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Environmental Engineers - What They Do


How to Advance (Advancement)
Beginning engineering graduates usually work under the supervision of experienced engineers and, in large companies, also may receive formal classroom or seminar-type training. As new engineers gain knowledge and experience, they are assigned more difficult projects with greater independence to develop designs, solve problems, and make decisions. Engineers may advance to become technical specialists or to supervise a staff or team of engineers and technicians. Some eventually may become engineering managers or enter other managerial or sales jobs. In sales, an engineering background enables them to discuss a product's technical aspects and assist in product planning, installation, and use.

Numerous professional certifications for engineers exist and may be beneficial for advancement to senior technical or managerial positions. Many certification programs are offered by the professional societies listed as sources of additional information for engineering specialties at the end of this statement.

Employment
In 2008, engineers held about 1.6 million jobs. About 36 percent of engineering jobs were found in manufacturing industries, and another 30 percent were in the professional, scientific, and technical services industries, primarily in architectural, engineering, and related services. Many engineers also worked in the construction, telecommunications, and wholesale trade industries.

Federal, State, and local governments employed about 12 percent of engineers in 2008. About 6 percent were in the Federal Government, mainly in the U.S. Departments of Defense, Transportation, Agriculture, Interior, and Energy, and in the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Many engineers in State and local government agencies worked in highway and public works departments. In 2008, about 3 percent of engineers were self-employed, many as consultants.

Engineers are employed in every State, in small and large cities and in rural areas. Some branches of engineering are concentrated in particular industries and geographic areas; for example, petroleum engineering jobs tend to be located in States with sizable petroleum deposits, such as Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Alaska, and California. Other branches, such as civil engineering, are widely dispersed, and engineers in these fields often move from place to place to work on different projects.

Job Outlook
Environmental engineers are expected to have employment growth of 31 percent over the projections decade, much faster than the average for all occupations.

Job Growth
More environmental engineers will be needed to help companies comply with environmental regulations and to develop methods of cleaning up environmental hazards. A shift in emphasis toward preventing problems rather than controlling those which already exist, as well as increasing public health concerns resulting from population growth, also are expected to spur demand for environmental engineers. Because of this employment growth, job opportunities should be favorable.



Earnings
Earnings for Environmental Engineers vary significantly by education. The mean annual salary for Environmental Engineers is $80,000.

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Academic Programs of Interest

Acoustical Engineering
Acoustical engineering is the branch of engineering dealing with sound and vibration. It is closely related to acoustics, the science of sound and vibration. Acoustical engineers are typically concerned with: 1.How to reduce unwanted sounds 2.How to make useful sounds 3.Using ...more
Agricultural/Biological Engineering and Bioengineering
Agricultural engineers design agricultural machinery, equipment, and agricultural structures. Agricultural Engineers may perform tasks as planning, supervising and managing the building of dairy effluent schemes, irrigation, drainage, flood and water control systems, perform environmental impact assessments ...more
Ecology
Ecology is the scientific study of the distribution and abundance living organisms and the interactions among organisms and between the organisms and their environment. The environment of an organism includes both physical properties, which can be described as the sum of local abiotic factors such as ...more
Engineering Physics
Engineering physics is an academic degree, available mainly at the levels of B.Sc., M.Sc. and Ph.D. Unlike other engineering degrees (such as aerospace engineering or electrical engineering), Engineering physics does not necessarily include a particular branch of science or physics. Instead, Engineering ...more
Environmental Design
Environmental design is the process of addressing environmental parameters when devising plans, programs, policies, buildings, or products. Classical prudent design may have always considered environmental factors; however, the environmental movement beginning in the 1960s has made the concept more explicit. As ...more
Environmental Engineering
Environmental engineering is the application of science and engineering principles to improve the environment (air, water, and/or land resources), to provide healthy water, air, and land for human habitation and for other organisms, and to remediate polluted sites. Environmental engineering involves ...more
Forestry
Forestry is the art, science, and practice of studying and managing forests and plantations, and related natural resources. Silviculture, a related science, involves the growing and tending of trees and forests. Modern forestry generally concerns itself with: assisting forests to provide timber as raw ...more
Geological Engineering
Geological engineering is the engineering science of applying engineering principles to the study of geological materials as part of the engineering design of facilities including roads, tunnels, and mines especially as related to minerals and mineral products. Some see it as a merging of the disciplines ...more
Ocean Engineering
Ocean engineering is the branch of engineering concerned with the design, analysis and operation planning of systems that operate in an oceanic environment. Examples of systems range from oil platforms to submarines, from breakwaters to sailboats. Common to all are the conditions of the ocean including ...more