Environmental Engineer Job Description
An environmental engineer is an engineer who applies scientific knowledge and engineering principles to manage and improve the natural environment. Environmental engineers use the principles of engineering, soil science, biology, and chemistry to develop solutions for environmental problems such as air pollution, waste disposal, and oil spillage.
An environmental engineer should be innovative, analytical, practical and methodical, and have the ability to communicate effectively and work well with others in a team. They should have good knowledge of engineering principles and be committed to environmental protection to support in the design, development and implementation of environmentally-friendly engineering projects.
What does an Environmental Engineer do?
Environmental engineers may do some or all of the following:
- collaborate with other engineers, scientists and technicians
- identify, analyze and solve environmental problems
- carry out research on topics such as alternative energy sources, water reclamation, and waste management
- design, develop and implement alternative sources of energy such as geothermal, wind and biomass
- provide environmental consultancy to engineering firms and government organizations
- design and develop equipment and processes for proper treatment and disposal of waste materials
- manage the conservation and wise use of natural resources
- inspect and evaluate engineering projects to ensure compliance with environmental regulations
- write research articles and reports
- teach at colleges and universities
Where does an Environmental Engineer work?
Environmental engineers usually work normal office hours, and but may sometimes work evening and weekends or be on-call. They work indoors in offices and outdoors at construction sites. They may travel to construction sites from time to time to supervise and manage construction projects.
What is Required to Become an Environmental Engineer?
To become an environmental engineer, you need to have a bachelor’s degree environmental engineering or a similar discipline. Environmental engineering is a branch of civil engineering.
Secondary school students interested in studying environmental engineering should take should take preparatory subjects such as geography, chemistry, biology, physics and mathematics, including algebra, trigonometry, and calculus.
Just to give you an idea, some of the classes that you’ll be taking in college may include:
- Soil mechanics
- Fluid mechanics
- Differential equations
- Applied linear algebra
- Statistics and probability
- Climate change
- Material and energy balance
- Environmental microbiology
- Environmental organic chemistry
- Environmental engineering processes
- Environmental engineering design
- Heat transfer
- Water chemistry
- Engineering hydrology
- Air pollution control
- Solid waste management
Knowledge, Skills and Attributes
- Environmental engineers need to have:
- scientific aptitude
- creativity and innovation
- diligence and persistence
- manual dexterity
- physical and mental stamina
- good memory
- good eyesight
- good attention to detail
- good hand-eye coordination
- good listening and communication skills
- analytical and problem solving skills
- good judgment and decision making skills
- time management and organizational skills
- leadership skills
- math, computer and programming skills
- the ability to work well independently and in a team
- the ability to design and conduct experiments
- the ability to work well under pressure
- the ability to learn new skills and stay up-to-date with new developments in the field
- the ability to identify real world problems that can be solved by engineering principles and techniques
- the ability to apply the knowledge of science, mathematics and engineering to solve real word problems
- knowledge of biology and geography
- knowledge of waste management
- knowledge of air, water and land pollution control methods
- knowledge of public health issues and environmental safety procedures
- knowledge of renewable energies
- Environmental engineers need to have:
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