effects of climate change.
Salary range: £22,000 to £60,000
How to become an environmental consultant
You can get into this job through:
- a university course
- an apprenticeship
You’ll usually need a degree in environmental science, environmental studies or a related subject like:
- agricultural science
It’s becoming more common for employers to ask for a postgraduate qualification, as well as some experience of working in an environmental setting.
You’ll usually need:
- 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree
- a degree in a relevant subject for postgraduate study
- equivalent entry requirements
- student finance for fees and living costs
- university courses and entry requirements
You can start by doing an environmental practitioner degree apprenticeship.
You’ll usually need:
- 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and A levels, or equivalent, for a higher or degree apprenticeship
Volunteering and experience
Volunteering is a great way of getting experience and a taste of environmental work. It will also give you the opportunity to develop your skills and make contacts. You can get experience by:
- volunteering for an environmental charity
- applying for internships
- studying towards a qualification that includes industry experience
Organisations who offer volunteering opportunities include:
As a graduate you could look for postgraduate training opportunities offered through a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP).
In a KTP you would get the opportunity to run a research project together with an industrial organisation and a university or research body. You may also work towards postgraduate qualifications.
Professional and industry bodies
You can join the Society for the Environment for professional development and networking opportunities.
You can discover more about environmental work and training through the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management and the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment.
What it takes
Skills and knowledge
- maths knowledge
- analytical thinking skills
- thinking and reasoning skills
- knowledge of geography
- excellent verbal communication skills
- to be thorough and pay attention to detail
- excellent written communication skills
- ambition and a desire to succeed
- to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently
What you’ll do
Your day-to-day tasks may include:
- exploring the suitability of sites for developments like power stations or wind farms
- working out environment risks from industries like energy or chemical production
- going out to sites to collect contamination data and then analysing it
- writing scientific reports and presenting findings
- reporting organisations that don’t meet environmental laws and regulations
- responding to environmental accidents and managing clean-up operations
- providing advice to industry or government
You could work in an office or at a client’s business.
Your working environment may be you’ll travel often and outdoors some of the time.
Career path and progression
With experience, you could move into an associate role, or senior or principal consultant position. You may also be able to apply for chartered environmentalist status. You can find out more about being a chartered environmentalist from the Society for the Environment.
Other options include lecturing or running your own consultancy business.