Engineer's Corner

Career in Environmental Engineering [All You Need to Know]

Career In Environmental Engineering - A Definite Guide

importance of environmental engineering

Environmental engineering is a broad engineering practice that mainly focuses on the management of environmental resources. It deals on developing processes, models and acquiring knowledge aiming to protect human health and preserving the systems that support life. Management of the environmental resources involve the innovation of new technologies, researching scientific studies dedicated to the reduction of waste and minimizing pollution, which results to a better environmental condition. This kind of environmental process can take the form of different engineering fields, including civil engineering, renewable energy and even architectural designs.

Environmental engineering principles and fundamentals are used to solve complex environmental problems including infrastructure and management ventures. This goes to show that environmental engineering is really broad with different industries being encompassed by its field. Ultimately, the goal of environmental engineering is to create sustainability of resources, and produce a better living condition for human life. This dedication for human life and environmental health is what makes environmental engineering an important field in the industry.

Before reading further, you can also try our quiz to check which engineering filed is most suited for you! Take the quiz here  !

Having an Environmental Engineering Degree

Pursuing a degree in environmental engineering takes passion and determination as with other engineering fields. Environmental engineering programs from different universities may focus on various themes but all of them encompasses these three important topics, namely, environmental fluid mechanics, air and water quality engineering and human health. Same as the other engineering programs, a degree in environmental engineering requires problem-solving skills, a good aptitude for sciences and mathematics and the ability to be creative and innovative. Some universities allow specialization and offers electives in specific fields.

degree in environmental engineering

Some of the specializations include majoring in sustainability, transport or water engineering. Sustainability deals with having to monitor climate change impacts and devising of processes to lessen the effect of these impacts. Engineering that deals with sustainability may opt to venture into international programs for environmental management. Transport and water engineers as its name suggest applies engineering problem solving skills and innovation to solve transport and water problems. There can be more specializations applicable to pursue in an environmental engineering degree, it is just a matter of which university one enrolls. Further research can be done to arrive at which kind of specialization suits you better and which university is best for you.



Taking Up a Master's Degree in Environmental Engineering

A master's degree in environmental engineering can be a very good credentials for future progress in your career. There a lot of options to choose from considering the different master's degree that is available which deals with different specializations, and in addition to that, different universities provide different opportunities too. University of California- Berkeley, for example. has three different course works for their master's program. Starting with Air quality engineering, which basically focuses on the study of processes in determining concentration, fates and effects of air pollutants guided by engineering process. The university also has Environmental Fluid Mechanics and Hydrology which studies the processes involved in air and water movement in the environment. This also involves the study of transport of contaminants that is involved in the movement of air and water. They also have water quality engineering which is kind of self-explanatory. This deals with studying sources, transport and treatment of chemicals that contaminate water.

masters degree in environmental studies

Stanford university also one of the best engineering schools offers a master's degree in environmental engineering. Their master's degree encompasses a broader list of course works than University of California-Berkeley. They have course works for Aquatic Chemistry and Biology and Process Engineering. This also focuses in air and water quality and pollution that includes groundwater remediation and chemical treatment. This course focuses on analysis and problem solving regarding aqueous environments. Another course offered is the Environmental and Geophysical Fluid mechanic which deals with fluid transport and mixing process, where it studies the natural flow of water bodies and atmospheric circulations. Those who are interested in Environmental and Modeling and Simulation can also take this coursework. The course focuses on teaching the modeling of groundwater, surface water and atmospheric flows. They also have the option for students to focus more on Human Health and the environment. This course deals with the environmental impact on human health. Including how contamination and pollution affect living quality both political and socioeconomically of the human lives.

Lastly, they have courses in Hydrology and water resources which again deals with flows on different porous media. These are just some of the top schools and the master courses they offer. One can do further research having the following information as background knowledge on what to expect if ever they decide to venture in a master's degree for environmental engineering. Still, there are a lot of top engineering schools out there that are not mentioned in this article and are worth looking into.



Top Schools to consider for a degree in Environmental Engineering

As stated earlier, University of California- Berkeley is one top school for environmental engineering. As a matter of fact, they are regarded as top 1 environmental engineering school in 2019, ranked by Best Grad Schools US News. And also granted as the 3rd best engineering school. They offer different course specialization for those interested to further expand their knowledge and skills in environmental engineering. They offer their master's degree with a tuition fee of $11,442 per year for in-state and full time students and $26, 544 for out-of-state full time students. Also stated in the article earlier is the Stanford University. They are ranked as the 2nd best environmental and engineering school still by the same institution. They have more courses to offer to specialize in, especially when pursing a master's degree in environmental engineering. with a tuition fee of $54,015 per year for full time students. Another top school one can enroll is the University of Michigan- Ann Arbor, they are ranked as the 3rd top environmental engineering school and is also the 5th best engineering school. They offer a master's degree program at a tuition of $26,336 per year for in-state full time students and $49,508 for out-of-state full-time students.

University of California- Berkeley

Another top school is Georgia Institute of Technology which ranks at 4th place as the best environmental engineering course and 7th place as the best engineering school. They offer a joint BS/MS Degree program where students study and meet requirements as undergraduate students and awarded the Bachelor's degree as soon as they meet the requirement. But the good part comes after they achieved graduate status, graduate school application fees are waived and GRE requirements are waived. Their master's degree is offered at $13,788 per year for in-state full-time students and $28,568 for out-of-state full-time students.

environmental students in college

Another school ranked at number four as top environmental engineering school is the University of Illinois- Urbana-Champaign. They offer their master's degree at a tuition of $18,256 per year for in-state and full-time students and $34,330 for out-of-state full-time students. These are some of the top schools ranked by Best Grad Schools, US News, but they are not the only option available out there. There can be cheaper schools out there with the same quality of education. These are just recommendations and can be used as reference for further research. It is best if one does more research on schools so as to make a good choice if ever one decides to take an environmental engineering program. Having this engineering degree could open to a lot of opportunities for career growth and the industry. Environmental engineers can be in demand and are sought after especially in today's era.

Career Opportunities For Environmental Engineers

With climate change being a very hot topic now more than ever, environmental engineers are also very much needed. As environmental engineers spend their skills in devising eco-friendly designs and efficient usage of resources, asses and treats contamination and pollution, creates recycling processes and creation of ways to reduce hazardous wastes, they are very much capable of dealing with climate change. They may work with people in different sectors of the scientific and engineering industries to spearhead projects for sustainability. It is in fact a pretty obvious fact, that environmental engineers have a lot of opportunities for their careers. Managerial positions are also very much open for environmental engineers further into their careers, so they should also have the ability to work with a team and learn people skills aside from their engineering knowledge.



Stating some of the most common careers in environmental engineering, starting with Environmental Health and Safety Director. Basically, this kind of position ensures that companies are following environmental regulations and continually create programs that promote sustainability. This position can have approximately $103,961 in median annual salary as stated by PayScale. One can also pursue a position as an Environmental Engineering Consultant. These kind of engineers help companies have better environmental practices and design so as to have them produce lesser environmental harm.

Being a Water Project Manager is also a good position as an environmental engineer. One needs to have specialization in water engineering in this one to have greater edge of other applicants. Various jobs can be done by Water Project managers including flood risk management. Also having civil engineering background can be beneficial in dealing with the design, construction and maintenance of buildings for proper function in the cities. Average salary of Water project managers is approximately $ 74,000 according to SimplyHired website.

environmental engineers at work

Green Building engineers are also viable positions to consider. The goal of green building engineers is to create energy and resource efficient buildings that protects the environment from damages dealt by infrastructure projects. Salary ranges from $76,000 to $84,000 according to BLS. Engineers working in the industry for a period of time or those who acquired master's degree may opt to consider applying as Senior Environmental Engineers. Senior engineers generally do head projects, oversee and mentor those under him. Just like a manager, Senior engineers make sure that deadlines and budgets are within the expectations. In the US, Senior Environmental Engineers approximately gain $92,898 annually according to PayScale. These are just some of the many opportunities available for environmental engineering graduates. Though it is to be noted that these position may require engineers to be in the industry for a good amount of time with experience and also some may need master's degree.

Top Companies in this Industry

One of the biggest companies in the environmental engineering industry is the AECOM Technology Corporation. The company projects commonly focus on water, energy and transportation. Being a pretty well-known company and being a global company, engineers in AECOM have good workplace practice making it an ideal company to work for. Another global company is the CH2M. This company generally has the similar kinds of projects with AECOM. They also support foundations that promote sustainable companies and Science and Engineering projects. Bechtel is another global company focusing on construction, project managements and engineering. HDR, Inc. is also a good company to consider. They have large scale construction projects offered to both public and private businesses.

JACOBS engineering

Jacobs Engineering Group, another global player offers similar projects and they have many offices spread out in different countries offering more opportunities for environmental engineers. Engineers can always look for more available companies online and the companies mentioned are just some of the possible good companies to venture into. It is of course the engineer's choice to go whatever company he chooses to go. What matters is one does further research and discover new things that interests you, and gives you passion to do what you do best. It is by loving what you do that makes you excel better in your field.



Overall, everything stated in this article are things that makes environmental engineering a very good option for career progression and even as a profession in particular. It emphasizes the strong points of being an environmental engineer and things that are needed to pursue this profession. The passion for environmental progress can push us forward to work better and be better. Especially with the changing climate and the rise of environmental protests, people and companies need to be educated and taught about environmental issues. These things are what environmental engineers specialize in. They can be the beacon of hope for our younger generation and the catalyst for the start of a better and sustainable world.

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