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Environmental Engineer

An environmental engineer uses the principles of engineering, soil science, biology, and chemistry to develop solutions to environmental problems.

Environmental engineers strive to create solutions for environmental problems created by pollution and the exploitation of natural resources. They combine knowledge from engineering, biology, chemistry, and soil science, in an attempt to re-establish the sustainable balance of our environment.

A few of the main duties of an environmental engineer are helping obtain green certifications, analysis of procedures, field tests, and assisting in the performance of an audit. They also have to create reports about the company’s environmental impact. Some of the jobs titles that an environmental engineer could grow into are director of engineering and engineering manager.

Environmental Engineer

What does an Environmental Engineer do?

Environmental Engineer

Environmental engineers conduct hazardous-waste management studies, in which they evaluate the significance of the hazard and advise on treating and containing it. They collaborate with environmental scientists, planners, hazardous waste technicians, engineers, and other specialists, such as experts in law and business, to address environmental problems and sustainability.

Environmental engineers study ways to minimize the effects of acid rain, global warming, automobile emissions, and ozone depletion. They also design municipal water supply and industrial wastewater treatment systems and research the environmental impact of proposed construction projects.

When designing facilities and processes for treating wastewater and other pollution, environmental engineers strive to solve several issues at once, from workers’ safety to environmental protection. They identify and anticipate problems to prevent losses for their employers, safeguard workers’ health, and mitigate environmental damage.

  • Design Knowledge

    Environmental engineers design projects leading to environmental protection, such as water reclamation facilities, air pollution control systems, and operations that convert waste to energy

  • Reporting

    Environmental engineers prepare, review, and update environmental investigation reports. They analyze scientific data and do quality-control checks.

  • Compliance Knowledge

    Environmental engineers Inspect industrial and municipal facilities and programs to ensure compliance with environmental regulations.

  • Support

    These engineers obtain, update, and maintain plans, permits, and standard operating procedures. They also provide technical support for environmental remediation projects and legal actions.

Water treatment plant operator

A water treatment plant operator ensures proper care of waterways like canals, reservoirs and sewage ways to reduce waste and maintain water sources used for drinking water. They’re responsible for conducting tests on water quality and operating control room equipment to filter water and dispose of waste products.

Environmental compliance specialist

An environmental compliance specialist typically works for government agencies to uphold environmental laws and regulations. They visit manufacturing plants, factories and other industrial sites to inspect operations. They run tests using specialized equipment to record pollution levels and other potential waste factors. Environmental compliance specialists also consider how an industrial site might affect local communities or ecosystems and enforce standards accordingly.

Land surveyor

Land surveyors work for construction companies, contractors and government agencies to survey land before the start of construction projects. They record measurements, take pictures and make a note of any environmental factors the crew needs to accommodate for. This includes soil type, vegetation, waterways and the overall levelness of a plot of land.



Environmental engineers earn an average yearly salary of $96,820.


Starting-level environmental engineer earnings begin at:

$28.76 per hour
$59,820 per year

Senior-level environmental engineer earnings begin at:

$60.67 per hour
$126,190 per year

Mid-level environmental engineer earnings begin at:

$46.55 per hour
$96,820 per year

Top-level environmental engineer earnings begin at:

$73.65 per hour
$153,200 per year

Junior-level environmental engineer earnings begin at:

$35.99 per hour
$74,850 per year

These are 2021 national salary averages and may fluctuate based on location.

What does the workplace for an Environmental Engineer look like?

Environmental engineers often work with business people, lawyers, and other professionals outside of their field, and are required to read and understand documents that are sometimes not within their scope of training. Often, their designs are only a part of a larger project. Therefore, they need to foresee how the proposed designs will interact with other components in the process, including the workers, machinery, equipment, or the environment.

The typical workday of an environmental engineer varies. One day might be spent collaborating with other professionals on planning an upcoming city project or solving a resource problem. Another day might be spent on-site, monitoring the progress and adherence of city and federal codes of an ongoing project.

As an environmental engineer, your tasks will vary based on your setting. When working on urban or regional planning, you might use an office, do field research on location, or work at construction sites when implementing solutions.

How to Become an Environmental Engineer?

Environmental Engineer

Students interested in studying environmental engineering should take high school courses in chemistry, biology, physics, and mathematics, including algebra, trigonometry, and calculus.

Entry-level environmental engineering jobs require a bachelor’s degree in environmental engineering or a related field, such as civil engineering, chemical engineering, or mechanical engineering.

Employers also value practical experience. Therefore, cooperative engineering programs, in which college credit is awarded for structured job experience, are valuable as well. Getting a license improves the chances for employment.

At some colleges and universities, a student can enroll in a five-year program that leads to both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree. A graduate degree allows an engineer to work as an instructor at some colleges and universities or to do research and development.

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