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Environmental consultant

Environmental consultants advise on sustainability, including waste management, recycling, flood risk and the effects of climate change.

Annual Salary

£22,000 to £60,000

Average UK salary in 2018 was £29,588
(source Office for National Statistics)

Working hours

37 to 39 a week

You could work: evenings; occasionally

3%
Future employment

There will be 3% more Environmental consultant jobs in 2024.
In your local area

What's it all about?

Day to day tasks

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

Working environment

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.

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • an apprenticeship
University

You'll usually need a degree in environmental science, environmental studies or a related subject like:

  • biology
  • chemistry
  • geoscience
  • ecology
  • 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.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree
  • a degree in a relevant subject for postgraduate study
For more information
Apprenticeship

You can start by doing an environmental practitioner degree apprenticeship.

Entry requirements

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
For more information
Volunteering and work 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:

More information

Career tips

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.

Further information

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.

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.

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You'll need:

  • 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
  • knowledge of English language
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently
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