The Average Salary of an Entry-Level Environmental Consultant

by Dana Severson
Environmental consultants may determine the implications of a new construction project.

Environmental consultants may determine the implications of a new construction project.

Selling advice to companies may just be the career path you’ve been looking for. As an industry, it’s long been considered recession resilient, at least according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Companies are always in need of guidance, and one area that’s grown in popularity and demand is environmental consulting. Environmental consultants help companies comply with environmental regulations, such as disposing of toxic waste or assessing the environmental impact of manufacturing certain products.

Salary Ranges

In 2012, environmental scientists and specialists earned an average of $68,970 a year, according to the BLS. Those working in consulting services brought home nearly 3 percent more, at an average of $70,920 annually. Of the top 10 percent, salaries often exceeded $122,470 in 2009, so the earning potential is quite high. However, the jobs website Indeed provides a much lower figure for entry-level environmental consultants, with an average salary of $55,000 a year.

Regional Variances

As with any occupation, earnings vary by location. Of the states, entry-level environmental consultants in New York earned some of the highest wages, at an average of $66,000 a year. Those in New York City fared even better, averaging $71,000. Entry-level environmental consultants in the District of Columbia brought home similar wages to those in the state of New York, at an average of $66,000, while those in California earned closer to $60,000 annually. The same, however, can’t be said for entry-level environmental consultants in North Dakota, where the average was some of the lowest in the nation, at an average of $41,000 a year.

Contributing Factors

The relatively high starting salary is likely due to background. Consulting firms typically seek candidates with a master’s degree in environmental science or a related field, such as biology or chemistry. They also prefer to hire applicants with experience in the field of environmental science, such as past work as an environmental health specialists or protection specialist.

Career Outlook

While the BLS expects employment for environmental scientists and specialists to increase by 19 percent from 2010 to 2020, the outlook for those providing consulting services is much better. In fact, it’s more than four times the growth rate for the occupation as whole, at an average of 83 percent through 2018. With nearly 19,000 environmental scientists and specialists working in consulting services, this works out to more than 15,600 new jobs over the course of a decade.

About the Author

Based in Minneapolis, Minn., Dana Severson has been writing marketing materials for small-to-mid-sized businesses since 2005. Prior to this, Severson worked as a manager of business development for a marketing company, developing targeted marketing campaigns for Big G, Betty Crocker and Pillsbury, among others.

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