What You Can Do with an Environmental Engineering Degree
The ultimate purpose of an environmental engineering degree is to enable you to solve environmental problems, and be a competent professional in a variety of environmental engineering-related careers. In other words, it enables you to become an environmental engineer. But what does that mean? And is that all you can do with this degree?
Careers in Environmental Engineering
If you choose to pursue a career in environmental engineering, you will be in high demand in a variety of industries. This is due to the technical expertise, hands-on problem solving skills and keen understanding of environmental issues you will posses as an environmental engineering graduate.
These sectors in which you are likely to find work include, but are not limited to, resource industries such as forestry, mining, pulp and paper, chemical process, fisheries, agri-food, and oil and gas.
For example, as an environmental engineer you might be involved in performing an environmental impact assessment, in designing or managing systems for water distribution and collection, water treatment plants, solid waste handling and processing facilities, landfills, and air treatment plants.
Other Career Fields
As an environmental engineering graduate, you aren’t limited to these options however; you can also choose to pursue careers in research, environmental technologies, education, training, and consultation. If you want, you can even apply your transferrable skills to a career that isn’t related to your degree at all!
Job Board Environmental Engineering Students & Grads
So, if you’d like to know more about where an education in environmental engineering can take you, read on below. This environmental engineering careers guide contains detailed occupational information on career paths relevant to this degree. Included are job descriptions, expected salaries, educational requirements and other pertinent information related to these careers.
What Does an Environmental Engineering Degree Program Teach You?
Through a combination of coursework and hands-on learning, an environmental engineering program enables you to gain an understanding of engineering fundamentals, analysis and design.
More specifically, environmental engineering programs provide you with knowledge of the natural sciences (chemistry, biology, and microbiology) as well as skills and knowledge in civil engineering.
What is the Purpose of an Environmental Engineering Degree?
The main purpose of environmental engineering as an area of professional practice is to ensure that development activities within our society are undertaken in a sustainable manner. In order to achieve sustainability, our resources must be managed in such a way that pollution and environmental degradation are minimized.
One of the main goals of environmental engineering programs as a whole is to provide you, and other students, with the knowledge base and skill set you’ll need to become effective in future environmental engineering careers, so that our society can accomplish these goals.
Employable Skills Gained by Environmental Engineering Graduates
Environmental engineering programs are designed to teach you skills that are necessary to succeed in a career as an environmental engineer. As a graduate of one of these programs, you should be armed with skills and knowledge in the following areas:
• Common industrial process design
• Design of waste-water and air pollution control technologies
• Function, process and interactions of the major environmental systems: air, land, water, and living
• Fundamental concepts of heat, mass transport, fluid dynamics and process of water and dispersion of pollutants in surface and groundwater
• Engineering and environmental science fundamentals
• Geo-environmental and mining environmental engineering
• Wastewater analysis and treatment
• Methods in the prevention and control of industrial pollution
Career Guides Related to an Environmental Engineering Degree
The knowledge and skills you can gain by studying environmental engineering at the university level serve as an excellent foundation for a variety of careers.
Below, we’ve chosen careers that we feel relate to this degree, either because the subject matter of the degree relates to the occupational field, or because the skills you’ll need to be an effective employee can be gained in an environmental engineering degree program. Please note, this is not an inclusive list:
Please Note: Some of the above listed careers require additional education, training and/or experience. Click on careers that are of interest to you to find out more about the qualifications you’ll need.
Who Hires Environmental Engineering Graduates?
Below is a list of the types of companies and organizations that commonly hire environmental engineers (not an exhaustive list):
• Architectural & engineering Firms
• Agri-food producers and distributors
• Engineering consulting firms
• Federal government departments (such as Forestry, Transportation, etc.)
• Provincial/state government departments (such as Forestry, Transportation, etc.)
• Municipal government departments
• Utility companies
• Energy companies (including oil and gas)
• Mining and lumber companies
• Colleges and universities
• Public and private research firms
• Special Interest Groups
• Non-profit organizations
• Conservation and environmental groups
• Chemical development and processing companies
Environmental Engineering Degree Jobs
Whether you're an environmental engineering student looking for a job to help you pay for school, or a graduate looking for an entry or mid-level job, our job board has opportunities directly and indirectly related to your degree.
Environmental Engineering Careers: Possible Work Settings
If you choose to pursue a career in the field of environmental engineering upon graduation, you could end up performing a wide variety of tasks, in many possible work settings. For example, you could end up…
• Providing advice to industry and government representatives concerning environmental policies, regulations and standards
• Conducting environmental audits to assess operating industrial sites to determine if operations satisfy environmental quality criteria, regulations and guidelines
• Developing pollution prevention and control plans for industrial clients
• Researching and developing methods for minimizing the creation of gaseous, liquid and solid waste
• Designing and developing wastewater collection, management and treatment systems for municipalities and industrial clients
• Conducting water quality assessments of rivers, lakes and groundwater
• Conducting air quality assessments at local, regional and global levels
• Assessing the potential impact that proposed land use projects will have on the environment
Specializations in Environmental Engineering
There are many environmental problems to be solved…enter the environmental engineer. But can a general degree in environmental engineering help you solve a diverse range of problems? Well, sure it can. But, there’s no harm in picking a specialty if you really have an itch to solve a certain kind of problem.
Depending on your career and personal interests lie, you may be able to specialize in the following areas of environmental engineering:
• Air quality, monitoring, modeling and air pollution reduction
• The design and construction of industrial chemical processing and hazardous waste treatment facilities
• The design and construction of landfills
• Environmental assessment, modeling and site remediation for soil and groundwater waste management, collection and reduction
• Geo-environmental engineering
• Hazardous wastes, air and water resources
• Water and wastewater quality monitoring, modeling and water management and treatment, sewage management
Environmental Engineering Graduate Salary
The salary level you could earn as a graduate of an environmental engineering program can vary quite a bit, typically depending on the following factors:
• Your level of education (bachelor’s, graduate etc.)
• Whether or not you end up working in environmental engineering
• If you achieve a professional designation (such as PE)
• The amount of work experience you’ve accumulated
• The size and type of your employer
• The industry in which you find work
• The region in which you find work
That’s a lot of factors that can influence your earnings. To make it easier to determine what you could earn, let’s just look at the average salary level of an environmental engineer.
Environmental Engineer Salary Alberta: According to the 2013 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey, Albertans working as part of the Environmental Engineers occupational group earn an average salary of $92,054 per year.
Environmental Engineer Salary Canada: According to Service Canada, the average salary level of Canadian workers in the Civil Engineers occupational group is $75,488 per year.
Environmental Engineer Salary United States: According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary level of American workers in the Environmental Engineers occupational group is $80,890 per year.
Environmental Engineering Scholarships
If you’re an environmental engineering student looking for help in paying for school, then you’re in luck; our scholarships database has Canadian and American scholarships that are specific to environmental engineering, as well as scholarships that are open to any field of study!
Success Tip: Be sure to apply for any and all scholarships for which you qualify, as there are millions of dollars of scholarships in Canada and the United States that go unused every year due to a lack of applicants.