Just about every large-scale human activity has an impact on the environment. Preventing damage, and managing it when it does occur, is the job of environmental engineers. This is a career that combines practicality and creativity to keep air, soil, and water quality healthy and productive. Environmental engineers use research and design skills to manage waste treatment and pollution control efforts. They also use a variety of tools, and the latest technology, to find efficient ways to monitor environmental well-being. Since much of their work involves meeting government regulations, environmental engineers need to be experts at requesting permits and maintaining plans and procedures that insure others support the systems they put in place. Environmental engineers divide their work between the office and the outdoors. They often do some traveling to collaborate with scientists and experts in law or business. Many work as consultants to help corporations and government agencies with cleanup of contaminated sites. A master’s degree in environmental engineering or a related field is required for some positions, while other positions require only a bachelor’s degree. When this job is done well, the earth gains a little protection, so future generations can enjoy its bounty.
What they do:
Research, design, plan, or perform engineering duties in the prevention, control, and remediation of environmental hazards using various engineering disciplines. Work may include waste treatment, site remediation, or pollution control technology.
On the job, you would:
Design, or supervise the design of, systems, processes, or equipment for control, management, or remediation of water, air, or soil quality.
Advise corporations or government agencies of procedures to follow in cleaning up contaminated sites to protect people and the environment.
Collaborate with environmental scientists, planners, hazardous waste technicians, engineers, experts in law or business, or other specialists to address environmental problems.
Engineering and Technology
product and service development
Math and Science
arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, or statistics
Arts and Humanities
Safety and Government
law and government
reading work related information
thinking about the pros and cons of different ways to solve a problem
noticing a problem and figuring out the best way to solve it
People and Technology Systems
thinking about the pros and cons of different options and picking the best one
measuring how well a system is working and how to improve it
read and understand what is written
listen and understand what people say
Ideas and Logic
notice when problems happen
use rules to solve problems
add, subtract, multiply, or divide
choose the right type of math to solve a problem
see hidden patterns
People interested in this work like activities that include ideas, thinking, and figuring things out.
They do well at jobs that need:
Attention to Detail
You might use software like this on the job:
Analytical or scientific software
DHI Water and Environment MIKE SHE
The MathWorks MATLAB
Greenhouse gas management software
Hazardous materials management HMS software
Computer aided design CAD software
master's degree or bachelor's degree usually needed
New job opportunities are likely in the future.
Green jobs will change the work and skills needed.