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Career Profile: Environmental Engineer

Why Is Environmental Engineering a Job of Tomorrow?
With the rapid advance of technology and booming urban expansion, concerns about the health of humans and the environment have deepened. Environmental engineers, who help lessen those worries, will be in demand to help cities and businesses keep their water and waste systems running safely and efficiently. Employment opportunities for environmental engineers are expected to increase 25 percent by 2016, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Environmental engineers make an average salary of $69,940 annually.

What Does an Environmental Engineer Do?
Environmental scientists manage issues with water and air pollution, recycling, waste disposal, and public health. They seek solutions for environmental stressors, employing biology and chemistry. For example, they assess the impact of automobiles and industry on water and air quality and develop ways to minimize the negative effects of human activity on the environment. Most act as consultants, aiding clients in staying within federal environmental guidelines, preventing further environmental damage and remedying previous environmental damage. For example, many manufacturing businesses are trying to reduce their carbon emissions. Environmental engineers would help them spot where and how these carbon cuts could be made. Engineers also often participate in research about man made environmental changes, such as acid rain and ozone depletion.

What Kind of Training Do I Need to Become an Environmental Engineer?
Environmental engineers must have at least a bachelor’s degree in environmental engineering, though some employers will also accept applicants with a degree in natural or environmental science. A bachelor’s degree typically takes four years to complete. Prospective environmental engineers should expect to take courses in such subjects as ecology, biology and mathematics. Degree program graduates usually work under an experienced engineer for several years before working independently.

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