Career Development

Career development resources for aspiring professionals.

Career Change Center

Career change guides, tutorials and resources for professionals in transition.

Job Search Resources

Job search resources, websites, guides and directories for job seekers.

Environmental Engineering Careers, Job, and Career Information

Environmental Engineering Career Overview

Environmental engineers combine the knowledge of biology and chemistry to devise solutions to environmental problems. Concerns such as air and water pollution, recycling wastes, waste disposal and other public health issues, fall under their field. Environmental engineers study waste management of hazardous substances in order to analyze the risk, the treatment and the methods of containing such hazards. They also sketch regulations so as to prevent the occurrence of mishaps. Municipal water supply systems and industrial wastewater treatment systems are both designed by environmental engineers. They are also in charge of conducting research on proposed projects for the benefit of the environment, analyzing scientific data, and performing quality control checks.

Both local as well as global environmental issues are applicable to environmental engineers. These engineers work to protect wildlife as well as to prevent the production and repercussion of acid rain, global warming, ozone depletion as well as harmful automobile emissions.

A large number of environmental engineers are employed as consultants so that their clients can be helped to comply with environmental regulations and to clean up hazardous sites after their manufacturing and production activities.

In 2002, environmental engineers occupied around 47,000 jobs. About half of them were employed by firms who provided professional, scientific, and technical services and around 15,000 engineers worked with the Federal, State and the local Government companies. The rest worked in different manufacture and production industries.

Environmental Engineering Job and Employment Opportunities

The employment opportunities for environmental engineers are predicted to grow faster than the average growth rate of other occupation in the period through 2012 and such as they will have favorable employment opportunities. This growth is primarily due to the fact that that environmental engineering is now being recognized as an engineering field itself and not a field in which other engineers (like civil engineers) specialize in. Nowadays, the need for environmental engineers is greater felt because of new regulations which need to be understood and new hazards which need to be cleaned. Due to the emphasis placed on prevention of health problems rather than their control, as well as the increase in health concern shown by the public, environmental engineers are in demand. But, these engineers will be more affected by political policies than other fields of engineering; looser regulations would decrease job opportunities while more stringent environmental regulations will increase employment.

Although economic cycles like booms and depressions should not affect the employment of environmental engineers, an economic depression might reduce the emphasis on environment related problems and thus cause a decrease in employment opportunity. Also, environmental engineers would need to keep up-to-date with the new policies in environmental protection and also in their area of focus because they may be sometimes needed in solving issues related to water pollution and sometimes in areas concerned with hazardous waste cleanup.

Historical Earnings Information for Environmental Engineers

In 2002, the median salaries received by environmental engineers annually were $61,410. The middle 50 percent received salaries which fell between $47,650 and $77,360. The lowest 10 percent earned below $38,640 and the highest 10 percent earned above $91,510. The median earnings in 2002, in the industries which employed the largest numbers of environmental engineers in were:

  • Architectural, engineering, and related services – $58,620
  • Management, scientific, and technical consulting services – $57,800
  • State government – $54,160

In a 2002 salary survey conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, it was predicted that an environmental/health engineer with a bachelor’s degree received starting salaries of $44,702 on an average for a year.

Seasoned engineers may earn even more.