Engineering Career Resources

Environmental Engineer Job Description

Environmental Engineer Job Description

Environmental engineers are responsible for improving the environment and local ecosystems and for making them more inhabitable by applying principles of engineering, biology, and chemistry. Most notably, environmental engineers are involved with waste disposal and recycling, with waste water treatment, and air pollution initiatives.

Environmental engineers typically conduct studies concerning the impact of human living on natural ecosystems, focusing on finding safe solutions that will protect the public and preserve the delicate balance of nature. During natural disasters, environmental engineers will be on the front lines of recovery efforts, collecting data about the impact on life such disasters have and taking measures to improve the living conditions and ensure public safety.


Environmental engineers must have exceptional analytical and problems solving skills, and have a good knowledge of the relevant legislation. They must keep informed about the latest studies related to their field of expertise, and be familiar with new environmental technologies and trends. Good communication skills and ability to work in a team is always an asset.


A bachelor's level degree is needed to become an environmental engineer. One can obtain a degree in environmental engineering, biology, chemistry, mechanical engineering, civil engineering, or any other related field. Becoming an environmental engineer will also require licensing, and those pursuing a career in the field are advised to obtain the status of incorporated or chartered engineer.

Licensure usually requires obtaining a degree accredited by the relevant professional industry body, passing professional engineering exams, and gaining relevant work experience in the field. Courses in biology, chemistry, mathematics, and physics are recommended, as environmental engineers will need many complex skills in order to accurately perform their duties.

Environmental engineers will sometimes choose a career in environmetal engineering law, for which they need specialized training in law.


The daily duties of an environmental engineer will vary depending on experience and expertise. Waste and toxin disposal is a common industry in which environmental engineers are employed. The tasks environmental engineers deal with can be related to a number of environmental factors, from solid waste to medical waste, from waste water treatment to air pollution.

Environmental engineers perform studies on the hazardous effects of such waste on ecosystems and develop ways to prevent contamination of further elements. Once a suitable method of containment of toxic waste is found, environmental engineers will oversee and advise on construction projects to curtail the problem, and help develop governmental regulations to avoid such issues in the future. The development of sustainability projects, regulations, and public education programs is another industry that employees environmental engineers. Using data gathered in studies, environmental engineers will find ways to minimize human impact on the environment by proposing measures that can shrink the effects of ozone depletion, global warming, and other environmental dangers. By monitoring the advances in these fields, environmental engineers can determine whether or not a method of prevention is beneficial to the environment. If not, they will work closely with local governments and municipalities to find a solution that will cut down on these issues in a positive way.