Environmental engineers agree that their chosen profession is immensely rewarding. Not only is it a satisfying profession that involves protecting the environment from the effects of polluting and waste-producing human activity, it also opens many doors.
Projects can be challenging, but we know challenging work makes for a happy professional life. It is also a stable profession where there is work to be done throughout the year, unlike fields of engineering (such as construction) in which the seasons affect jobs.
Professionals in this field can come from different engineering backgrounds. Bachelor’s courses offer environmental engineering certifications today, though the job of using science to utilize the environment for our needs is as old as civilization.
Graduate engineers with a bachelor’s degree in chemical or civil engineering can also pursue a career in this field.
When you take up a career in environmental engineering, there are many paths for you to follow in a professional landscape full of possibilities.
The Kinds of Jobs Environmental Engineers Do
In a nutshell, your job as an environmental engineer will be to solve environmental problems of pollution, waste disposal, public health etc. Climate change, sustainability, and other global issues can also be your concern.
The wide scope of the field opens up many types of positions, in different environments.
- If you work in an engineering firm, you may find yourself working with regional and urban planners.
- You may work as a consultant with businesses, and help with business policy making. You may often work with lawyers and present at seminars.
- Many professionals work on-site with environmental scientists and hazardous waste technicians.
Entry-level environmental engineers will typically work with other experts in the field before going independent. With a Master’s degree, you can progress to the position of a manager.
Alternate job titles in the field can include environmental planner, environmental safety specialist, air pollution control engineer, among others.
You will find there is a rewarding sense of responsibility associated with your job in the profession. After all, you will be working on plans to reduce waste and pollution and design technologies and regulations for this purpose.
Without people in this profession, there would be no one to make sure that environmental laws are applied effectively in industries, manufacturing facilities, mining facilities etc. This is a profession of unsung heroes who have worked to improve sanitation, waste management and waste treatment, public health etc. and made the modern world a safer place than the disease-ridden past.
The Many Doors that Environmental Engineering Can Open
In today’s precariously balanced world, there is a lot that needs to be done in the field of environmental engineering, as well as a lot that has been done.
Policy-Related Jobs in the Government or in Business
Concerns about the availability of water, quality of water and other human impact issues are growing in state and local governments. Naturally, local, state and federal government are some of the employers of senior level environmental engineers. Your job in these positions is to work on regulations and prevent environmental mishaps. On the path to these positions of responsibility, there is a lot of scope for advancement.
Talented individuals can advance towards government jobs involving policy-making by pursuing higher degrees like PhDs and professional courses. Continuing studies can also enable consulting engineers, industrial employees and others, to fit into positions of policy-making in business.
Hands-On Consulting, Architectural, and Engineering Jobs
Not every student in the field needs to do a Masters’ or a Ph.D. Environmental Engineering is an applied science. As a bachelors’ graduate, you may be employed in engineering firms, or in management, technical and scientific consulting firms, in various roles. Some of it may involve working on-site at different locations. This offers scope for travel. Many skilled professionals in this field participate in projects while traveling around the world.
Areas of Study
These are a few of the areas in which environmental engineers may work:
- Conducting hazardous waste management studies
- Designing systems for industrial and municipal water supplies
- Researching environmental impact of construction projects
- Monitoring the progress of environmental programs
- Studying ways to minimize effects of climate change, acid rain, ozone depletion, auto emissions etc.
According to 2012 figures, 28 percent of engineers were employed in architectural, engineering and other related services. 21 percent were employed in consulting firms. State governments employed 13 percent. The federal and local governments employed 6 and 7 percent respectively.
With a 7 billion population that is growing, human impact is likely to need more shepherding. As a result, there is high job growth in this field.
If you think you’re prepared to make an impact against the human impact on the environment, find out which job is right for you.