ENVIRONMENTAL ENGINEERING: Meaning, Duties, Salary, Requirments & College

environmental engineering
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Environmental engineers work to protect the quality of the environment for future generations so that people can continue to build and use the world’s water, land, and air supplies. By managing these resources in a way that reduces environmental pollution and deterioration, this objective is attained. In this article, we will be telling you all you need to know about environmental engineering, what they do, their salary, requirements, and colleges.

Environmental Engineering

Environmental engineering is a field of engineering that focuses on protecting people from bad environmental effects like pollution and improving the quality of the environment. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, environmental engineers work to improve recycling, garbage disposal, public health, and the control of water and air pollution.

Environmental engineering has been around since the beginning of time. Since people started living in semi-permanent communities, they have had to deal with problems like getting clean water and getting rid of trash and sewage. People have been concerned about air pollution and soil contamination as cities have grown and large-scale agricultural and industrial activities have proliferated.

According to legend, Joseph Bazalgette was the first environmental engineer. According to an article that was published in the Postgraduate Medical Journal, Bazalgette is credited with supervising the construction of the first extensive municipal sanitary sewer system in London in the middle of the 19th century. This was spurred by a series of cholera epidemics as well as a chronic, unpleasant stench that was attributed to the discharge of raw sewage into the Thames River, which was also the major supply of drinking water for the city. Additionally, the stench was linked to the discharge of raw sewage into the Thames River, which was also the main source of drinking water for the city.

This “great stink,” which was so toxic that it compelled Parliament to abandon Westminster, provided then-Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli with reasons to ask for 3.5 million pounds to upgrade the city’s sewage disposal system. Parliament had to vacate Westminster because of this “great stink.”

What Do Environmental Engineering Do

Environmental engineers use their understanding of chemistry and biology to identify and alleviate the negative effects of human activity on the natural environment. Learn more about what environmental engineers do.

Job Duties

As an environmental engineer, your job is to find and fix problems in the air, water, and land that could hurt people’s health and the environment. The American Academy of Environmental Engineers and Scientists states that your duties may include managing hazardous items, managing solid waste, and controlling pollution. By carrying out these responsibilities, you not only help to conserve the environment, but you also support and maintain public health standards.

#1. Air Pollution Control

As an environmental engineer, you may be responsible for preventing and correcting different kinds of air pollution. For example, you could do research to discover new methods of eliminating toxins and hazardous emissions from the air. Your responsibilities may also involve monitoring air pollution generation and dispersion rates.

#2. Water Reclamation

If you have the knowledge and experience, you can also help establish strategies for water conservation and reclamation. This can entail making artificial wetlands and purifying the water before using it. Stormwater management or wastewater management are further possible specializations. As a result, one of your jobs could be to design new water treatment facilities for a city or manage a current system.

#3. Land Preservation

You work in the sector of solid waste disposal, designing and improving landfills and recycling centers. For instance, you might create new technology to extract methane from capped landfills for use in green power plants. You may also collaborate with real estate developers and civil engineers to assess any potential environmental implications of development and municipal expansion projects.

#4. Hazardous Material Management

It’s possible for you, as an environmental engineer, to be in charge of managing toxic or hazardous items. This can involve reducing radiation and dangerous substances’ negative effects on the environment. You may also look at techniques to neutralize poisonous materials before disposal or develop strategies for cleaning up regions harmed by hazardous spills.

Environmental Engineering Salary

The majority of employment in environmental engineering requires candidates to have at least a bachelor’s degree in engineering. In addition, many employers, particularly those that provide engineering consulting services, need candidates to be certified as professional engineers (PE). It is common practice to require a master’s degree for promotion to managerial positions. Additionally, continual education and training are required to keep up with the rapid pace of technological advancement, and a comprehensive understanding of the most recent government legislation is vital. In addition, a significant number of environmental engineers are members of the AAEES.

As of July 2014, the salary range for a fresh graduate in environmental engineering holding a bachelor’s degree was $44,722 to $69,808 according to salary.com.  A senior engineer with a master’s or doctorate and more than 15 years of experience can expect to make between $82,193 and $133,930 per year, and the salary range for a midlevel engineer holding a master’s degree in environmental engineering and from five to ten years of experience was between $65,890 and $106,126 per year. Many experienced engineers who have earned advanced degrees move up the ranks to managerial roles or launch their own consulting businesses, both of which allow them to earn

significantly more money. In addition, a significant number of engineering graduates go on to complete their legal education and become experts in environmental law and litigation.

Top Environmental Engineer Paying States in the U.S.

We’ve identified five states where the average salary for environmental engineering is higher than the national average. Tennessee is at the top of the list, followed closely by New Jersey and Hawaii in second and third, respectively. By 3.2% more than the national average in Hawaii, and by $3,538 (4.3%) more than the $82,400, Tennessee continues the pattern.

Only a small number of states pay more than the national average, so choosing a new location as an environmental engineer to enhance your career should be done cautiously. It is also important to consider the cost of living.

Environmental Engineering Requirements

The following steps describe the educational requirements and training process for environmental engineering professionals.

#1. Get Your Bachelor’s in Environmental Engineering.

Through an authorized school, get a bachelor’s degree in environmental engineering. Environmental engineering requirements for the field’s coursework sometimes involve knowledge of physics, math, and engineering fundamentals. The curriculum you take as you go deeper into your major covers topics including environmental rehabilitation, air quality management, pollution mitigation and control technologies, and water treatment. You will be qualified to take the Fundamentals of Engineering exam once you have completed your four-year degree program, which is a requirement for employment.

#2. Pass the Engineering Fundamentals test.

The National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES) is in charge of giving the FE exam, and the FE Environmental test is geared toward environmental engineering. Even though the FE test is the first step toward getting a professional license, it might not be required in your area. In addition to environmental engineering-specific themes, the exam includes engineering basics, environmental chemistry, legal principles, and other related areas.

#3. Earn Work Experience via an Internship or Entry-Level Position.

Through internships and even entry-level positions, you can acquire the required work experience to sit for the Principles and Practice of Engineering examination. The NCEES may require that you have several years of work experience before taking the exam because it is the final step toward professional certification. As you grow in your profession, it will be extremely useful to include your entry-level experience on your resume.

#4. Take the Engineering Principles and Practices Exam for Licensure.

Use the NCEES to take the PE test. In order to help the public, Environmental engineering requirements involves engineers who work for federal, local, and state consulting companies and government agencies who will need to get professional engineer certification. Your license will also increase your chances of getting a job by giving you more papers to show off your skills.

#5. Consider Obtaining Your Graduate Degree

Other requirements involve getting a master’s degree in environmental engineering if one wants to. Some programs are five years long, so you can get your bachelor’s degree and then go right into your master’s school. A graduate degree in environmental engineering or in a related field can lead to additional work opportunities and higher earning potential, but it is not a must to begin your career. Also, in some places, engineering professionals who want to work for the public must have a state license in addition to their NCEES professional certification.

Environmental Engineering Colleges

With environmental problems all over the world, there has never been a bigger need for environmental engineers. Those who choose to major in this field of study immerse themselves in the fields of engineering, biology, and chemistry with the goal of finding solutions to issues pertaining to the environment. The very finest undergraduate programs in environmental engineering provide students with an abundance of possibilities for hands-on learning, direct connections with renowned faculty members, and access to laboratories that are outfitted with the most up-to-date scientific equipment. The colleges and universities we chose for our list of the “Best Colleges for Environmental Engineering” meet these standards and are great places for the next generation of scientists to gain knowledge about how to take care of the environment.

Here is a list of the best colleges for environmental engineering programs.

  • Arizona State University
  • California Institute of Technology
  • Penn state university
  • Purdue University
  • University of California, San Diego
  • University of Colorado, Boulder
  • University of Florida
  • Stanford University
  • Cal Poly – San Luis Obispo
  • Clemson University
  • Cornell University
  • Duke University
  • Georgia Institute of Technology
  • John Hopkins University
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • North Carolina State University
  • University at Buffalo (SUNY)
  • University of California, Berkeley
  • University of California, Davis
  • University of California, Riverside

Is Environmental Engineering a Hard Major?

Environmental engineering is a difficult degree since its requirements combine environmental science with engineering foundations. It is regarded as one of the easier engineering majors to pursue because it does not place as much emphasis on sophisticated math and physics as other engineering majors.

What Are the Examples of Environmental Engineering?

Examples of environmental engineering projects include dams, systems for recycling and reusing construction waste, municipal water supply and wastewater treatment facilities, plants to desalinate ocean water to irrigate crops, and systems that assist refineries in reducing air pollutants, among others.

Does Environmental Engineering Have a Lot of Physics?

Environmental engineers make use of physics in a number of different contexts. When designing drinking water treatment plants and landfills, they make use of the interactions between physical elements. They create computer simulations of chemical interactions, the transport of pollutants, and global warming by using mathematical representations of physical rules.

Which Engineering Field Has the Highest Salary?

The highest engineering jobs are:

  • Computer Hardware Engineer
  • Petroleum Engineer
  • Nuclear Engineer
  • Aerospace Engineer
  • Systems Engineer
  • Electrical Engineer
  • Chemical Engineer
  • Big Data Engineer

Do Environmental Engineers Need to Know Programming?

Coding is not typically required in environmental engineering, although it might be a helpful skill to have. Understanding computer languages like R or Python can help you complete tasks like modeling, statistics, data visualization, and research more quickly and easily.

What Is the Difference Between Civil Engineering and Environmental Engineering?

What’s the difference between the two? The term “civil engineering” refers to a multidisciplinary field that includes subfields such as “structural engineering,” “geotechnical engineering,” “construction engineering,” and “transportation engineering.” Environmental engineering is concerned with issues such as water quality, air quality, green energy, and the cleanup of contaminated sites, among other things.

Is Environmental Engineering Same as Industrial Engineering?

Industrial engineers strive to improve a company’s productivity by reducing the amount of time and money wasted on operations that are deemed unnecessary. Environmental engineers are responsible for working to make the environment better. They are working to lessen or eliminate the factors that contribute to the pollution of the air, water, and land.


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