How to Start a Career in Environmental Engineering |StepbyStep Guide


Interested in a career in environmental engineering and want to study environmental engineering. But, Do not know, how to start a career in environmental engineering? and where to start? (Or) Just curious to know about the career possibilities in environmental science.

No need to worry anymore you will get every possible information about environmental engineering.

I will not take your time too much. I love to write in a short and clear way. You only have to give this article 5 minutes of reading.

And I am sure you will get all the career-related information about the environmental engineering in just 5 minutes.

Here’s how I am going to make it easy for you to start a career in environmental engineering.

You will get to know! About these things…

  • What is meant by environmental Engineering?
  • How long does it take to become an environmental engineer?
  • Environmental engineering skills
  • Eligibilities criteria to become PE
  • Work Environment and Job Outlook
  • What does an environmental engineer do?

Additionally, you will get to know some important tips and notes. That will help you to start your career in environmental engineering?

What are the words comes to your mind first when you hear the word environment engineer?

The most common thought regarding environmental engineers are they save the trees and forest (hug the trees, Joke!), protect the land, reduce the pollution, save the climate.

Yes, you are correct they take care of those things. But they also have to take care of many responsibilities related to the environment. 

environmental engineering infographic


What is Environmental Engineering all about?

Let’s first understand what is meant by Environment.

The environment is a vast concept that explains our biophysical environment such as air, water, land, and living beings.

[In the living beings, you can count humans, mammals, wildlife, tree, plant, or anything which is living creature.]

Environmental Engineering is one of the branches of engineering that motive is to saves our beloved nature and deprecate the environmental hazards.

Environmental engineering helps to improve our environment and keep the earth healthy for the future generations. An environmental engineer prevents and repairs ecological damage using science, ecology, biology and engineering skills.

Study of environmental engineering gives us many methods to attenuate and manage waste materials and pollution, clean the oxygen, water, soil and save us from harmful chemicals.

Environ Man like Super Man (Yah! Completely my opinion)

Environ Man maintain the balance between built-in environment (Environment changes by human activity) with the natural environment.


Importance of Environment Engineers

Have you ever imagined what will be our world look like without environmental engineering? I believe visual is more helpful resources to understand anything than writing.

An image could provide us more information as compared to a bunch word. Check these images for the natural environmental degradation.

environmental engineering images

These images are quite terrifying. If our beloved gifted environment is continuously polluting like the above visuals and no one to reduce it. Then definitely our world would become a place where no leaving creature could live.

It might be possible you are familiar with these dreadful images. And you also know tons of hazardous waste produced every day.

But you might not know all these issues solved by an environmental engineer. 

Now you understand world needs environmental engineers. That is why I called them superheroes.

If you had a question regarding, why is environmental engineering important for our planet?

I hope, you got your answer from the images and some bit of explanation.

From this, one more thing we can understand that there are lots of opportunities for the environmental engineer.


Environmental Engineering Prerequisite

Before pursuing your education in Environmental Engineering make sure to strong these subjects in your high school academics.

Maths:  Geometry, Calculus, Differential Equations Statistics

Chemistry: Focus on Inorganic chemistry

Biology: Microbiology 

If you already have a good grip on these subjects then good. It provides you more understandability in throughout the whole career of Environmental Engineering.

That does not mean you cannot take admission in Environmental Engineer. You can strong these subjects while pursuing your environmental education. 

Note: So here the key point is you must have a well understanding of those subjects.


Environmental Engineering Education Requirements

Education 1 (Mandate): You must have completed your high school [Subjects must have: Biology, Chemistry, Maths] to move further on environmental engineering career paths.

Education 2 (Mandate): Diploma or Associate Degree in any of the programmes

  • Waste management
  • Geography
  • Water and Wastewater Engineering
  • Environmental science and engineering

Happily, you can start working in the environmental related domain just doing diploma and associate courses. 

Even though, you can choose the diploma courses among these or any other related field of environmental engineering.


Education 2 (Mandate): Bachelor’s Degree

You can do your Bachelor’s in any of the below-given subjects (stream), based on your preference and interests

  • Biology
  • Geology 
  • Civil Engineering
  • General engineering
  • Earth Science
  • Geophysics
  • Genetic Engineering
  • Environmental Science 
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Chemistry 
  • Chemical Engineering 

Tips: I would recommend you to at least complete your bachelor’s degree in Environmental Engineering and then start your career.

Education 3 (Optional): Master’s + PhD 

I will recommend you to go for higher studies. In this career option, a formula applied

Higher the degree ∝ (directly proportional to) Good job or Higher salary

You can do your PhD in environmental engineering and become a powerful superhero, who saves the earth from an environmental danger. Seems to be like Amazing!

Note: You can do your major’s or bachelor’s in any related field to the environment.


Environmental Engineering Skills set

  • Aquatic
  • Hydrology and Hydrogeology
  • Biology
  • Ecology
  • Geology
  • Maths
  • Basic Physics
  • Chemistry
  • Government Law and regulations
  • Communication
  • Management
  • Passion for taking care of environmental issues

Note: Environmental Engineering is interdisciplinary in Civil Engineering.

Although, most of the universities took a decision to make environmental engineering a separate discipline.

Because of the increasing demands for environmental experts and facing difficulties to cover the whole syllabus.


Tools and Machinery use by an Environmental Engineer

  • Water quality Multi-Meter (YSI or HACH multi-meter or you can use any other meter). You can check oxygen level, pH, temperature, conductivity etc. using multi-metes.

Watch this video to get more information of how an environmental engineer uses water quality multi-meter for testing.

  • Soil testing kit

Watch this video for the visual explanation of soil testing in the laboratory.

  • Air quality measuring tools and machinery

These two videos give you an overview of different types of tools used to measure air quality index. And how to monitoring and measuring air quality.

To watch 1st video click here

For the 2nd video click here

  • Radiation Detector

Note: There are many methods to measure the quality of water and soil. You can test water and soil manually without using multi-meter.


Where do Environmental Engineers Work

Most of the time an environmental engineer spent their whole day in the field. And as a fresher, it might be possible you will also get your first project on the construction site or in the field.

Although, when they are planning and designing for the environmental solution they are likely to be in office.

Sometimes you have to travel to multiple locations in a single day. So be ready to be challenged.


What companies hire Environmental Engineers

Environmental engineers are mostly work in these plants and facilities and did water, soil, and gas testing.

  • Water and wastewater treatment
  • Waste management and recycling
  • Construction and Mining Sites
  • Site Remediation
  • Local and State Government
  • Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
  • Pollution control technology.
  • Agencies that issue certificates

Tips: According to my analysis on this topic. I would suggest you to prefer wastewater treatment plant to start a career in environmental engineering.

If you want to go to other facilities, it’s ok! You can completely disagree with me. At the end of the day you have to do the work, so your decision is matter most.  


Licensure Professional Environmental Engineers

Some of the environmental engineers work individually and offer their services directly to the public.

If you want to work independently with any facilities and agencies. Then you must have professional engineers (PEs) license.

Eligibility criteria to become Licensure Professional engineers are

  • A degree from an ABET (Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology)-accredited engineering program.
  • You need passing score on the Professional Engineering (PE) exam.
  • A passing score on the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam.
  • You must have at least four years of relevant experience in the environmental domain.


Environmental Engineers job description

  • Collect the data by doing continuous monitoring of environmental related issues and analyse it.


  • Issues the permit for the companies that pollute environments by wastewater and polluted air. If they are not following the rules then cancelling the permit


  • Planning, designing and executing the solutions for environmental related problems.


  • Perform environmental audits and prepare, examine, and update environmental investigation reports. And according to analysing scientific data, do quality control checks and implement some solutions.


  • Design and modelling the environmental protection system, such as water reclamation facilities, flood defence system, air pollution control systems etc.


  • Keep Monitoring on the progress of environmental improvement programs.


  • Inspect industrial and municipal facilities to ensure they are following the environmental rules and regulations.


  • Explain the procedures and methods for cleaning up contaminated sites for the companies and government agencies.


  • Give the presentation about environmental management to improve the atmospheric quality.


  • Doing research related to improving human health and mitigate the pollutions from the environment.


  • On the construction sites, environmental engineers measure the impact of the ongoing building structure on the natural environment.

Note: Environmental engineers are working under the government regulatory. 


Career Scope

Is there a demand for environmental engineers in the future? Single-word answer “Yes”

The field of environmental engineering technologies is expanding rapidly.

Consequently, the population growing fast and as a result, our concern for preserving the environment is increasing.

According to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) the projecting employment in the environmental engineering field to grow by 8% from 2016-to-2026. As compare to other occupation it is the fastest growing sector.

As per the BLS statics future of environmental engineers seems to be like above average.

In this modern world, we cannot stop manufacturing and mining process because they run our society. And our lives would not be the same as today.

Our daily need is increasing day by day we need more facilities. But they, unfortunately, create a lot of pollution and tons of hazardous waste to make all our necessary things.

To manage tons of hazardous waste and chemicals. We always need someone who is capable of handling all the environmental related problems. And make our world safe to live for us and our upcoming future generations.


Environmental Engineering image 2

Our planet always needs environmental engineers and an environmental scientist to maintain the balance. It looks like environmental engineering is a good and interesting career option to choose.


I hope your 5 minutes of reading was worth it. And, gives your answer of “How to Start a Career in Environmental Engineering?” Also, deliver you explicit information about the environmental engineering as a career option.


Let me know what you think about career option as an Environmental Engineering. Share your opinions and experiences in the comments below!

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