Environmental engineers work to maintain the balance between the natural world and the built world. They apply the principles of engineering to challenges like reducing air pollution, managing waste disposal, and minimizing the environmental impact of new building projects. If you have a passion for the environment and want to use your engineering skills to meet some of the biggest challenges of the 21st century, this may be a fulfilling career path for you.
Duties of an Environmental Engineer
Your specific duties will depend on where you are working and the goal of your project, but certain general responsibilities carry through all assignments. Some of your duties will include:
- Prevent environmental damage
- Research and analyze proposed projects using scientific data
- Predict the significance of environmental hazards
- Perform quality control checks
- Develop regulations and guidelines to minimize environmental impacts
- Work with stakeholders in both the public and private sector
- Help clients comply with regulations
- Adjust to the scope of the project, whether it be global or intensely local
Traits of an Environmental Engineer
- Enjoys the technical side of engineering
- Has excellent communication skills and the ability to work in a team
- Is able to work individually and remotely when necessary
- Strong analytic and problem solving abilities
- A passion for the environment and conservation
- Exceptional planning and organization skills
Job Outlook for Environmental Engineers
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the 2012 median pay for environmental engineers was $80,890 per year or $38.89 per hour. In that same year, there were 53,200 individuals employed in this career. They anticipate that by 2022, the demand for environmental engineers will grow 15 percent faster than the national average and add 8,100 jobs.
Environmental engineers are employed by consulting companies, engineering companies, construction companies, local and national governments, and executive agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency. Their work day combines time spent outdoors on-site, sometimes in very remote areas, with laboratory and office work. A bachelor’s degree is a minimum requirement, but many vacancies will require an advanced degree with a specialization like water conservation or pollution abatement.
If you are looking for an engineering career path that will allow you to work in a wide variety of industries across the world and make a real difference through your work, consider becoming an environmental engineer. You can find vacant positions by searching on our job board. To increase your chances of getting hired by your ideal employer, access the resources available from the engineering staffing specialists at Selectek.