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Environmental Engineering: Environmental Science and Engineering Careers, Environmental Engineering Degree Online and Schools

The field of environmental engineering makes use of both science and engineering applications in the natural world, and encompasses a range of projects and job responsibilities. Environmental engineers work in the industrial and research sectors to implement various solutions to control pollution and maximize the planet’s energy resources. Other areas of environmental engineering include water and waste management, land cultivation, air quality control, and urban planning. Environmental engineering schools train students to work in a variety of disciplines and specialize in environmental work both domestically and abroad. The convenience of completing an environmental engineering degree online allows students of all ages and backgrounds to complete their education at their own pace.

What is Environmental Engineering?

Environmental science and engineering is the direct application of the physical sciences, engineering, and mathematics to provide solutions for the planet. Scientists, researchers, and environmental engineers work on finding new ways to solve problems in the environment, and can specialize in a variety of areas including:

  • Waste Management

  • Toxic Materials Control

  • Water Supply

  • Storm Water Management

  • Solid Waste Disposal

  • Public Health and Safety

  • Land Management

  • Radiation Protection

  • Industrial Hygiene

  • Air Pollution and Air Quality Control

An environmental engineer may also be involved in working with a city’s public health and safety board, construction management groups, and serving as advocates for environmental policies. Environmental engineering science and research projects provide comprehensive data, statistics, and reports for a variety of industry applications.

Job Description and Responsibilities of an Environmental Engineer

An environmental engineer is often involved with a variety of job duties including:

  • Assessing the environmental conditions of a proposed project

  • Applying scientific and engineering principles for evaluation of an area

  • Determining agricultural capacity

  • Assessing traffic and social impacts of a proposed project

  • Developing mitigation measures to ensure safety

  • Securing water supplies for agricultural use

  •  Working with watershed teams to determine available water supply

  • Designing and manufacturing combustion processes

  • Collecting data and assisting in product design

  • Developing improved air quality models and pollution control measures

  • Improving noise pollution levels

  •  Working with an environmental health and safety board on various policies and procedures

Environmental engineering covers a wide range of studies and applications, and professionals in the industry may work in different positions as a:

  • Environmental researcher

  • Environmental and urban designer

  • Field planner

  • Pollution control officer

  • Professor of environmental engineering

  • Government regulatory agency official

  • Private consultant with an environmental engineering firm

  • Private research firm

  • Testing laboratory agent

  • Environmental engineering science

Environmental Engineering Degree Programs and Courses

Environmental engineering degree programs and courses cover a broad range of applications and areas of study, with specific applications in the fields of:

  • Air and water pollution

  • Public health issues

  • Hazardous waste management

  • Treatment and containment of pollutants and wastewater treatment

  • Regulation and development of wastewater treatment

  • Acid rain and global warming effects and solutions

  • Automobile emissions

  • Ozone depletion

  •  Wildlife protection

A bachelor’s environmental engineering degree program can provide the core foundational courses for environmental engineering careers in a variety of industries, but many scientists and researchers choose to pursue a master’s environmental engineering degree program. Environmental science and engineering programs at the master’s or Ph.D. level offer further understanding and knowledge of practical science applications, the specific processes related to environmental problem-solving, and even teaching opportunities as an environmental engineering educator.

Environmental Engineering Schools

Environmental engineering schools are a division of the applied sciences of a college or university, and many also offer an environmental engineering degree online. Environmental engineering schools provide both lab and classroom instruction where students can gain hands on experience in a variety of subjects. Course programs may also include a fieldwork component where environmental engineering students are required to complete a project and provide their findings and results. The curriculum and course structure at environmental engineering schools are concentrated on ways to find solutions to environmental problems and help improve the environment; students gain extensive knowledge of their specialization towards rewarding environmental engineering careers. Many complete their studies to move into consulting or working with a private firm in research.

Pursuing an Environmental Engineering Degree Online

Completing an environmental engineering degree online offers additional benefits for students who prefer to learn independently or from a distance. Online programs are taught with lectures, discussion groups, and online collaboration projects where students can download their materials and study at their own pace. Many research projects also require in depth internet research, and students can make use of technology and direct application of their knowledge with online simulations, labs, and lectures completed entirely over the web. Benefits of completing an environmental engineering degree online include:

  • Collaboration with instructors and students from around the world
  • Access to research materials and resources online
  • Learning specific research and analysis skills through online research and applications
  • Easy access to the semester’s curriculum, notes, and materials
  • Flexibility with scheduling; many students complete an environmental engineering degree online while working a full- or part-time job

Job Prospects and Employment Outlook for Environmental Engineering Careers

With the growth in sophisticated research technology and need for scientists and researchers, the field of environmental engineering offers many opportunities for those who complete an environmental engineering degree program. Many companies are trying to find innovative ways to apply sustainable business practices to their operations, and environmental engineers and technicians are hired to develop these critical processes. Jobs for environmental engineers are expected to grow as fast as the average as other industries. Median annual earnings for environmental engineers and technicians were $38,550 in 2004. Related occupations include:

  • Science technicians

  • Surveying engineers and technicians

  • Sound engineering technicians

  • Land surveyors

  • Cartographers

  • Photogrammetrists


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