How do I become an Environmental Consultant in Australia

Industries such as mining, land development, and construction are essential for our society’s growth and advancement. However, they can have negative impacts on the environment, such as waste and pollution.

An Environmental Consultant is a broad term to identify the experts whose job function is to ensure that their clients abide by all environmental regulations, promote best practice and design solutions that minimise and manage these negative impacts to protect the environment and human health.

Environmental Science careers are in demand in Australia, with the industry expected to grow from 25,300 people working in the industry to 28,100 between 2018 and 2023.

Educational Pathway

To become an Environmental Consultant in Australia, students should take English, Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, and Biology during secondary education. These are typically prerequisite subjects for further education in either engineering or science. After completing secondary education, students can pursue a Bachelor of Engineering (majoring in Environmental Engineering) or Bachelor of Science (majoring in Environmental Science, Geology, Contaminated Land, Geophysics, or similar) degree at an Australian university.

After completing an undergraduate degree, students may choose to pursue a postgraduate degree, such as a Master of Engineering Science or Environmental Science. Postgraduate qualifications can provide students with industry-relevant skills, help them become experts in a certain topic, and network with industry peers.

Environmental engineering

Professional Development

Many professional organisations and associations are available for both engineering and science students to join as student members, including the Australasian Land & Groundwater Association (ALGA) and the Australian Contaminated Land Consultants Association (ACLCA). These organisations promote best practices within the environmental consulting industry and support continued professional development for environmental consultants.

At Douglas Partners, many Environmental Consultants undertake postgraduate studies as professionals and seek Certified Environmental Practitioner certification (CEnvP) status, a globally recognised indicator of excellence and commitment to continued professional development.

Illustration of three environmental consultants, shrunk down to the size of a test tube, undergoing scientific studies.

Career Pathway

Environmental Consultants can work in various settings, including residential (sub-divisions), commercial, industrial, boat harbours, recreational areas, bush, rail defense, usually dependent on their level of experience. Graduates usually spend most of their time doing fieldwork in the early stages of their career to build foundational knowledge and understand how scientific principles interact with real-world scenarios. As they gain more experience, they undertake more office-based duties, including planning investigations, analysis of data, regulatory compliance coordination, liaising with clients and project managers, report writing, and proposal writing.

Environmental Consultants at Douglas Partners work to manage environmental risks to human health and the environment by investigating and analysing both historic and future environmental impacts of a project. They can come from various backgrounds, including hydrogeology, occupational hygiene, environmental science, environmental health, and engineering.

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To delve deeper into the topic, we invite you to check out our article What skills are important to become an environmental consultant.”