According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, environmental consultants are in high demand today. These are professionals whose work pertains to the environment. Their duty is to formulate and monitor environmental policies. In addition, they conduct environmental audits by testing soil and air samples.
These skills are highly sought after by governments and businesses who want either to go green, or to comply with environmental regulations. They are also sought after by people who are keen on entering a lucrative career.
If you are one of them, here is how to start an environmental consulting business in six easy steps:
Step 1: Earn a Bachelor’s Degree.
Earning a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree is your first step on your journey to becoming an environmental consultant. Both the degree and the profession have a science basis, which is why they go together. Choose a degree in environmental science, chemistry, biology, or geology.
Step 2: Work as an Intern at an Environmental Consulting Firm.
As you pursue your degree, or during summer breaks, try working as an intern at a private or government environmental consulting firm. During the internship, you will get first hand experience on what your profession entails by working on environmental projects.
You will help plan projects, do research, make presentations, and conduct laboratory testing on environmental samples. These skills – and the contacts you make – will prove valuable once you graduate. They make getting a job much easier.
Step 3: Work in a Related Field.
Upon graduation, apply for an environmental consulting job. Because most jobs are open to people with 2 to 5 years or work experience, you should apply to work as a technician or field consultant. These entry level jobs give you time to gather the necessary experience and work your way up. They involve environmental analysis, which involves gathering, analyzing and processing environmental data usually from soil and air samples.
Step 4: Take a GRE (Graduate Record Examination) Test.
Like in all fields, having a bachelor’s degree is not enough to get you up the corporate ladder. You might have to further your studies to increase your competitiveness. However, before you pursue the master’s degree, you have to take a GRE test. Since environmental consulting is a science-based career, make sure you get good grades on the science sections.
Step 5: Earn a Master’s Degree.
After passing the GRE, you are now free to pursue a Master of Science (MS) degree in environmental science. It lets you specialize in a specific area of environmental consulting such as hazardous waste, or land-use planning to name a few. An extra master’s program can become necessary depending on the business or industrial sector you intend to enter.
In such a case, you can study a master’s in communication, or public relations. Even better, you can do an online master’s in Geographic Information Science and Technology (GIST) degree. This program, which is offered by University of Southern California among others, uses geospatial technologies to address major global challenges such as the environment. A master’s program will take you about 2 to 3 years to complete.
Step 6: Find Consulting Gigs.
Now that you have covered all your bases – you have a BS, MS, and work experience – it’s time to look for consultant jobs. If you’re seeking for government contracts, apply to an agency such as the Environmental Protection Agency. Here, you will help the state formulate and monitor environmental policies. But if you want to work in the private sector, there are many agencies with jobs available for you.
Environmental consultancy is a lucrative and fast growing field. As a result, many people are rushing to join this profession. Environmental policies will need to be implemented and people with the right expertise will be needed to be consulted to come to the best conclusions. So, if you were interested in starting your own consulting business, make sure that you apply the steps in this article and see if this field is truly for you.