When an engineering company wants to build a wastewater treatment plant or other facility, they hire an environmental consultant to conduct studies of the likely environmental impact of the project. This may involve taking measurements of soil, air, and water quality, reading through previous reports, communicating with engineers, and projecting how the ecology of an area might change as a result of the proposed project. The consultant usually compiles the findings into a standardized report called an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), which is then reviewed by government agencies, town planners, and others who must approve of the project. Environmental consultants also check existing buildings, plants, factories, and other facilities to ensure that they remain in compliance with environmental regulations.
Consultants often specialize in one area, such as waste management, water quality, or air quality, and each specialty may require certification. A degree in environmental studies, chemistry, geology, or another related subject is enough to get entry-level work, but you will have more career options with a Master’s or Ph.D. degree.