Environmental Engineer

Environmental Engineer

Career Overview

Environmental engineers use scientific principles (related to engineering, biology, chemistry) to analyze environmental problems and develop solutions. They often work on issues related to public health, pollution control, recycling, and waste disposal.


A four-year bachelor's degree in environmental, civil, or chemical engineering (or a related field) is likely required to obtain this position. A higher degree (master's) in a related field, which may take an additional two-three years to earn, would be more valuable and may be necessary to obtain positions in some organizations.

Future Outlook

Employment of environmental engineers is projected to grow 3 percent from 2019 to 2029, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Environmental engineers should continue to be needed to help utility companies and water treatment plants comply with federal or state environmental regulations, such as regulations regarding emissions from coal-fired power plants.

Work Environment

Environmental engineers work in a variety of settings because of the nature of the tasks they do. When they are working with other engineers and urban and regional planners, environmental engineers are likely to be in offices. When they are carrying out solutions through construction projects, they are likely to be at construction sites.

Recommended High School Courses

  • Chemistry
  • Biology
  • Algebra
  • Calculus
  • Physics
  • Mathematics
  • Trigonometry

  • Active Learning - Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
  • Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Complex Problem Solving - Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
  • Coordination - Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Instructing - Teaching others how to do something.
  • Judgment and Decision Making - Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
  • Learning Strategies - Selecting and using training/instructional methods and procedures appropriate for the situation when learning or teaching new things.
  • Mathematics - Using mathematics to solve problems.
  • Monitoring - Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
  • Negotiation - Bringing others together and trying to reconcile differences.
  • Persuasion - Persuading others to change their minds or behavior.
  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • Science - Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.
  • Social Perceptiveness - Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Systems Analysis - Determining how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect outcomes.
  • Systems Evaluation - Identifying measures or indicators of system performance and the actions needed to improve or correct performance, relative to the goals of the system.
  • Time Management - Managing one's own time and the time of others.
  • Writing - Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
  • Administration and Management - Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
  • Biology - Knowledge of plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, interdependencies, and interactions with each other and the environment.
  • Chemistry - Knowledge of the chemical composition, structure, and properties of substances and of the chemical processes and transformations that they undergo. This includes uses of chemicals and their interactions, danger signs, production techniques, and disposal methods.
  • Computers and Electronics - Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
  • Customer and Personal Service - Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
  • Design - Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.
  • Engineering and Technology - Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Law and Government - Knowledge of laws, legal codes, court procedures, precedents, government regulations, executive orders, agency rules, and the democratic political process.
  • Mathematics - Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
  • Physics - Knowledge and prediction of physical principles, laws, their interrelationships, and applications to understanding fluid, material, and atmospheric dynamics, and mechanical, electrical, atomic and sub- atomic structures and processes.
  • Public Safety and Security - Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.
  • Category Flexibility - The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
  • Deductive Reasoning - The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
  • Flexibility of Closure - The ability to identify or detect a known pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) that is hidden in other distracting material.
  • Fluency of Ideas - The ability to come up with a number of ideas about a topic (the number of ideas is important, not their quality, correctness, or creativity).
  • Inductive Reasoning - The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
  • Information Ordering - The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
  • Mathematical Reasoning - The ability to choose the right mathematical methods or formulas to solve a problem.
  • Memorization - The ability to remember information such as words, numbers, pictures, and procedures.
  • Near Vision - The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
  • Number Facility - The ability to add, subtract, multiply, or divide quickly and correctly.
  • Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • Originality - The ability to come up with unusual or clever ideas about a given topic or situation, or to develop creative ways to solve a problem.
  • Perceptual Speed - The ability to quickly and accurately compare similarities and differences among sets of letters, numbers, objects, pictures, or patterns. The things to be compared may be presented at the same time or one after the other. This ability also includes comparing a presented object with a remembered object.
  • Problem Sensitivity - The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
  • Selective Attention - The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
  • Speech Clarity - The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
  • Speech Recognition - The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
  • Speed of Closure - The ability to quickly make sense of, combine, and organize information into meaningful patterns.
  • Visualization - The ability to imagine how something will look after it is moved around or when its parts are moved or rearranged.
  • Written Comprehension - The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
  • Written Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
  • Advise others regarding green practices or environmental concerns.
  • Confer with other personnel to resolve design or operational problems.
  • Investigate the environmental impact of projects.
  • Inspect facilities or sites to determine if they meet specifications or standards.
  • Design environmental control systems.
  • Maintain operational records or records systems.
  • Direct environmental development activities.
  • Prepare technical or operational reports.
  • Develop technical methods or processes.
  • Explain project details to the general public.
  • Train personnel on proper operational procedures.
  • Purchase materials, equipment, or other resources.
  • Monitor activities affecting environmental quality.
  • Confer with technical personnel to prepare designs or operational plans.
  • Prepare detailed work plans.
  • Assist engineers or scientists with research.
  • Prepare project budgets.
  • Determine operational criteria or specifications.
  • Prepare operational reports.
  • Prepare procedural documents.
  • Teach safety standards or environmental compliance methods.
  • Package materials for transport.
  • Test characteristics of materials or structures.
  • Prepare research or technical reports on environmental issues.
  • Write reports or evaluations.


Arizona State University
California Institute Of T...
California State Universi...
Carnegie Mellon Universit...
Clarkson University
Clemson University
Cleveland State Universit...
Colorado School Of Mines
Connecticut College
Dartmouth College
Delaware Technical And Co...
Drexel University
Duke University
Florida Atlantic Universi...
Florida Gulf Coast Univer...
Florida International Uni...
Florida Polytechnic Unive...
Florida State University
Gannon University- Erie C...
Georgia Institute Of Tech...
Illinois Institute Of Tec...
Massachusetts Institute O...
Missouri University Of Sc...
New Jersey Institute Of T...
New Mexico Institute Of M...
New York University
North Dakota State Univer...
Norwich University
Old Dominion University
Oregon State University
Pennsylvania State Univer...
Pennsylvania State Univer...
Rowan University
Stanford University
Stevens Institute Of Tech...
Suny College Of Agricultu...
United States Military Ac...
University Of Arizona- Co...
University Of California-...
University Of California-...
University Of California-...
University Of California-...
University Of California-...
University Of Central Flo...
University Of Detroit Mer...
University Of Hartford
University Of Illinois At...
University Of Massachuset...
University Of Massachuset...
University Of Memphis
University Of Michigan- A...
University Of Nevada- Ren...
University Of New Hampshi...
University Of New Mexico
University Of Texas- Aust...
University Of Texas- El P...
University Of Washington-...
University Of Wisconsin-...
Utah State University
Vanderbilt University
Yale University
Youngstown State Universi...
Cape Breton University
Carleton University
Conestoga College- Cam...
Dalhousie University
École De Technologie S...
Mcgill University
Polytechnique Montréal
University Of Alberta
University Of Regina
University Of Waterloo
University Of Windsor-...

Potential Scholarships

5 Strong Scholarship
Agnes M. Lindsay Scholars...
- Traditional Fulbright P...

Approx Salary Expectation

Low End:
$54,330.00 /yr
$88,860.00 /yr
High End:
$142,070.00 /yr


Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/.
Trend Analysis - Explorer the Market, Labour Market Information, Government of Canada https://www.jobbank.gc.ca/trend-analysis.
O*NET OnLine, National Center for O*NET Development, https://www.onetonline.org/.