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How do I Become a Sanitary Engineer?

N. Kalu
N. Kalu

The easiest way to become a sanitary engineer is to enroll in a program which specializes in sanitary engineer training or to obtain a bachelor's degree in an engineering discipline. Either of these types of programs will give you the skills required to design effective municipal waste disposal systems or devise new ways to reduce the amount of industrial waste in a community. Getting a bachelor's degree, obtaining certification as a sanitary engineer, and then becoming licensed in your area are the necessary steps to take to become a sanitary engineer.

There are a number of workforce development programs which train professionals through a curriculum specifically constructed for training in sanitary engineering. Foundational courses nearly always include basic math such as algebra and geometry as well as surveying, chemistry, and fluid dynamics. These programs are ideal because you can usually take classes at your own pace, unlike classes given by a formal university program. Students in these programs typically already have a bachelor's degree and wish to break into sanitation engineering. A specialized curriculum should prepare you well for any certification exams in sanitary engineering.


To become a sanitary engineer, you could also obtain a bachelor's degree in engineering. Engineering professionals with a bachelor's degree are usually offered higher salaries than those who only have an associate's degree or a professional certificate. As an undergraduate student interested in sanitary engineering, there are a number of majors which will train you in the skills necessary for a sanitary engineer, such as urban planning, hydraulics, and engineering technology. You can major in such diverse fields as civil engineering, mechanical engineering, and environmental engineering.

After progressing through either a specialized training program or an undergraduate institution, you will need to pass a certification exam in order to become a sanitary engineer. Each country has their own governing body which issues the qualifying exam to aspiring sanitation engineers. In the United States, this organization is called the American Society of Sanitary Engineering. The exam will test you on all aspects of waste removal, hazardous materials management, and environmental design.

Proper licensing must be obtained in order to actually practice sanitary engineering as a professional working for a government municipality or service. Each state or area has different requirements for licensing, but one typical prerequisite is that the person must already hold a bachelor's degree. Subsequent license renewals will usually require additional training in sanitary engineering techniques.

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