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Career in Environmental Engineering

Who is an Environmental Engineer?

Environmental engineering is the branch of engineering that focuses on protecting the environment by reducing waste and pollution. The field is also dedicated to improving environmental conditions through remediation. It deals with the design of technologies and processes that control pollution releases and clean up existing contamination.

Environmental engineers design, plan, and implement measures to prevent, control, or remediate environmental hazards. They may work on waste treatment, wastewater treatment, site remediation, or pollution control technology.

What are the duties of Environmental Engineer?

Environmental engineers typically do the following:

  • Prepare, review,and update environmental investigation reports

  • Design projects that lead to environmental protection, such as water reclamation facilities or air pollution control systems

  • Obtain, update, and maintain plans, permits, and standard operating procedures

  • Provide technical support for environmental remediation projects and for legal actions

  • Analyze scientific data and do quality-control checks

  • Monitor the progress of environmental improvement programs

  • Inspect industrial and municipal facilities and programs in order to ensure compliance with environmental regulations

  • Advise corporations and government agencies about procedures for cleaning up contaminated sites

Environmental engineers conduct hazardous-waste management studies in which they evaluate the significance of a hazard and advise on treating and containing it. They also design systems for municipal and industrial water supplies and industrial wastewater treatment, and research the environmental impact of proposed construction projects. Environmental engineers in government develop regulations to prevent mishaps.

Some environmental engineers study ways to minimize the effects of acid rain, climate change, automobile emissions, and ozone depletion. They also collaborate with environmental scientists, urban and regional planners, hazardous-waste technicians, and other engineers, as well as with specialists such as experts in law and business, to address environmental problems and environmental sustainability

Types of Environmental Engineering:

Concepts such as life cycle thinking, industrial ecology and sustainable systems engineering are important elements in the education and work practice of a sustainable engineer.

Where Does an Environmental Engineer Work?

As of 2012, the greatest number of environmental engineers (28%) worked in architectural, engineering, and related services. Another 21% were employed in management, scientific, and technical consulting services. 13% worked in state government, 7% in federal government, and 6% in local government.

Environmental engineers work in various settings. They usually work from in offices while planning designs or working on environmental permitting and regulatory issues. However, they may work at industrial sites or outdoors while conducting inspections or coordinating a facility's waste management activities. Most environmental engineers work full time. Those who manage projects often work overtime to monitor progress and meet deadlines.

Work Schedules

Most environmental engineers work full time. Those who manage projects often work more than 40 hours per week to monitor the project's progress, ensure that deadlines are met, and recommend corrective action when needed. About 1 out of 5 work more than 40 hours per week.

What are the Education requirements of Environmental Engineering?

Positions require a minimum of a bachelor's degree (B.S.), usually in environmental engineering, civil, or chemical engineering. Some undergraduate and graduate civil engineering programs offer concentrations in environmental engineering.

Students generally study basic engineering principles, ecosystem processes, fate and transport of organic contaminants, alternative energy technologies, air quality control technologies, principles of sustainability, water and wastewater treatment, mathematics, and computer-aided design (CAD). Lab and field work are often part of the curriculum.

It's important to gain practical experience. Participate in an internship or cooperative engineering programs if you can. These programs award college credit for structured job experience.

Some colleges offer a combined 5-year program that leads to both a bachelor's and a master's degree. A graduate degree can open up opportunities as instructors at some colleges, and also in research and development positions.

Some employers prefer to hire graduates of ABET-accredited programs. Education through an ABET-accredited program is usually necessary for professional licensing.

Skills & abilities:

Imagination. Environmental engineers sometimes have to design systems that will be part of larger ones. They must foresee how the proposed designs will interact with components of the larger system, including the workers, machinery, and equipment, as well as with the environment.

Interpersonal skills. Environmental engineers must work with others toward a common goal. They usually work with engineers and scientists who design other systems and with the technicians and mechanics that put the designs into practice.

Problem-solving skills. When designing facilities and processes, environmental engineers strive to solve several issues at once, from workers' safety to environmental protection. They must identify and anticipate problems in order to prevent losses for their employers, safeguard workers' health, and mitigate environmental damage.

Reading skills. Environmental engineers often work with businesspeople, lawyers, and other professionals outside their field. They frequently are required to read and understand documents that deal with topics outside their scope of training.

Writing skills. Environmental engineers must write clearly so that others without their specific training can understand their documents, including plans, proposals, specifications, and findings, among others.

Job outlook

Employment of environmental engineers is projected to grow 5 percent over the next ten years, about as fast as the average for all occupations.

State and local governments' concerns about water are leading to efforts to increase the efficiency of water use. Such a focus differs from that of wastewater treatment, for which this occupation is traditionally known. Most of the projected employment growth for environmental engineers is in professional, scientific, and technical services, as governments at the state and local levels draw on the industry to help address water efficiency concerns.

The federal government's requirements to clean up contaminated sites are expected to help sustain demand for these engineers' services. In addition, wastewater treatment is becoming a larger concern in areas of the country where drilling for shale gas requires the use and disposal of massive volumes of water.

Environmental engineers should continue to be needed to help utility companies and water treatment plants comply with federal or state environmental regulations, such as regulations regarding emissions from coal-fired power plants.


This is one career path where there is a greater prospect in the government sector. For a graduate engineer working with any of the state pollution control boards, the salary will range from Rs 15,000 to Rs 30,000. For a postgraduate engineer, the salary is close to Rs 15,000. However, if you are qualified personnel and have a doctorate in this field, you can make up to 75,000-80,000 per month. You can also choose to work with NGOs and corporate firms.

Careers Related to Environmental Engineers

Chemical engineers apply the principles of chemistry, biology, physics, and math to solve problems that involve the production or use of chemicals, fuel, drugs, food, and many other products. They design processes and equipment for large-scale manufacturing, plan and test production methods and byproducts treatment, and direct facility operations.

Civil engineers conceive, design, build, supervise, operate, construct, and maintain infrastructure projects and systems in the public and private sector, including roads, buildings, airports, tunnels, dams, bridges, and systems for water supply and sewage treatment.

Environmental engineering technicians carry out the plans that environmental engineers develop. They test, operate, and, if necessary, modify equipment used to prevent or clean up environmental pollution. They may collect samples for testing, or they may work to mitigate sources of environmental pollution.

Environmental scientists and specialists use their knowledge of the natural sciences to protect the environment and human health. They may clean up polluted areas, advise policymakers, or work with industry to reduce waste.

Hydrologists study how water moves across and through the Earth's crust. They use their expertise to solve problems in the areas of water quality or availability.

Natural sciences managers supervise the work of scientists, including chemists, physicists, and biologists. They direct activities related to research and development, and coordinate activities such as testing, quality control, and production.

Frequently asked questions:

Are you fit for the job?

Deciding whether or not environmental engineering is a suitable career will require you to think with passion rather than your brains, at the same time keeping your abilities in mind. If you are fervent about the environment and your surroundings with a scientific aptitude, then this is certainly the field to choose. A career in environmental engineering can be challenging as the candidate is expected to come up with revolutionary solutions for various environmental issues. However, the sector is quite attractive in terms of pay packages. Although a comparatively new career, environmental engineering is devoid of cut throat competition and candidates can get admission and jobs in various firms working in environment engineering with relatively less efforts.

What would it cost to be an Environmental Engineer?

A BTech in environmental engineering costs more than Rs 3 lakh to candidates; the fee is inclusive of hostel and library charges. Fee is charged semester wise. Some private colleges can charge even more for the course. Similarly, MTech in environmental engineering can cost more than Rs 2 lakh in four semesters. Various PG diploma courses in environmental engineering can be a cheap solution or substitute for MTech. Courses in government colleges and IITs and NITs are available at subsidized fees but the competition is tough.

What the certification,license required for Environmental Engineering?

Licensure is not required for entry-level positions as an environmental engineer. A Professional Engineering (PE) license, which allows for higher levels of leadership and independence, can be acquired later in one's career. Licensed engineers are called professional engineers (PEs). A PE can oversee the work of other engineers, sign off on projects, and provide services directly to the public. State licensure generally requires

  • A degree from an ABET-accredited engineering program

  • A passing score on the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam

  • Relevant work experience, typically at least 4 years

  • A passing score on the Professional Engineering (PE) exam

The initial FE exam can be taken after one earns a bachelor's degree. Engineers who pass this exam are commonly called engineers in training (EITs) or engineer interns (EIs). After meeting work experience requirements, EITs and EIs can take the second exam, called the Principles and Practice of Engineering (PE).

Is Environmental Engineering Science or Art?

Environmental engineering science (EES) is a multidisciplinary field of engineering science that combines the biological, chemical and physical sciences with the field of engineering. This major traditionally requires the student to take basic engineering classes in fields such as thermodynamics, advanced math, computer modeling and simulation and technical classes in subjects such as statics, mechanics, hydrology, and fluid dynamics.

Is it worth to become Environmental Engineer?

So, if you are that determined and passionate about Environmental Engineering then definitely this field is worth pursuing. Some perks are as follows:

1. You will literally savings the world - irrespective of the scale of your work you will be exposed to concepts and ideas where your decision will always be towards protecting the earth and you can proudly say you are saving the world.

2. You will need literally basic working knowledge of all fields of engineering, physics, chemistry, biology and most of all management. So get ready to know the whole world.

3. If you are lucky you will eventually end up travelling the world. see it happens with all the fields of you are good at it, but in Environmental Engineering you will see wonders of nature from extremely hot regions to extremely cold regions. (it won't happen fast though, as it requires a lot of learning and experience)

4. Most of all you will be interacting with many people, which in itself will teach a lot that you need to learn in various fields.

What are the related degree options for Environmental Engineering?

B.Sc. in environmental science

M.Sc. in Environmental Engineering

B.Sc. Environmental Engineering.

PG diploma course in Environmental Engineering

M Tech in Energy & Environment Management

B.E or B Tech in environmental or civil engineering.

Which are the best colleges to study course related to Childcare?

Top Institutes:

B.Sc. in Environment Science can be pursued from: • South Gujarat University, Surat • University of Delhi • Berhampur University • Bharathiar University, Coimbatore • University of Mysore • University of Pune

B.E. in Environment Science can be pursued from: • P.E.S. College of Engineering, Mandya • Delhi College of Engineering, New Delhi • Gujarat University, L.D. College of Engineering, Ahmadabad • Visveswariah Technological University, AIT, Chikmagalur

ME and M Tech are offered in: • Rajiv Gandhi Proudyogiki Vishwavidyalaya , Indore (MP) • UP Technical University (Inst of Eng & Tech) Lucknow • Visveswariah Technological University, AIT, Chikmagalur-577102 • Thapar Inst of Eng & Technology, Patiala • IIT, Delhi, Kanpur, Kharagpur and Madras • Jamia Milia Islamia, New Delhi

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