How do I get Started in an Environmental Engineering Career?

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  • Written By: N. Madison
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 23 October 2018
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A person who pursues an environmental engineering career typically works to apply his knowledge of chemistry and biology concepts to solving and preventing environmental problems. A person who wants to get started in this career usually earns a bachelor's degree in environmental engineering to gain the knowledge he'll need to secure his first job. In many places, a person who wants to pursue an environmental engineering career also has to secure licensing in his jurisdiction. The licensing process usually involves passing exams and gaining experience in an engineering job.

Typically, a person who wants to pursue an environmental engineering career starts out by earning a high school diploma or equivalent credential. While in high school, a person interested in this career will do well to take advanced math and science courses, which may help him to be prepared for the work he'll have to do in college. Once in college, a person who is interested in this career usually earns an environmental engineering degree, which involves completing a range of environmental engineering courses in addition to courses in algebra and calculus. Environmental engineering programs typically focus on the sciences as well, and a student usually takes classes in biology, chemistry, and physics. Some people may go on to earn advanced environmental engineering degrees as well, which may open the doors to more work opportunities and advancement in the field.


Environmental engineers may need licensing in order to work in some areas and in certain types of jobs. An individual may do well to check the laws in his jurisdiction to learn whether licensing is required. When licensing is required, an aspiring environmental engineer usually has to pass exams and gain experience in addition to earning a degree. In some places, a person may have to complete an additional jurisdiction-approved training program that covers such topics as safety risks and first aid techniques.

There are a variety of jobs a person may pursue as an environmental engineer. For example, a person who wants to get started in an environmental engineering career may find a job managing and preventing the pollution of air and water. A person with this title may also work to design water treatment systems or work toward finding ways to slow global warming. A person in this field may spend a good deal of time assessing environmental issues, creating reports that detail his findings, and developing solutions to environmental problems. Often, people in this career spend about half their time working in the field and the other half working in a laboratory environment.



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