Career Development

What Does an Environmental Engineer Do?

Find out what an environmental engineer does, how to get this job, and what it takes to succeed as an environmental engineer.

Environmental engineers are responsible for ensuring that our world is a safe and healthy place to live. They do this by studying the environment and identifying any issues or concerns, then developing plans to resolve these problems.

Environmental engineers may work on a wide range of projects, from designing wastewater treatment plants to cleaning up contaminated soil. Whatever their area of focus, they all have one thing in common: they’re dedicated to protecting human health and preserving the natural environment we depend on for survival.

Environmental Engineer Job Duties

Environmental engineers have a wide range of responsibilities, which can include:

  • Recommending solutions to environmental problems such as poor air quality, contaminated drinking water, or exposure to hazardous materials
  • Reviewing plans for construction projects to ensure compliance with environmental regulations
  • Conducting scientific research to improve understanding of environmental issues
  • Developing models and conducting experiments to test the effects of various materials on the environment
  • Conducting inspections of industrial facilities to ensure that they are complying with environmental regulations
  • Creating reports about environmental issues such as pollution levels in rivers or groundwater contamination levels
  • Preparing proposals for new laws or regulations concerning environmental issues
  • Designing procedures for recycling facilities or waste disposal methods to minimize the impact on the environment
  • Developing plans for recycling programs, waste reduction campaigns, and other initiatives that help preserve natural resources

Environmental Engineer Salary & Outlook

Environmental engineer salaries vary depending on their level of education, years of experience, and the type of company they work for.

  • Median Annual Salary: $85,000 ($40.87/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $122,000 ($58.65/hour)

The employment of environmental engineers is expected to grow at an average rate over the next decade.

Environmental concerns have become more prominent in recent years, leading to greater demand for the services of environmental engineers. These engineers will be needed to help clean up polluted areas and improve efficiency in energy production and waste management.

Environmental Engineer Job Requirements

To become an environmental engineer, you will likely need to have the following:

Education: Environmental engineers typically need a bachelor’s degree in environmental engineering, environmental science or a related field. Some of the coursework that these programs include is environmental chemistry, biology, mathematics, statistics and engineering.

Many environmental engineers choose to pursue a master’s degree to increase their earning potential and qualify for management positions. Master’s programs usually take two years to complete and include coursework and a research project.

Training & Experience: Environmental engineers typically receive on-the-job training once they are hired. This training may include learning the specific software and computer programs the company uses and how to use the laboratory equipment.

Certifications & Licenses: Environmental engineers may pursue additional credentials that allow them to work in specific industries or geographic locations. Some employers may also prefer candidates who have earned additional credentials.

Environmental Engineer Skills

Environmental engineers need the following skills in order to be successful:

Technical skills: Technical skills are the abilities to use software, equipment and other tools to complete tasks. Environmental engineers use technical skills to analyze data, create models and perform other tasks.

Communication skills: Environmental engineers often work in teams with other professionals, so communication skills are important for them to be able to work with others effectively. They also need to be able to explain technical information to non-technical audiences, so communication skills like active listening, speaking and writing are important.

Problem-solving skills: Problem-solving skills are essential for environmental engineers, as they may be tasked with finding solutions to environmental issues. These professionals may also use their problem-solving skills to find ways to reduce the environmental impact of a project.

Analytical skills: Analytical skills are the ability to solve problems and make decisions based on the information you have. As an environmental engineer, analytical skills are important for evaluating the impact of your work and making decisions about how to proceed.

Project management: Project management skills allow environmental engineers to oversee the planning, execution and completion of a project. This includes managing the time and resources needed to complete a project. This is an important skill for environmental engineers to have because it allows them to ensure that a project is completed on time and within budget.

Environmental Engineer Work Environment

Environmental engineers work in a variety of settings, including offices, factories, and construction sites. They may spend time outdoors at hazardous waste sites, monitoring air and water quality, or they may be confined to a laboratory testing samples. Environmental engineers work regular hours, although they may be required to work overtime to meet deadlines or to respond to emergencies, such as oil spills or chemical accidents. They may also travel to attend conferences or to visit project sites. Environmental engineers may be exposed to hazardous materials and conditions, but they take precautions to protect themselves.

Environmental Engineer Trends

Here are three trends influencing how environmental engineers work. Environmental engineers will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.

The Need for More Diversity in the Workforce

The environmental engineering field is growing rapidly, and with it comes a need for more diversity in the workforce.

As the population grows and becomes more diverse, so too does the demand for environmentally-friendly products and services. This means that businesses will need to hire engineers who are familiar with the latest technologies and can help them meet the needs of their customers.

In order to be successful in this field, environmental engineers will need to be able to work with a variety of people from different backgrounds. They will also need to be able to communicate effectively and understand the needs of their clients.

More Collaboration Between Engineers and Other Professionals

The trend of collaboration between engineers and other professionals is becoming increasingly common as businesses look for ways to improve efficiency and productivity.

Environmental engineers can capitalize on this trend by developing strong relationships with other professionals in their company. This includes everyone from managers to janitors, as all of these people have a role to play in creating a productive and efficient workplace. By working together, environmental engineers can create a better environment for everyone in their company.

Greater Focus on Energy Efficiency

Energy efficiency has become an increasingly important topic in recent years, as countries around the world strive to reduce their carbon footprint. As a result, environmental engineers are in high demand, as they are responsible for designing and implementing energy-efficient solutions.

Environmental engineers can capitalize on this trend by becoming experts in energy efficiency. This will allow them to help companies save money on their energy bills while also helping to protect the environment.

How to Become an Environmental Engineer

A career as an environmental engineer can be rewarding in many ways. It offers the opportunity to work on a variety of projects that have a positive impact on the environment, and it provides the chance to use your engineering skills to solve complex problems.

As an environmental engineer, you’ll need to have a strong background in math and science. You’ll also need to be able to think creatively about how to solve complex problems. Additionally, it’s important to be able to communicate effectively with other professionals and with the public.

Related: How to Write an Environmental Engineer Resume

Advancement Prospects

Environmental engineers typically start their careers in entry-level positions, such as environmental scientist or technician. With experience, they can advance to positions with more responsibility, such as project manager or site supervisor. Some environmental engineers eventually become consultants or start their own engineering firms.

Those who wish to move into management or executive positions may need to obtain a master’s degree in business administration or a related field. Some environmental engineers also become certified environmental engineers (CEEs). To be eligible for certification, candidates must have a bachelor’s degree in engineering from an accredited institution, four years of relevant work experience, and must pass a written exam.

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