Environmental Test Engineer: Job Description & Salary

Learn about the job duties and salary potential for environmental test engineers. Also, find out what level of education is needed, and explore essential skills to work in this field.

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What is an Environmental Test Engineer?

Environmental test engineers provide guidance on environmental and safety regulations during the planning and testing stages for new engineering designs. These professionals relay information about necessary environmental compliance to test team members, along with outlining possible environmental costs of a project. They also might review designs and test plans to ensure they're free of potential hazards or safety risks.

After a design has been tested, environmental test engineers might help secure needed environmental approvals for a project. They also typically follow-up on any environmental or safety issues that were uncovered during field tests, which might include developing a mitigation plan, coming up with a cost estimate for that plan and conducting regular environmental and safety inspections.

Educational Requirements Minimum of a bachelor's degree in environmental engineering or a related field; some employers prefer candidates with a master's degree
Job Skills Analytical abilities, troubleshooting skills, strong oral and written communication
Median Salary (2018)* $70,071
Job Outlook (2016-2026)** 8% (for environmental engineers)

Sources: *PayScale.com, **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Required Education

Prospective environmental test engineers typically need a minimum of a bachelor's degree in environmental engineering or a related engineering discipline or in a physical science field, such as physics. Environmental engineering programs usually include classes in thermodynamics, fluid mechanics, statics and environmental sustainability, along with basic courses in biology, chemistry, physics and physical geology. Additionally, students might take a probability and statistics course specific to engineering, along with a technical writing class.

Employers typically prefer that candidates for environmental test engineering jobs have a bachelor's degree in combination with several years' work experience in environmental compliance or safety. In some cases, employers are looking for candidates with a master's degree or Ph.D.; often, they will lessen the experience requirement for those with an advanced degree.

Required Skills

Environmental test engineers need strong analytical and troubleshooting skills to be able to identify potential environmental and safety hazards and to develop plans to mitigate those hazards. They also need excellent oral communication skills for interacting with test team members, as well as written communication skills for writing test reports and other documentation, like cost estimates and requests for environmental approval.

Additionally, some employers require that environmental test engineers hold CPR and first aid certifications. Certain jobs also mandate that environmental test engineers have Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response and Confined Space certifications from OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration).

Career Outlook and Salary

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that environmental engineers (and engineers in general) could see job growth of 8% between 2016 and 2026. This was just slightly higher than the average projected growth for all occupations.

As of May 2018, environmental test engineers earned a median annual salary of $70,071, according to PayScale.com.

Related Careers

The following careers in engineering and quality assurance also might be of interest to those curious about jobs in environmental test engineering:

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