Air Quality Specialist

Job Description:

An air quality specialist monitors, assesses, and manages various factors and pollutants in the air to ensure its safety and compliance with environmental standards.

Job Category:
Environmental Industry

What you will do:

An air quality specialist:

  • monitoring and analyzing air pollutants, assessing their impact on human health and the environment
  • developing strategies to improve air quality
  • designing and implementing air quality management plans
  • conducting research to understand air quality trends
  • providing expertise and guidance to regulatory agencies, industries, and communities to ensure compliance with air quality standards and promote sustainable air quality practices


You will need:

  • you need a background in environmental science, engineering, or a related field
  • knowledge of air quality regulations, monitoring techniques, data analysis, pollution control
  • the ability to develop strategies for cleaner air (creativity)

As well as:

Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

While specific GCSE subjects may not directly determine your ability to become an air quality specialist, certain subjects can provide a strong foundation for pursuing higher education and a career in this field. Here are some recommended GCSE subjects that can be beneficial:

  1. Sciences: Subjects like Physics, Chemistry, and Biology can provide a solid understanding of scientific principles, chemical reactions, and environmental concepts relevant to air quality.
  2. Mathematics: Mathematics is essential for data analysis, calculations, and understanding statistical concepts used in air quality assessment and modeling.
  3. Geography: Geography can offer insights into the interactions between human activities and the environment, which is relevant to understanding air pollution sources and impacts.
  4. Environmental Science: While not typically offered as a standalone GCSE subject, if available, it can provide a direct introduction to the field.
  5. Computer Science: Basic programming skills and familiarity with computer applications can be useful for data analysis and modeling in air quality work.
  6. English: Strong communication skills are essential for presenting findings and writing reports.
  7. Design and Technology: Depending on available options, this subject can introduce you to the design of monitoring equipment and technology used in air quality measurement.
  8. Additional Sciences or Humanities: Subjects like Environmental Studies, Applied Science, or Citizenship can provide a broader understanding of environmental issues and policies.

Remember that while these subjects can provide a helpful foundation, pursuing relevant higher education (such as a bachelor’s degree) in environmental science, atmospheric science, environmental engineering, or a related field will be the primary factor in becoming an air quality specialist. The specific GCSE subjects you choose should align with your interests and strengths while meeting the prerequisites for your chosen higher education path.

To become an air quality specialist, you’ll need a combination of education, skills, and often some specific qualifications or requirements:


A bachelor’s degree in a relevant field such as environmental science, atmospheric science, environmental engineering, chemistry, physics, or a closely related discipline is typically the minimum requirement.


Practical experience through internships, co-op programs, or entry-level positions in environmental science, engineering, or related roles. Experience with fieldwork, data collection, and analysis relevant to air quality assessments.


While not always required, certain certifications can enhance your qualifications. Examples include:

  • Certified Air Quality Professional (CAQP)
  • Certified Air Quality Manager (CAQM)
  • Qualified Source Testing Individual (QSTI)
  • National Council for Air and Stream Improvement (NCASI) certification

Graduate Degrees

For specialized roles or advanced positions, a master’s or doctoral degree in environmental science, atmospheric science, environmental engineering, or a related field can be beneficial.

Safety Training

Due to potential exposure to pollutants, safety training and knowledge of personal protective equipment are crucial.


Depending on the specific role, having expertise in certain areas such as air quality modeling, emissions reduction technologies, or specific pollutants (e.g., particulate matter, ozone) can be advantageous. Remember that specific qualifications and requirements can vary based on the employer, the level of specialization, and the region or country in which you intend to work. Always review job postings carefully and research the expectations of the specific air quality specialist role you’re interested in pursuing.

Working Hours and Environment:

Air quality specialists typically work full-time hours that include both office work for tasks like data analysis and fieldwork for activities like monitoring and sampling, often with occasional flexible hours for emergencies or specific projects, and safety measures are essential due to potential exposure to pollutants.

Career Path & Progression:

A typical career path for an air quality specialist involves starting as an entry-level technician, progressing to more specialized roles with increased responsibilities, potentially becoming a senior specialist, project manager, or consultant.

Opportunities also exist in research, government, advocacy, academia, or industry leadership, with continuous learning playing a vital role throughout the journey.

It’s important to research specific job postings and organizations you’re interested in to understand their specific requirements. Additionally, networking, internships, and volunteering in relevant organizations or research projects can help you build connections, gain experience, and make yourself a more attractive candidate for air quality specialist positions.