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Environmental Consultant

Apr 2023
Career of the Month

Key Facts

Starter Salary
Experienced Salary
Working Hours
37-39 hours per week


Environmental consultants study the environment and the impact that humans have on it. Their work is to do with improving the environment and/or minimising environmental damage; they produce solutions to problems that are socially acceptable and economically affordable. Consultants use their scientific knowledge to look at environmental problems, carry out surveys, and research and test their ideas. The data is then analysed and reports are produced with suggested solutions. Environmental consultants work in areas such as planning, conservation, energy, waste management, flood defence and water quality. They might spend some of their time in an office analysing data and writing reports, and some of their time undertaking field work. People who do this work are methodical and analytical with an enquiring mind; they have good problem-solving skills.

What it takes

What it takes:

  • knowledge of geography
  • maths knowledge
  • analytical thinking skills
  • thinking and reasoning skills
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • excellent written communication skills
  • the ability to use your judgement and make decisions
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently
  • problem-solving skills

Day to day

Day to day:

Your 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, landowners or government

You could work in an office or at a client's business.

Your working environment may be outdoors some of the time. You may have to travel widely.


You will need

  • An A-level (or equivalent) in maths, science, geography, or geology
  • A GCSE (4+/A*-C) (or equivalent) in English
  • A GCSE (4+/A*-C) (or equivalent) in maths
  • GCSEs (4+/A*-C) (or equivalent) in at least 2 science subjects (or double science)
  • A degree related to ecology or environmental science

You may need

  • A GCSE (4+/A*-C) (or equivalent) in geography

Academic and Vocational Notes

Environmental consultants may enter with a degree in a relevant subject, such as environmental science/management or ecology. Accredited courses are available. Another route is to start with a broader-based degree in, for example, biology, chemistry or geology, followed by an environment-related postgraduate course. In fact, postgraduate qualifications are increasingly sought by employers.

When researching courses, check the exact content and entry requirements with individual universities before you apply.

Apprenticeships can sometimes provide an entry route. Vacancies are advertised locally, with training providers and on the Government's apprenticeships website.

This is a competitive area of work so any work experience - paid or voluntary - will help when it comes to applying for vacancies.

Work Based Training Notes

Training is on the job usually through a structured graduate training programme or an apprenticeship. You may attend short courses run by professional bodies and perhaps continue with your studies through a specialist postgraduate course.

With the necessary experience, qualifications and competencies it is possible to achieve Chartered Environmentalist status.

With experience you could move into a senior consultant position or even set up your own consultancy.

Other Routes

Whilst these are the usual routes to this career, there can be alternatives. You will be able to discuss these with your adviser.

To learn more about getting into a career as an Environmental Consultant, take a look at our article - Career Focus of the Month: Becoming an Environmental Consultant

Some data provided by NCS. May contain public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0.

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