Career Definition of an Air Quality Engineer
Air quality engineers work to ensure that air quality is maintained. Their responsibilities may include performing tests on the air to identify dangerous amounts of toxins or hazardous materials. When air quality is poor they may recommend or employ strategies to improve it. Air quality engineers may also concentrate on producing equipment that is designed to reduce air pollution.
In order to do their job effectively, air quality engineers must know the applicable government regulations that need to be followed and the expected air quality standards for the environment they're testing. Some engineers work for the government and are responsible for such tasks as testing emissions and determining if an organization is in compliance with regulations. Other engineers work for companies that help ensure a business' products or procedures comply with regulation guidelines. They may also be involved in selling these services to customers.
|Educational Requirements||Bachelor's degree|
|Job Skills||Creativity, communication skills, interpersonal skills, attention to detail, problem-solving skills, organizational skills, analytical skills|
|Median Salary (2020)*||$70,578|
|Job Outlook (2018-2028)**||5% (all environmental engineers)|
Sources: *PayScale.com; **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Employers expect air quality engineers to have a bachelor's degree. It's common for individuals interested in this career option to study environmental engineering. Practical experience can help graduates entering this field acquire jobs, so students considering a career as an air quality engineer may want to complete internships or cooperative programs. Engineers who wish to advance to leadership roles may want to earn a master's degree and obtain their Professional Engineer (PE) license.
Being an air quality engineer involves strong communication skills because air quality engineers need to be able to explain the results of their tests to others and may even need to participate in legal action against polluters if they work for the government. They also need analytical skills to be able to review test data. Problem-solving skills may be needed to identify the source of pollution. Air quality engineers who work in product design also need problem-solving skills to be able to find ways for equipment to effectively operate without producing excessive pollution.
Career Outlook and Salary
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicates that from 2018 to 2028, the average job growth for all careers is expected to be 5%. During this same period, the BLS forecasts an 8% job growth for environmental engineers, which includes air quality engineers. As of 2020, PayScale.com reported that air quality engineers earned a median salary of $70,578 per year.
Since air quality engineers are interested in protecting the environment, individuals considering this career option may also be interested in working to protect natural resources in other capacities, or they could consider jobs in other related areas of engineering. The links here lead to information about some other career options aspiring air quality engineers may also want to consider.