CAREER DEVELOPMENT / NOV. 23, 2014
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How to Become a Green Consultant in the US

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The US environmental industry is heavily regulated. Both profit and non-profit organizations have an obligation to run their operations in an environmentally sustainable manner. This is where green consultants come into play! Read on to discover more information on what it takes to enter this profession.

What Do Green Consultants Do?

The primary duties of green consultants include:

  • Auditing the operations of an organizations to detect noncompliance to environmental regulations
  • Advising organizations on what they should do to maintain compliance with environmental regulations
  • Helping organization to develop effective strategies for reducing energy consumption
  • Staying abreast of changes in environmental laws, regulations and standards
  • Helping business to obtain environmental permits and licenses
  • Conducting research to obtain more information on controversial issues in environmental policies and other relevant areas

Work Environment

Green consultants typically work from 9am to 5pm, Monday through Friday. Although these consultants work from their private offices, they spend most of their time in clients’ business premises or project sites. Because this involves regular travelling, you should be comfortable with the idea of being without your family for some time.

Salary

The following table highlights the average annual salary for green consultants:

Occupation

Annual Average Wage

Green Consultant

$79,000

Source: Indeed

Qualifications Required

It takes more than love for the environment to become a green consultant. You must have a solid education background, which you can gain through a bachelor’s degree in any of the following fields:

  • Environmental science
  • Architectural science
  • Civil and structural engineering
  • Environmental Studies
  • Environmental protection
  • Environmental management

You can then proceed to pursue additional short-term courses in alternative energy reduction, recycling, regulatory compliance and waste reduction to improve your competence and ability to attract clients.

Important Skills and Abilities

To be a green consultant who can provide practical and effective solutions for ‘going green,’ you must possess the following skills and abilities:

  • Excellent speaking and presentation skills
  • Excellent analytical and problem-solving skills
  • Strong report writing skills
  • Business awareness
  • Good strategic-thinking skills
  • Innovation and creativity
  • Good marketing skills
  • An interest in protecting the environment
  • Good interpersonal skills to maintain positive relationships with clients

Career Development

As a starting green consultant, it can be challenging to get your feet off the ground. You will certainly begin by working for an established consulting company, where you can gain experience and build some industry contacts.

The next step is to open your own company and deal with clients directly. To start a company, you must meet federal, state and local licensing requirements.

As the business gains ground, you can pursue a master’s degree in business administration to enhance your entrepreneurial knowledge and skills.

Another ideal career development strategy is to join a relevant professional body. If you have an academic background in environmental science, for instance, you can join the National Association of Environmental Professionals.

Job Opportunities

Apart from starting a consulting company or working for an established consulting firm, you can also be hired as an in-house consultant in manufacturing companies, universities and large businesses.

The demand for green consultants in on the rise. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, the employment of these professionals will hit an annual growth rate of 9.4 percent through 2016.

Despite the relatively low growth rate for in this sector, if you have the necessary passion and skills this might be just the career you are looking for.

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