A Career Path in Environmental Engineering
Choosing a career path can be challenging at any age, but it is especially important for young adults to choose wisely when it comes time to make decisions regarding the future. When it comes to choosing a career, it is important to research different career paths and narrow down a career option along with planning for the future. Environmental engineering has a demanding job description, requires multiple levels of education, but it has a positive outlook for jobs. The job of an environmental engineer is to research along with planning for the prevention, control, and repairing of environmental endangerments (OwlGuru.com). An environmental engineer can be working on as little to no projects to multiple projects at the same time. These projects could be studying the effect of oil spills on marine life or collecting data and making regular environmental reports.
The typical schedule of an environmental engineer revolves around reviewing, updating and maintaining things like plans, reports, permits and operating procedures. Along with those duties they also inspect and investigate industrial and corporate buildings to ensure those companies are following proper environmental regulations. Some engineers have extra jobs included in their regular schedules like training new staff, helping with data collection or general office work. After graduating high school, it is important to not only have a college chosen but also a career to pursue. With most careers comes more years of schooling and environmental engineering is no different. To become an environmental engineer, it takes a minimum of four years of school to get a bachelors in either civil or environmental engineering. Many schools offer bachelor programs, “bachelor’s programs in environmental engineering usually offer a range of classroom, lab, and field-based components” (Online Engineering Programs). Earning a master’s in environmental engineering takes about two years to complete and although it is not required it will only benefit the future engineer more.
Although some companies will hire engineers with only bachelor’s degree, most prefer the engineers to have a masters or higher. After completing college and earning a degree to get an engineering job the graduate should become a licensed engineer. The requirements of getting an engineering license to depend on the state, however, some states require the passing of the Fundamentals of Engineering exam (Online Engineering Programs). By taking this exam the engineers can earn Engineering in Training licenses or Engineering Intern license. Once an engineer is licensed they can go out in the field to study under a Professional Engineer and gain experience in the field. It is recommended to have at least one to four years of experience under a Professional Engineer. While the engineer can stop there, they can continue their schooling to become a Professional Engineer. To become a PE, it takes at least four years and the extra schooling isn’t required.
However, it will only benefit them in obtaining higher positions and higher pay. Keeping up with schooling and gaining certifications help build good credentials that companies are looking for when they hire new engineers. After all the training and the education required to become an environmental engineer, it is time to find the perfect job. Luckily the current outlook for employment in environmental engineering is expected to grow 8% from 2016 to 2026 (US Bureau of Labor Statistics) which is considered faster than average. Due to all the recent problems in the environment, environmental engineers will be needed now and in the far future. As said previously, the higher the education that was pursued it will most likely lead to a higher than average position.
However, even if an engineer only has a bachelor's they are still eligible to move up in their company. The average salary is $86,800 per year which is $41.73 per hour (US Bureau of Labor Statistics). The lowest percentile earned less than $52,160 and the highest percentile earned more than $134,060 (US Bureau of Labor Statistics). Along with the average pay the benefits are usually very generous depending on the company. The benefits include but are not limited health insurance and retirement plans. Some companies will also pay for travel expenses when sent into the field. Not only does the engineer get company benefits but they also get to travel and experience many unique locations. Environmental engineering has a positive outlook for jobs, requires multiple levels of education and a demanding job description. Environmental engineers have demanding schedules and most likely spend more than 40 hours a week doing work. Although the job is demanding, and it takes many years of continuous schooling the job generates many benefits. The current outlook for employment in environmental engineering is very positive and is increasing faster than average.