While a bachelor's degree in environmental engineering may be the minimum prerequisite for a career in environmental engineering, a master's degree opens the gateway for more advanced career options. Some of these options include consultants, researchers, public officials.
Environmental engineers devise ways to control, prevent or clean pollution and contamination in the environment. Individuals holding a master's degree in environmental engineering are prepared to work for private companies and governmental agencies as engineers in research, consultation or management. Environmental engineers are expected to experience high demand and favorable job opportunities in upcoming years.
|Required Education||Bachelor's degree at minimum to become an environmental engineer; master's degree opens advanced job opportunities|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)*||12%|
|Median Annual Salary (May 2015)*||$84,560|
Source: *United States Bureau of Labor Statistics
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Career Information for Individuals with a Master's Degree in Environmental Engineering
Environmental engineers are professionals who design technical and scientific solutions to provide and sustain clean water, air and land. Outside of an office setting, they may work on sites where contamination or pollution has occurred and develop solutions for clean-up and maintenance. In the process, they often provide assistance with environmental regulations compliance. Master's degree holders can maintain positions as public health advocates, researchers, consultants, managers or government officials.
Engineers who provide services directly to the public are required to be licensed by a state. The National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES) oversees the licensure exam, the passage of which leads to professional engineer (PE) status. State requirements for taking the exam vary, but common requirements include holding a degree from an accredited engineering program and having a minimum number of years of work experience.
Board certification is a peer-recommended process offered through the American Academy of Environmental Engineers. Requirements to become a board certified environmental enginee include having a minimum of eight years of professional experience and completing written and oral exams. A graduate degree can be counted towards the required years of professional work. Certification exams test on ethics, professional judgment and technical expertise in a specialized area.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual salary for environmental engineers was $84,560 as of May 2015. Industries with the highest employment of environmental engineers included architectural and engineering and related services, consulting services and state governments. Average yearly salaries in these industries ranged from $76,420-$90,190. The pipeline transportation of crude oil industry was the top-paying sector for environmental engineers, and the average salary there was $132,660.
Environmental engineering can be a fulfilling career both personally and financially, so this may be the career for you. If you're already an environmental engineer then you may want to consider obtaining your master's degree in environmental engineering as this will open up more advanced positions.