Environmental engineers use the principles of engineering to respond to a diverse array of environmental issues, such as waste management, effluent disposal, pollution control and site remediation. By preventing, controlling and resolving an environmental mishap, they can determine if a private enterprise or a public outfit is complying with public regulations established by the government.
- Examine, design or install a system that treats and disinfects water before discharge
- Apply engineering principles to projects to prevent environmental hazards
- Research the worksite and outline ways to control the immediate vicinity
- Assess the potential environmental impact of land, water or air from a particular project
- Consult with corporations and governments about the right ways to clean contaminated sites
- Perform engineering duties that can solve eco problems generated by the project
- Confirm if companies or public works endeavours comply with environmental regulations
- Work with hazardous waste technicians to address operational problems
- Collaborate with environmental scientists to deliver detailed assessments and reports
- Monitor standard operating procedures to know if they are being maintained
- Prepare and compose technical, operational and investigative reports
- Establish worksite health and safety protocols
- Present public findings on the position of various environmental engineering projects
- Investigate the progress of different environmental improvement programmes
- Create, institute and manage conservation plans and natural-resource programmes
Skills and qualities
An environmental engineer will obtain experience and build upon his or her skills by working on elementary projects and on a team. However, with several years under your belt, you will eventually be assigned to more difficult projects and be given greater autonomy. Many environmental engineers move on to become technical specialists or they go on to supervise other engineers and technicians.
Nights, weekends, holidays occasionally
An environmental engineer’s schedule will vary based on place of employment and the tasks at hand. For the most part, you can expect to work a typical 40-hour schedule, but those hours could be completed during regular business hours or they could be done nights or weekends.
You can also expect to allocate your time in an office, in a laboratory and in the great outdoors, especially if there has been an environmental accident. Travel is also common, both at home and abroad.
Annual salary estimates are based on percentile wage data collected through the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) survey of US workers.
Qualifications and training
Bachelor’s degree in environmental engineering
To become an environmental engineer, you’ll typically need to complete a bachelor’s degree in environmental engineering or a related subject like civil or chemical engineering.
Gaining a Professional Engineering licence isn’t essential but can be useful. Licensing requirements vary by state, but you will generally need to pass the Fundamentals of Engineering and Professional Engineering exams, as well as complete usually four years of professional work experience, in order to qualify.
Last Updated: Wednesday, November 2, 2022