Environmental Assessment Practitioner

Environmental assessment practitioners usually have a background in the environmental sciences, or natural or social sciences, and may specialise in one or more areas.

They work as part of a team of other experts in conducting environmental impact assessments, to determine the effect that a new development is likely to have on both society and the environment. For example, if a forestry company wishes to extend their plantations into a new area, a team of environmental and social scientists would be asked to carry out an assessment and make recommendations on whether the development should go ahead or not. If the answer is yes, they may need to recommend measures the company should put in place to mitigate any negative effects. The assessment must take into account whether there are any wetlands in the area, and the existence of any rare, endangered or endemic plants, reptiles, amphibians, fish, birds, insects, bats or mammals. An environmental compliance officer is appointed to ensure that the recommendations are being followed

Environmental assessment practitioners must comply with the standards and regulations of the newly established Environmental Assessment Practitioners Association of South Africa, which aims to keep standards high and ensure ethical conduct in this profession.

Their work is usually a stimulating combination of outdoor work involving the collection of information, desk work for studying other applicable research, policies and detailed development plans. A major part of their work involves the writing of reports. Many meetings have to be attended, both on and off site.

Personal Requirements

  • need excellent research skills
  • the ability to think logically, analytically and independently
  • good communication skills, both verbal and in writing, in order to share their findings

How to Enter

Schooling & School Subjects

National Senior Certificate meeting degree requirements for a degree course

Each institution has its own entry requirements.

What to Study

Compulsory Higher Education

Degree: A BSc degree in Environmental Science, Natural Resource Management, or other related field, e.g. Zoology or Botany.

Postgraduate: further studies in the chosen field of interest is recommended


  • Environmental assessment practitioners often work as independent consultants on their own, or in private consulting firms.
  • They may also be based in NGOs or universities, where they would typically also have other duties such as research, teaching, and advocacy work.

Further Information

Environmental Assessment Practitioners of South Africa
Interim Certification Board Secretariat
Noordhoek, 7979
Tel: (021) 789-1385

South African Environmental Observation Network (SAEON)
The Woods
Building C, Ground Floor
41 De Havilland Crescent
Persequor Technopark
Pretoria, 0020
Tel: (012) 534-3504

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