About the Job
Environmental engineers design systems that reduce the negative impacts of building on the natural environment. They are involved in reducing water and air pollution, improving public health, and in waste disposal. They also address global issues such as climate change and environmental sustainability.
What You’ll Do
Environmental engineers design systems for municipal and industrial water supplies and wastewater treatment. They also research the environmental impact of proposed construction projects and work with government officials to develop regulations designed to prevent mishaps.
Some engineers study ways to minimize the effects of acid rain, climate change, automobile emissions, and ozone depletion. They may also collaborate with environmental experts in law and business to address environmental problems and sustainability.
Qualities and Skills Needed
In order to become an environmental engineer, a bachelor’s degree in environmental engineering or a related field is required. Internships or college credit cooperatives are recommended. Many colleges and universities also offer a five-year program in which a student can receive both his or her bachelor’s and master’s degrees. A graduate degree allows an engineer to work as an instructor and also gives him or her an advantage when searching for a job.
Students interested in becoming environmental engineers should take high school courses in chemistry, biology, physics, and math, including algebra, trigonometry, and calculus.
Many employers prefer a degree from an Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) program. An ABET degree is also usually a requirement to become a licensed engineer. As an environmental engineer gains experience, he or she can advance to supervising a team of engineers and technicians or move on to management.
Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations
Entry-level positions do not normally require a license; however, to become a professional engineer, a license is required. A Professional Engineer (PE) can oversee projects and other engineers. To become a Professional Engineer, a graduate must first pass the Fundamentals of Engineering examination and become an Engineer-in-Training (EIT). EITs typically work for a minimum of 5 years under the supervision of a licensed or Professional Engineer, and then they must pass the Professional Engineer examination.
Find Education Opportunities Now or check out other resources.
The average salary is $91,652, but will vary depending on experience and training.