Environmental engineers use the principles of engineering, soil science, biology, and chemistry to develop solutions to environmental problems. They are involved in efforts to improve recycling, waste disposal, public health, and water and air pollution control.
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.
How to Become an Environmental Engineer
Environmental engineers must have a bachelor’s degree in environmental engineering or a related field, such as civil, chemical, or general engineering. Employers also value practical experience. Therefore, cooperative engineering programs, which provide college credit for structured job experience, are valuable as well.
Employment of environmental engineers is projected to grow 12 percent from 2014 to 2024, faster than the average for all occupations. State and local government concerns regarding water availability, and quality, should lead to efforts to increase the efficiency of water use.
This occupation supported 53,200 jobs in 2012 and 55,100 jobs in 2014, reflecting an increase of 3.6%. In 2012, this occupation was projected to increase by 15.4% in 2022 to 61,400 jobs. As of 2014, to keep pace with prediction, the expected number of jobs was 54,800, compared with an observed value of 55,100, 0.5% higher than expected. This indicates current employment trends are about on track with the 2012 trend within this occupation. In 2014, this occupation was projected to increase by 13.0% in 2024 to 62,000 jobs. Linear extrapolation of the 2012 projection for 2022 results in an expected number of 63,000 jobs for 2024, 1.6% higher than the 2014 projection for 2024. This indicates expectations for future employment trends are about on track with the 2012 trend within this occupation.