Written By: Anna Lucas
Becoming an environmental engineer is a lengthy process, just like becoming any other engineer. You need to be very motivated, have dedication, and most importantly have unwavering discipline. Similar to other engineering fields, the best chance you have of securing great positions in your field is by first getting a college degree. But, getting into a great college and getting an amazing degree starts in high school. If you want a more detailed guide into the best ways you can you can increase your chances of being accepted into great engineering colleges, then I recommend reading our other articles “Best Classes to Take in High School to get into Elite Engineering Colleges”, and “How to Make Connections in the Engineering Field”. Some of the best colleges for environmental engineering are University of California - Berkeley, University of Michigan - Ann Arbor, and Georgia Institute of Technology.
After getting a college degree, it’s a good idea to also get a master’s degree. This isn’t a requirement for becoming an environmental engineer, but it will absolutely open up the job market a lot more, and will definitely increase your starting salary. The key for getting into a great school for your masters is doing well enough in college where you can graduate with a title (Summa Cum Laude, Magna Cum Laude, Cum Laude), or having a great relationship with a professor so they can write you a great recommendation letter. The best schools for getting a masters degree in environmental engineering are at Massachusetts Institute Technology, Yale School of Engineering and Applied Science, and Pratt School of Engineering.
After completing your education, whether that be after college or after master’s school, it’s time to enter the workforce. As I've mentioned before, the main employer of environmental engineers is the federal government, with 43% of environmental engineers being employed by them. In the federal government they work mainly in the EPA, National Park Service, US Forest Service, and the US Geological Service. However, the government isn’t the only employer of environmental engineers. The five other top employers are AECOM, SNC-Lavalin, HDR, Inc., Jacobs, and Bechtel. These companies and the federal government also hire people for internships where environmental engineers can also gain experience before joining the workforce.
University, Valparaiso. “Teacher and Student .” Valpo.edu, https://www.valpo.edu/college-of-engineering/academics/undergraduate/environmental-2/. Accessed 21 July 2022.