Someone with extensive experience in the waste management industry might want to become a waste management consultant. He or she would provide companies and businesses with professional, expert advise on the different methods available for the reduction of waste and waste-related costs. The demand for this type of service steadily increased when interest in reducing waste and saving the environment increased. Many companies do not need this level of expertise on an ongoing basis but just for a short period of time. This often makes hiring a consultant the best way to access the expertise without spending more money than necessary.
The first step necessary to become a waste management consultant is to obtain post-secondary education in business management or environmental sciences. There is no specific program designed to address waste management, but either of these two options will provide a solid background in understanding business challenges and the impact of waste on the environment. These programs are available from most large colleges or universities.
The next step is to gain experience at a senior level in a waste management or environmental assessment company. A waste management consultant usually has between 10 and 15 years of experience in this industry. In many situations, potential employers value experience more than education.
There have been significant changes in this sector that might make some of the older concepts irrelevant or outdated. For example, the primary focus of waste management used to be finding ways to bury or hide waste. Now the primary focus is to create processes that do not produce as much waste and finding effective ways to reuse the waste.
Building a professional reputation and business contacts is essential if you want to become a waste management consultant. You will rely heavily on this network for information about changes in the industry, potential consulting contracts and other valuable information. This process takes time and a significant investment of effort in networking and socializing. Without this network, you run the risk of losing out on potential contracts.
There are two primary employment options for a waste management consultant: working as an employee for a large consulting company or setting up a private business. As an employee, there is a greater degree of income stability and benefits, such as paid vacation and sick days. However, a private business as a consultant can be very lucrative. Most people who want to become a waste management consultant start off as an employee of a consulting company, and they set up a private business only when they have secured a long-term contract.