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Environmental Engineer

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Develop engineering solutions to ecological problems.

Salary Range

$65,710 - $110,680

Source: U.S. Department of Labor

What does an Environmental Engineer do?

Environmental engineers tackle problems in ecosystems by researching issues, designing solutions, implementing plans, and managing cleanup programs. Your field covers the intersection between biology, chemistry, public policy, and traditional engineering. So if you’re a tree hugger with a keen sense for the way moving parts come together to create a living system, then you may want to seriously consider this field.

As an environmental engineer, your time is typically divided between outdoor fieldwork and indoor research, testing, and planning. Your priorities are environmental protection and remediation strategies in the areas of pollution control, recycling, public health, and waste disposal.

When you undertake the job of remedying an environmental hazard, you collect samples and analyze how the toxic material has negatively affected the surrounding landscape and the health of the people who live there. If you’re working with contaminated water, for example, your next step is to design wells that stop toxins from entering the water supply.

Once your blueprints are implemented on a large scale, you then figure out how to clean up the polluted water, as well as the surrounding soil and air that were also affected. The fruits of your labor are a cleaner environment, healthier people, and fewer incidences of pollution happening in the near future.

Internationally or domestically, you can choose to work in government regulation, for building and construction companies, or on a consulting basis. The sky is literally the limit. No matter what path you choose, know that this position will likely be always in demand. That’s because environments are constantly changing, new pollutants are being introduced daily, and new methods are necessary to combat environmental threats.

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