Environmental Engineering : Careers

Career Information and Further Study

Environmental engineers work to understand the processes that transport and transform contaminants in both the natural environment (air, water, and land) and engineered environment (treatment plants and industry). Some specific examples include global warming, the movement of contaminants such as pesticides through a watershed, the uptake of toxic mercury by fish in the Great Lakes, the movement of strontium in groundwater, and the removal of disease-causing organisms by ultraviolet light in drinking water.

Environmental engineers choose from a broad spectrum of employment opportunities in private consulting firms (in which environmental engineers often participate as owners or partners), industry, governmental agencies, research/development, and education. Some graduates return immediately or within a few years to graduate school for advanced studies. BS (Environmental) graduates have the skills and most prerequisites to pursue further education in law, medicine, management or other professional fields.

Environmental engineering jobs are diverse and include consulting engineering firms, government, and industry. Here is a partial list of companies who recruit students from the University at Buffalo's Environmental Engineering program:
ALCOA, Buffalo Sewer Authority, CH2M Hill, DuPont, Ecology and Environment, Inc., Erie County Water Authority, Malcolm Pirnie, Inc., NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, Parsons Engineering Science, Stearns and Wheler, URS Corp., and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Career Hints

Degree level required: A significant number of employers require or reward an MS or ME degree for environmental engineering jobs. Thus, some students continue their studies at the graduate level.

The best way to ensure a good starting salary is to intern with an environmental-related firm before graduation, earn competitive grades, or participate in undergraduate research with a faculty member.

Salary Trends

Average starting salary: $53,000

Factors influencing salary: Educational level, experience, specialization, GPA, location, computer skills, and many other factors. The best way to ensure a good starting salary is to intern with a environmental engineering-related firm before graduation, earn a competitive GPA, and do undergraduate research with a faculty member.

Additional Resources

Updated: 13 Nov 2012 06:01:07 EST