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Environmental Engineers Career

Career Description

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.

What Job Titles Environmental Engineers Might Have

  • Chief
  • Pesticides and Toxic Substances Branch
  • Environmental Engineer
  • Global Director Air and Climate Change
  • Sanitary Engineer

What Environmental Engineers Do

  • 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.
  • Obtain, update, or maintain plans, permits, or standard operating procedures.
  • Serve as liaison with federal, state, or local agencies or officials on issues pertaining to solid or hazardous waste program requirements.
  • Provide technical support for environmental remediation or litigation projects, including remediation system design or determination of regulatory applicability.
  • Prepare, review, or update environmental investigation or recommendation reports.
  • Develop site-specific health and safety protocols, such as spill contingency plans or methods for loading or transporting waste.
  • Inspect industrial or municipal facilities or programs to evaluate operational effectiveness or ensure compliance with environmental regulations.
  • Provide assistance with planning, quality assurance, safety inspection protocols, or sampling as part of a team conducting multimedia inspections at complex facilities.
  • Prepare or present public briefings on the status of environmental engineering projects.
  • Develop proposed project objectives and targets and report to management on progress in attaining them.
  • Coordinate or manage environmental protection programs or projects, assigning or evaluating work.
  • Advise industries or government agencies about environmental policies and standards.
  • Direct installation or operation of environmental monitoring devices or supervise related data collection programs.
  • Monitor progress of environmental improvement programs.
  • Prepare hazardous waste manifests or land disposal restriction notifications.
  • Assess the existing or potential environmental impact of land use projects on air, water, or land.
  • Prepare, maintain, or revise quality assurance documentation or procedures.
  • Assist in budget implementation, forecasts, or administration.
  • Provide environmental engineering assistance in network analysis, regulatory analysis, or planning or reviewing database development.
  • Inform company employees or other interested parties of environmental issues.
  • Develop or present environmental compliance training or orientation sessions.
  • Provide administrative support for projects by collecting data, providing project documentation, training staff, or performing other general administrative duties.
  • Assess, sort, characterize, or pack known or unknown materials.

What Environmental Engineers Should Be Good At

  • Written Comprehension - The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
  • Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • 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.
  • Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • Written Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
  • Deductive Reasoning - The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
  • Inductive Reasoning - The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
  • Near Vision - The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
  • Speech Clarity - The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
  • 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).
  • 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.

What Environmental Engineers Should Be Interested In

  • Investigative - Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.
  • Realistic - Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.

What Environmental Engineers Need to Learn

  • 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.
  • Mathematics - Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Design - Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.
  • 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.
  • Biology - Knowledge of plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, interdependencies, and interactions with each other and the environment.
  • 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.
  • Building and Construction - Knowledge of materials, methods, and the tools involved in the construction or repair of houses, buildings, or other structures such as highways and roads.
  • 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.
  • Mechanical - Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
  • Education and Training - Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
  • Geography - Knowledge of principles and methods for describing the features of land, sea, and air masses, including their physical characteristics, locations, interrelationships, and distribution of plant, animal, and human life.
  • Computers and Electronics - Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
Leaf iconThis career is a green occupation.
Diploma iconThis career requires a graduate degree.
Median Salary: $84,890

This page includes information from O*NET OnLine by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration (USDOL/ETA). Used under the CC BY 4.0 license.