An air quality consultant measures air pollution and air quality at different sites and writes reports on the results. They use the results to determine if pollution levels will cause harm to human health or ecological habitats.
You could be:
carrying out surveys to measure air quality
writing technical reports on survey results
making models of traffic pollution and how this disperses in the atmosphere using software such as ADMS (Roads), Breeze and DMRB
using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to map pollution
using and calibrating (setting up) sampling equipment and ensuring that correct measurements are taken
working with a range of agencies, consultants, engineers and architects to produce reports
doing desk-based studies to assess local air quality near to proposed schemes and developments
carrying out environmental impact assessments (EIAs)
helping to develop plans for carbon foot printing.
The figures below are only a guide. Actual pay rates may vary, depending on:
where you work
the size of the company or organisation you work for
the demand for the job.
Salaries for junior or graduate air quality consultants range from around £18,000 to £23,000 a year. An air quality consultant could earn £25,000 to £30,000. A senior air quality consultant with over 8 years' experience could earn up to £80,000 a year.
You would work mainly in an office.
You would also travel to sites to carry out surveys and impact assessments.
You would usually work normal office hours, Monday to Friday.
You need a good honours degree in a relevant environmental or science subject.
Entry requirements for an environmental or science degree courses is usually 4-5 Highers including 2 science subjects plus English and Maths at National 5.
A postgraduate qualification in air quality is usually preferred. The University of Birmingham runs an MSc in Air Pollution Management and Control which is accredited by the Institute of Air Quality Management (IAQM).
Work experience gained during term time or the summer would be beneficial. Some employers prefer previous experience in this sector.
You should be a member of a professional body such as the IAQM.
A full driving licence is usually essential.
You could find work with specialist consultancies or local authorities.
skilled in IT and able to use specialist monitoring or modelling software
able to work under pressure to meet deadlines
able to work in a team and with other professionals.
You should have:
strong communication skills to work with clients
good numeracy and problem solving skills
an up to date knowledge of UK and EU air quality legislation and regulation.
Training is normally on the job.
The IAQM offers accredited short courses and seminars which are suitable for air quality professionals.
There are three grades of membership of the IAQM: Associate, Member and Fellow. To become a Member you should have a degree or equivalent and have at least four years full time experience working in air quality. You need to apply to the Institution of Environmental Sciences (IES) at the same time as you apply to the IAQM. The IAQM website has more details.
The IAQM offers support for Continuing Professional Development (CPD) to help members develop their careers.
You would start your career as a junior or graduate air quality consultant assisting an experienced consultant. You could then apply for a position of air quality consultant. After a number of years' experience you could look for promotion to senior air quality consultant.