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What is a Private Consultant?

As a private consultant, you may work on your own as an independent consultant, for a small local company, or a large firm. If you are independent, you will regularly seek new projects but can work on your own schedule in whatever location you choose. With a small local company, you are likely to work on small-scale projects in your community and general geographic location. With a large firm, you will likely work on large-scale national or international projects, or projects in various geographic locations. Consultants do many types of work in the marine affairs field including, but not limited to:

  • creating geographic information systems (GIS) maps;
  • conducting environmental impact statements;
  • delineating wetland habitats;
  • developing habitat management and mitigation plans;
  • investigating endangered wildlife populations on proposed development sites; and
  • researching impacts of fisheries policies on fishermen and fishing communities.

Consulting firms specialize in many fields. Those that specialize in environmental management and research, as well as engineering, are likely to need employees with marine affairs backgrounds. These firms need to know the policies at the federal, state, and local levels that will affect their work. Consulting firms are often responsible for dealing with Environmental Impact Statements and maintaining compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act. Engineering firms often pursue coastal engineering, where it is important that they are aware of the policies regarding what structures may legally be constructed in certain states and the rules involved in those. Research firms may be hired by government agencies or other entities to study the results and implications of existing policies, or to gather information for new policies or public opinions. These groups could do research in various fields, including fisheries, coastal infrastructure, offshore oil development, and many more.

Private consulting is often the most well paid career in marine affairs, and offers many "real world" challenges.