Acoustic Consultant

Outline of Job

An acoustic consultant will work to monitor and control the noise and vibration we hear and feel in the house, and in environments such as the workplace. To do this an acoustic consultant will carry out studies to find whether any changes are needed to adjust sound and vibration levels in buildings. This may require them to use analytical computer programs in most roles. Acoustic consultants are also known as acoustic engineers or acousticians, and can work in a range of areas including construction and medicine.

Daily Activities

  • Making sure building regulations are met
  • Analysing how changes to a building may affect noise intensity
  • Making sure work legislations such as the Noise at Work Act are met
  • Carrying out noise studies
  • Creating plans to decrease or abolish any machine noise or vibration
  • Providing expert opinion on legal cases such as noise pollution
  • Studying the effect of sound and vibration in society
  • Working in recording studios
  • Creating medical tools to help in the diagnosis of patients

Skills Required

  • Solid computer skills
  • Good communication and writing skills
  • Organised manner
  • Aptitude for mathematics and science
  • Able to explain ideas to others
  • Creative thinking
  • Able to monitor budgets
  • Negotiation ability
  • Awareness of environmental legislations
  • Time management

Expected Earnings & Conditions

Typical starting salary is £20,000 - £25,000, which can rise to £35,000 after acquiring a few years experience. Those moving up to senior level can expect to earn around £50,000. Salary levels will depend on individual merits and experience, as well as the area of work. Acoustic consultants will work in the office, but will have to visit work places, building sites, and other places where noise is an issue.

Acoustic consultants will typically work 9 to 5, and in some areas it will be possible to work shift times. On occasion it will be required you work during the evening and at weekends.

Qualifications & Experience Required

It is required by most employers that you have a degree, particularly in the following areas:

  • Mathematics
  • Acoustics
  • Physics
  • Mechanical engineering
  • Environmental science

A degree is not essential though as it is possible to work your way up from a trainee position, gaining further training as you do so. However, you would usually need a minimum of four GCSEs at grades A-C, including mathematics and science. A BTEC Certificate in a subject such as Applied Science would also be an alternative.

Work experience would also be advantageous but would need to be combined with qualifications. It is possible to earn a position through the Apprenticeships Scheme, which is a program in the UK offering people the chance to gain employable skills doing real work. Availability of positions would depend on location.

Additional Training & Development

If you have a degree it may be possible to enter the profession through a graduate scheme, where training will be offered on the job. Without a degree you would have to start from a junior position and work your way up, by showing a good aptitude for work. An acoustic consultant can move up to senior level, but will need to show real flair for the position. It is possible to work in a variety of areas, including civil engineering, health, and aerospace.

The postgraduate course in Acoustics and Noise Control on offer by the IOA would be a great way to gain additional training, especially as it can be done on a part-time basis. For further information on the various training courses on offer visit the IOA website. Other courses available include:

  • Certificate of Competence in Workplace Noise Risk Assessment - Provides latest training and information to make sure regulations are met
  • Certificate of Competence in Environmental Noise Measurement - Short course to teach methods of noise measurement and their significance