Environmental Engineer: Job Outlook & Career Info

Mar 27, 2019

Learn about a career as an environmental engineer. Explore the job description, duties, education requirements, employment outlook and salary. Then you can determine if this is the right career for you.

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Career Definition for an Environmental Engineer

Environmental engineers are a specific kind of engineer who study, evaluate and design solutions to environmental problems. Some areas of the environment they're involved with include water and air pollution control, recycling, waste disposal, global warming, acid rain and ozone depletion. Common job duties of an environmental engineer include consulting with clients, surveying sites, taking measurements, analyzing data and performing quality control checks.

Education Bachelor's degree in engineering
Job Skills Strong math and science skills, diligence, and precision
Median Salary (2017)* $86,800 per year
Job Growth (2016-2026)* 8%

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Required Education

To become an environmental engineer, you'll need a bachelor's degree in engineering. Coursework in a 4-year, bachelor's program in engineering includes mathematics, physics, calculus, biology, chemistry, general engineering, design and courses specific to engineering specializations. Once you've finished an accredited engineering program, you'll need to meet the requirements and pass any examinations in your state to become licensed as an environmental engineer.

Skills Required

Environmental engineers need to have very strong math and science skills. Diligence and precision will help you to be successful as an environmental engineer.

Employment and Economic Outlook

The employment outlook for environmental engineers is good, with the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projecting employment in this field to grow by 8% from 2016-2026. The median annual earnings for environmental engineers in 2017 were $86,800.

Alternate Career Options

Careers that are similar to an environmental engineer include:

Environmental Scientist and Specialist

With at least a bachelor's degree in natural sciences, these professionals work toward protecting the environment by cleaning up pollution, reducing industrial waste and advising policymakers. From 2016-2026, the BLS forecast faster than average employment growth for this field of 11%. The annual median salary revealed by the BLS in 2017 for these scientists and specialists was $69,400.

Environmental Engineering Technician

Faster than average increases in available jobs of 13% for these techs were expected during the 2016-2026 decade, the BLS said. Normally having a 2-year degree in environmental engineering or a similar field, environmental engineering technicians follow the plans made by environmental engineers to test and modify the equipment used for pollution clean-up. In 2017, the BLS reported median wages of $50,230 per year for this profession.

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