If you want to make a difference to the world’s eco problems, then why not consider a career in environmental consultancy? You could help businesses reach their green targets, test air, and soil quality.
You might even end up writing policy guidelines for the government. It’s a mixed career with plenty of challenges, and it can be very rewarding, in monetary terms as well as satisfaction. Here’s how you can get started.
Ideally, you will need a Bachelor of Science degree in one of the four sciences. You could also seek out a qualification in something like communications or business development. It can help flex out your skill set, and make you more employable to companies and organizations of all descriptions.
You should aim to work to master’s level, although this isn’t necessary. However, the higher your education takes you, the easier it will be for you to outshine the competition and make a better first impression.
It’s a good idea to get as much experience as you possibly can in the environmental field. Look into your state’s environmental programs to find potential openings. Also, think about contacting private firms – as long as they have green credentials, you will be supporting your studies.
Once you are ready for a full-time job, get one. The chances are that you will have to start at the bottom and work your way up. You should aim to work for around 2-5 years before setting up as a consultant.
Now you have the experience behind you; it’s possible to be taken seriously. There are various organizations that you can work for, such as the Environmental Protection Agency. You will also be able to work in a variety of fields – but it’s best to specialize as early as possible.
For example, if you like the architectural or construction side of your work, you could work with businesses. They would hire you to work with them to ensure that their designs or factory spaces hold up to the latest green policies. One day, you could be checking for leaks and recommending a certain type of rotary shaft seal. The next you could be working with an architect or town planner. The work is highly varied, and completely up to you where you go with it.
Salary & Prospects
An entry level environmental specialist can expect to earn just shy of $40,000. As you progress, this can rise to around $70,000 while top earners can get comfortably into six figures. However, you should consider moving location if you feel you could earn more. Some states will value your consultancy more than others, and there can be a considerable difference in pay scales.
The best paying jobs are, unsurprisingly, in the petroleum and coal industries. In terms of prospects, well, the future’s bright for you – if not everyone else. As the world’s environmental issues continue to progress, there will be more need for consultants. And, we guess it will be your job to make sure there are other people around to help you enjoy your wage increases!