Environmental Policy Consultant Careers

Career Overview

Environmental issues are a growing concern among government officials, businesses, and the non-profit sector. Political science students interested in protecting and preserving the earth for future generations will find environmental policy consultant jobs in many areas. As science and research sheds light on how certain practices may damage the health of the environment, organizations and politicians need direction on best practices. Environmental policy consultants offer insight, direction, and scientific interpretation to any organization whose actions may affect the environment.

Specializations and Places of Work

There are many areas of specialty for the environmental policy consultant. Among these are air quality control, biodiversity and natural habitats, water resource management, construction, and urban planning. Each specialty focuses on specific environmental issues that directly arise from those fields.
Careers are available with many groups both public and private. Work environments are diverse, and will rely on the nature of the position. Some situations require an employee to spend a great deal of time outdoors on construction sites, plant operations, or out in remote wilderness camps. Other times the consultant will work in labs, corporate settings, or government buildings in large metro areas.

Roles and Responsibilities

An environmental policy consultant’s role will include a variety of responsibilities. Many times the nature of the work begins in the planning stage of a given project. It is here that an environmental policy consultant will consider how the undertaking will impact the environment, identifying any problems that may arise, and offering solutions to these problems.

They will determine best practices, and advise what steps to take to ensure compliance. Legal issues and cost-benefits will also be a consideration. Consultants may also be called upon to act on behalf of their employer by participating in presentations to politicians, voters, committees, boards, and other stakeholders in a project.

Education and Training

An undergraduate degree is essential for the student wishing to become a consultant. The nature of the job requires that the graduate is an expert in the field. Students are encouraged to consider which area fits their career goals and focus their education in that field. For the policy consultant who wishes to become a government policy advisor, a degree in political science is a reasonable choice.

Beyond the undergraduate degree, most students will continue with a graduate program supplemented by internships and field training. Because laws change over time, science improves, and new practices and solutions arise, training will likely continue throughout one’s career.

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Salary Information and Job Outlook

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicates that consultants in scientific, and technical careers can expect income that may exceed $120,000 annual salary. This figure largely depends on the organization the consultant works with. It’s also true that consultants with higher levels of education are viewed as having gained a greater degree of expertise. Most organizations reward highly educated employees with better salaries and benefits.

The job outlook for the environmental policy consultant is mixed according to the BLS. While it is true that this is a growing field, many firms are considering candidates from the global marketplace. Outsourcing is not uncommon as companies continue to find ways to reduce costs. The BLS also considers this to be a highly competitive industry, therefore, only the most qualified candidates are likely considered for a position.

General Resources


Career Specialties