Environmental engineer essential career information:
- 2012 median pay: $80,890
- 2012, number of jobs: 50,850
- Employment growth forecast, 2010-2020: 22 percent
- Entry level education requirements: Bachelor’s degree
Environmental engineers; what they do:
Environmental engineering is a great career for someone who enjoys identifying environmental problems and designing solutions to repair them. Environmental engineers truly understand what the term “being green” is all about and they use this principle along with engineering, soil science, biology and chemistry to develop solutions to fix air, land and water problems.
An environmental engineering career may include improving recycling, waste disposal and public health. Environmental engineers also address global issues, such as climate change and pollution as well as perform safety inspections on oil and gas production.
Environmental engineers job titles:
- Air Pollution Control Engineer
- Environmental Remediation Specialist
- Environmental Analyst
- Global Director Air and Climate Change
- Marine Engineer
- Hazardous Substances Engineer
- Sanitary Engineer
Environmental Engineers Education, Certification and License Requirements
People interested in an environmental engineer career typically need a bachelor’s degree, typically a Bachelor in Environmental Engineering degree or a bachelor’s degree in a related field such as Bachelor of Civil Engineering degree or a Bachelor in Chemical Engineering degree. A bachelor’s degree program usually includes classroom, lab and field studies.
Cooperative engineering programs allow students to gain college credit for job experience; employers prefer candidates with hands-on experience.
Some colleges and universities offer a Master in Environmental Engineering degree program.
Environmental engineers programs cover subjects such as:
- Advanced soil mechanics
- Introduction to computers and engineering problem solving
- Project management
- Solid mechanics
- Engineering mechanics
- Structural engineering design
Some employers prefer to hire candidates who graduate from an accredited program. The ABET (Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology) provides accreditation for many engineering programs. People interested in becoming a licensed professional engineer typically need a degree from an ABET-accredited program. A license also improves the chances for employment.
Career Advancement Opportunities
Students can also enroll in a five-year program that leads to both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree. Examples of master’s degrees are Master in Environmental Engineering (MEE) or a Master of Science in Environmental Engineering (MSEE). A graduate degree allows an engineer to work as a classroom instructor or to do research and development.
Environmental Engineers Job Outlook
Forecast: 22 percent employment growth for environmental engineers from 2010 to 2020, faster than the average for all occupations.
All levels of government must comply with environmental regulations. Because of this, employment of environmental engineers within the government sector as a whole should remain relatively stable through the year 2020.
Demand to clean up contaminated sites as well as wastewater treatment is a bigger concern in areas of the nation where new methods of drilling for shale gas require the using and disposing of huge volumes of water. Environmental engineers help utilities and water treatment plants adhere to new state or federal environmental regulations.
Environmental Engineers Salary
- 2012 median annual wage: $80,890
- 2012, workers at the 75th percentile annual wage: $102,930
- 2012, workers at the 25th percentile annual wage: $62,520
Environmental Engineers Major Employers
- Architectural, engineering and related services
- Management, scientific and technical consulting services
- State government
- Federal government
- Local government