Over the last few years, many emerging trends have surfaced in the business world. Some of the most notable being remote or hybrid working and freelancing. Most of these terms have been around for decades. Still, they have only become popular in the last several years, with an average of over two million of the UK’s population turning to freelance job opportunities in 2022. 

Moreover, UK professionals aren’t turning to freelance job opportunities to gain extra income in addition to their primary job; they are doing so because of the attractive nature of the freelancing lifestyle. From being your own boss to choosing which projects you want to work on – there are various perks to going freelance. 

Plus, you can turn just about any career path into a freelancing opportunity, whether you’re a web designer, graphic designer, teacher, writer, virtual assistant, or environmental consultant – you can leave just about any job role behind to pursue it self-employed. Although a niche sector of the job market, the latter is becoming increasingly popular as a job opportunity for those looking to go freelance, yet it does instil many questions. 

If you’re considering becoming a freelance environmental consultant for corporations, whether full-time, part-time, or as a side hustle, we’ve created this article to answer several FAQs about the role to help you gain a sound understanding of the job role, the duties you’ll be expected to undertake, the average salary you would expect to earn, and what qualifications you’ll need to take you down this path. 

  1. What Is An Environmental Consultant? 

In a nutshell, an environmental consultant can work in-house or freelance, applying expert knowledge, understanding, and experience to clients’ projects to minimise or eliminate the amount of environmental damage caused while the project is ongoing.

Typically, the services of an environmental consultant are enlisted by corporations that need various ecological issues addressed and solutions devised. Whether you work in-house or freelance, you may carry out services on behalf of a consultancy firm or work internally for a specific organisation without any outside assistance. 

Primarily you will be expected to advise corporations on sustainability issues like waste management, recycling, the effects of climate change, flood risk and much more. Yet you may also be approached to testify that a particular organisation complies with government environmental rules and regulations. 

  1. Will I Need Any Specific Qualifications To Become One? 

There are various ways to become a freelance environmental consultant. Still, the most popular form of getting into the sector is obtaining a bachelor’s or master’s degree in an environmental science-related field. Whether you opt to obtain a certification in environmental sciences, earth science, environmental engineering, environmental studies or a related field, many courses can open the door to ecological consultancy. 

Although a good honours degree is often considered the minimum entry qualification for this role, employers will look for several other factors that will increase your chances of getting a role in this sector. Alongside your studies, employers will expect you to seek out internships, which will give you experience in the role and provide them with the necessary contacts to back up the expertise you claim to have. 

It is unlikely that you’ll be able to find an entry position in environmental consulting straight after finishing your studies, so until you have gained at least five years of experience, you may want to consider looking for work as a field consultant or technician, which will help you develop the skills needed for environmental consultancy. While you gain experience, you could consider enrolling on short courses like the ones that the University of Cambridge provides. 

Since they can be completed online, the University of Cambridge’s short courses in sustainability are ideal for those looking to develop their skills while they work. Plus, you can choose from just about any subject to help you with your preferred job sector, from Business and Climate Change: Towards Net Zero Emissions for sustainability-related roles to Communicating for Influence and Impact for those interested in continuing their education. Consider visiting their website for more information or contacting them directly for specific inquiries. 

  1. What Duties Will I Be Expected To Carry Out? 

While working as a freelance environmental consultant, all days will be different. One day you could find yourself at your desk carrying out further research for a client, and the next, you could be in the field undertaking work to identify previous site activity and any contamination. Some of the duties you may be expected to undertake are as follows: 

  • Produce desk-based research and interpret found data. 
  • Inform corporations of findings and advise them on the next course of action. 
  • Analyse the sustainability of new developments.
  • Manage legal issues on behalf of clients. 
  • Write reports and share your findings with the relevant authority. 
  • Conduct field surveys and collect data to be analysed. 
  • Develop conceptual models and much more. 
  1. What Is The Average Salary For An Environmental Consultant? 

Now that you have a basic understanding of the job role, the duties involved, and what qualifications are needed to become a freelance environmental consultant, you will no doubt have questions about the salary you could be expected to make. The expected salary of an environmental consultant can vary depending on many factors, such as experience and whether you work in-house or are self-employed. 

As a guide, the estimated salary for an environmental consultant is around £36,458 per year according to Indeed UK. Yet this could be subject to change based on how much experience you have, which is why we’ve provided a breakdown below: 

  • Those just starting in the field as a post-grad can expect to earn around £22,000 up to £25,000. 
  • Whereas consultants with two to five years’ experience can expect to take home a little more each year, their annual salary is around £22,000 to £35,000. 
  • If you’ve been in the sector for around five to ten years, your salary is increased to approximately £45,000, which can be increased to as much as £60,000 if you find yourself in a management or director’s position. 

Ultimately, the pay you could expect to bring home each year depends on your experience and the type of area you find yourself working in. For instance, working in in-demand areas like waste management, environmental impact, and contaminated land could earn you more money than in less in-demand regions and vice versa. 

Plus, working in this sector boasts a generous amount of pay, provided that you’re willing to put the time and effort in. Those who work in this sector can also look forward to other perks that aren’t necessarily monetary. 

However, most of these benefits are only available to environmental consultants that opt to work in-house instead of self-employed since they are mainly employee benefits. If you choose to work on behalf of a consultancy firm, you may get some of the following benefits as well as a competitive salary: a mobile phone, laptop, covered fuel costs, company car, pensions schemes, share plans, and much more.