For decades industry as well as individuals have taken advantage of the world’s natural resources. All sorts of products and services that have enhanced human living conditions are created at the expense of natural resources. Some companies have been reckless in their approach to the environment in order to reap the financial rewards offered by the seemingly endless supply of certain natural resources. Forests around the globe have been devastated, and ocean pollution due to industry and individual waste is destroying the nature balance in the sea world. Environmental engineers use the principles of biology and chemistry to develop solutions for these environmental issues as well as other hazardous global behavior.
Environmental engineers address water and air pollution control, waste disposal, recycling, forestation, and public health issues. Eco-engineers develop and conduct hazardous-waste management studies so they can evaluate the significance of the waste systems and then offer a viable treatment or a containment method to reduce the negative probabilities that develop from these practices. Engineers also develop regulations to prevent future destruction or mishaps which are the by-products of uncontrolled environmental thoughtlessness.
Water issues of all kinds have a dramatic impact on the quality of life so developing and designing efficient industrial wastewater systems as well as municipal water systems are an important part of an environmental engineer’s responsibilities. Eco-engineers research and analyze proposed worldwide environmental projects using scientific data and then perform quality control checks to ensure the effectiveness of the project. Issues like global warming, acid rain, ozone depletion, and auto emissions as well as the protection of wildlife are constantly being studied by environmental engineers. They offer unique solutions to existing environmental issues that compliment natural resources instead of destroying them.
Federal, state and local government depend on the information received from environmental engineers to expand highways, create new towns and cities, and to reuse and recycle waste as well as maintain a clean water supply. A large number of environmental engineers work as consultants for private industry, while other engineers take positions with federal and state agencies that monitor and manage hazardous-waste issues. There are over fifty thousand environmental engineers working in professional, technical and scientific service positions and about a third of them are employed by government agencies.
Environmental Engineer Training and Education Requirements
A degree in environmental or environmental health as well as knowledge and experience in preventing and managing environmental issues are the educational requirements that most companies look for when they hire environmental engineers. A master’s degree in engineering is usually required by companies that specialize in hazardous-waste management and removal. Political factors play a role in the training as well as the employment of environmental engineers. Loose regulations reduce the number of engineering jobs available in private companies, but stronger regulations increase the number of environmental engineering jobs in government and the private sector.
Environmental engineering jobs are not necessarily affected by economic conditions, but a radical change in economic stability can reduce the emphasis on environmental protection which reduces job opportunities. Part of the training needed to assure job security in the environmental protection arena is keeping abreast of all environmental issues that impact economic growth.
Environmental Engineer Salary and Wages
According to a recent survey conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers bachelor degree candidates in environmental or environmental health engineering usually receive offers from the private sector that start at around $45,000 a year plus benefits. Most environmental engineers earn around $62,000 a year, but the some engineers earn over $90,000 depending on the company’s size and location. State government engineers earn about $54,000 a year, but environment consultants earn over $75,000 depending on the type and location of the business.*
*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/
Most environmental engineers that work for private companies in large metropolitan areas earn between $75,000 and $95,000 a year plus benefits. Eco-engineer salaries are based on performance and results that are hard to measure on a year to year basis, but nonetheless job security in some companies depends on short-term results for long-term waste and pollution issues. The average government salary for an experienced environmental engineer is around $55,000 a year at the state level and $70,000 a year at the federal level.*
*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/
Environmental Engineer Certifications
Most environmental engineering certifications are related to performance and experience. Companies certify eco-engineers for duties like developing waste removal systems. Government agencies certify engineers that work on pollution control and other health hazard issues that impact the health and wellness of constituents. There are no agencies that certify environmental engineers in all areas because the issues and the resolutions keep changing due to social and political priorities, but some associations like Air and Waste Management Association, American Water Works Association, and the Solid Waste Association of North America offer eco-friendly engineering certifications and so does the American Society for Engineering Education.
Environmental Engineer Professional Associations
The American Academy of Environmental Engineers as well as the American Society for Engineering Education and the Water Environment Federation are three professional associations for eco-engineers. The Air and Waste Management Association and American Public Health Association are also excellent associations for eco-engineers.