Summary Report for:
17-2081.00 - Environmental Engineers
Research, design, plan, or perform engineering duties in the prevention, control, and remediation of environmental hazards using various engineering disciplines. Work may include waste treatment, site remediation, or pollution control technology.
Sample of reported job titles: Air Pollution Control Engineer, Engineer, Engineering Consultant, Environmental Analyst, Environmental Consultant, Environmental Engineer, Environmental Remediation Specialist, Hazardous Substances Engineer, Sanitary Engineer
Also see: Water/Wastewater Engineers
Tasks | Technology Skills | Tools Used | Knowledge | Skills | Abilities | Work Activities | Detailed Work Activities | Work Context | Job Zone | Education | Credentials | Interests | Work Styles | Work Values | Related Occupations | Wages & Employment | Job Openings | Additional Information
- Provide technical support for environmental remediation or litigation projects, including remediation system design or determination of regulatory applicability.
- Collaborate with environmental scientists, planners, hazardous waste technicians, engineers, experts in law or business, or other specialists to address environmental problems.
- Assess the existing or potential environmental impact of land use projects on air, water, or land.
- Advise corporations or government agencies of procedures to follow in cleaning up contaminated sites to protect people and the environment.
- Inspect industrial or municipal facilities or programs to evaluate operational effectiveness or ensure compliance with environmental regulations.
- Design, or supervise the design of, systems, processes, or equipment for control, management, or remediation of water, air, or soil quality.
- Direct installation or operation of environmental monitoring devices or supervise related data collection programs.
- Prepare, review, or update environmental investigation or recommendation reports.
- Develop site-specific health and safety protocols, such as spill contingency plans or methods for loading or transporting waste.
- Obtain, update, or maintain plans, permits, or standard operating procedures.
- Prepare or present public briefings on the status of environmental engineering projects.
- Provide administrative support for projects by collecting data, providing project documentation, training staff, or performing other general administrative duties.
- Coordinate or manage environmental protection programs or projects, assigning or evaluating work.
- Request bids from suppliers or consultants.
- Monitor progress of environmental improvement programs.
- Serve as liaison with federal, state, or local agencies or officials on issues pertaining to solid or hazardous waste program requirements.
- Provide assistance with planning, quality assurance, safety inspection protocols, or sampling as part of a team conducting multimedia inspections at complex facilities.
- Develop, implement, or manage plans or programs related to conservation or management of natural resources.
- Inform company employees or other interested parties of environmental issues.
- Advise industries or government agencies about environmental policies and standards.
- Provide environmental engineering assistance in network analysis, regulatory analysis, or planning or reviewing database development.
- Assist in budget implementation, forecasts, or administration.
- Prepare, maintain, or revise quality assurance documentation or procedures.
- Develop proposed project objectives and targets and report to management on progress in attaining them.
- Prepare hazardous waste manifests or land disposal restriction notifications.
- Develop or present environmental compliance training or orientation sessions.
- Analytical or scientific software — DHI Water and Environment MIKE SHE; RockWare MODFLOW; The MathWorks MATLAB ; XP Software XPSWMM (see all 25 examples)
- Compliance software — Greenhouse gas management software; Hazardous materials management HMS software; Material safety data sheet MSDS software; Regulatory compliance management software (see all 6 examples)
- Computer aided design CAD software — Autodesk AutoCAD ; Bentley Microstation ; Computer aided design and drafting software CADD; SofTech CADRA (see all 5 examples)
- Data base user interface and query software — Microsoft Access
- Development environment software — Formula translation/translator FORTRAN
- Graphics or photo imaging software — Photogrammetric software
- Industrial control software — Fugitive emission leak detection software
- Map creation software — ESRI ArcGIS software ; ESRI ArcView; Geomechanical design analysis GDA software; Oil mapping software
- Object or component oriented development software — C++ ; Python
- Office suite software — Microsoft Office
- Presentation software — Microsoft PowerPoint
- Project management software — Microsoft Project
- Spreadsheet software — Microsoft Excel
- Word processing software — Microsoft Word
Hot Technology — a technology requirement frequently included in employer job postings.
- Air samplers or collectors — Sampling trains
- Air sampling pumps — Sampling pumps
- Air velocity and temperature monitors — Air velocity meters; Ambient air measurement devices; Nitrogen oxide burners
- Anaerobic chamber — Anaerobic growth chambers
- Atomic absorption AA spectrometers — Atomic absorption AA spectrophotometers
- Atomizers — Mercury/hybrid atomizers
- Augers — Stem augers
- Autosamplers — Headspace autosamplers
- Bacteria transformation kits — Chemostats
- Bench refractometers or polarimeters — Interferometeric refractormeters
- Benchtop centrifuges — Centrifuges
- Chemical absorption gas analyzers — Surface area analyzers
- Chemiluminescence or bioluminescence analyzers — Fluorescence detectors; Microbics toxicity analyzers
- Chromatographic detectors — Liquid chromatography detectors; Ultraviolet UV light detectors
- Conductivity meters — Soil electrical conductivity measurement devices
- Core drills — Core drill rigs; Limnological coring drills
- Density gradient fractionators — Universal fractionators
- Desktop computers
- Dissolution or disintegration testers — Soil modulus failure testing devices; Soil-erodability testing devices
- Dissolved carbon dioxide analyzers — Respirometers
- Dissolved oxygen meters
- Electrometers — Electron capture detectors ECD
- Electronic counters — Particle counters
- Electronic measuring probes — Environmental probe systems; Individual burner air measurement IBAM probes
- Extracting equipment for laboratories — Supercritical fluid extractors
- Filtering machinery — Particulate filters
- Flame ionization analyzers — Flame emission detectors; Flame ionization detectors FID
- Flowmeters — Flow meters; Pitot tubes
- Fluorescent microscopes — Epifluorescence microscopes
- Forced air or mechanical convection general purpose incubators — Air incubators; Incubators
- Freeze dryers or lyopholizers — Freeze dryers
- Fume hoods or cupboards — Fume hoods
- Gas chromatographs — Gas chromatographs GC
- Gas detector tubes — Multi gas detector tubes; Sorbent tubes
- Gas detectors — Combustible gas meters
- Gas gauges — Gas meters
- Global positioning system GPS receiver — Global positioning system GPS receivers
- Instrumentation for capillary electrophoresis — Capillary electrophoresis systems
- Ion chromatographs
- Ionmeters — Argon ionization detectors
- Isolation glove boxes — Glove box systems
- Laboratory balances — Balances
- Laboratory mechanical convection ovens — Laboratory ovens
- Laboratory microwave ovens — Microwave digestion instruments
- Liquid scintillation counters
- Mass spectrometers — Plasma-mass spectrometers; Trace metal analyzers
- Mud pumps — Electric pumps
- Nitrogen or nitrate or nitrite analyzer — Soil carbon-nitrogen CN analyzers
- Notebook computers
- Open stream current meters — Hydrological current meters
- Open stream water level recorders — Water level recorders; Wave gauges
- Orbital shakers — Shakers
- Organic carbon analyzers — Total organic carbon TOC analyzers
- Ozone analyzers — Ozonators
- Penetrometers — California bearing ratio CBR testing devices
- Permeability testing apparatus — Consolidometers
- pH meters
- Photo attachments for microscopes — Charge-coupled device CCD cameras
- Photometers — Laser photometers; Luminometers
- Potentiometers — Scanning potentiostats
- Programmable tube furnaces — Graphite furnaces
- Rotary drills — Mud rotary drills
- Sample holders — Whole air canisters
- Sample oxidizer — Biological oxidizers; Thermal/catalytic oxidizers TCO
- Seismic recorders or seismographs — Seismographs
- Shear strength testers — Direct shear testing devices; Solid shear failure testing devices
- Soil core sampling apparatus — Geoprobes; Limnological core loggers
- Spectrophotometers — Fluorescence spectrophotometers
- Steam autoclaves or sterilizers — Autoclaves
- Thermal conductivity analyzers — Thermal conductivity detectors
- Titration equipment — Automatic titrators
- Ultra violet water purification units — Ultraviolet water purification systems
- Vacuum or centrifugal concentrators — Sample concentrators
- Vacuum pumps — Liquid ring pumps
- Water analyzers — Multiparameter water quality instruments; Nutrient analyzers
- Water samplers — Stormwater samplers
- Engineering and Technology — Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.
- Mathematics — Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
- Chemistry — Knowledge of the chemical composition, structure, and properties of substances and of the chemical processes and transformations that they undergo. This includes uses of chemicals and their interactions, danger signs, production techniques, and disposal methods.
- English Language — Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
- Design — Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.
- Physics — Knowledge and prediction of physical principles, laws, their interrelationships, and applications to understanding fluid, material, and atmospheric dynamics, and mechanical, electrical, atomic and sub- atomic structures and processes.
- Law and Government — Knowledge of laws, legal codes, court procedures, precedents, government regulations, executive orders, agency rules, and the democratic political process.
- Biology — Knowledge of plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, interdependencies, and interactions with each other and the environment.
- Customer and Personal Service — Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
- Public Safety and Security — Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.
- Administration and Management — Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
- Computers and Electronics — Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
- Active Listening — Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
- Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
- Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
- Writing — Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
- Complex Problem Solving — Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
- Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
- Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively.
- Active Learning — Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
- Judgment and Decision Making — Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
- Coordination — Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
- Mathematics — Using mathematics to solve problems.
- Systems Analysis — Determining how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect outcomes.
- Systems Evaluation — Identifying measures or indicators of system performance and the actions needed to improve or correct performance, relative to the goals of the system.
- Time Management — Managing one's own time and the time of others.
- Instructing — Teaching others how to do something.
- Learning Strategies — Selecting and using training/instructional methods and procedures appropriate for the situation when learning or teaching new things.
- Negotiation — Bringing others together and trying to reconcile differences.
- Persuasion — Persuading others to change their minds or behavior.
- Science — Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.
- Social Perceptiveness — Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
- Written Comprehension — The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
- Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
- Inductive Reasoning — The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
- Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
- Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
- Written Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
- Problem Sensitivity — The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
- Fluency of Ideas — The ability to come up with a number of ideas about a topic (the number of ideas is important, not their quality, correctness, or creativity).
- Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
- Originality — The ability to come up with unusual or clever ideas about a given topic or situation, or to develop creative ways to solve a problem.
- Information Ordering — The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
- Speech Clarity — The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
- Speech Recognition — The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
- Mathematical Reasoning — The ability to choose the right mathematical methods or formulas to solve a problem.
- Number Facility — The ability to add, subtract, multiply, or divide quickly and correctly.
- Category Flexibility — The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
- Flexibility of Closure — The ability to identify or detect a known pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) that is hidden in other distracting material.
- Visualization — The ability to imagine how something will look after it is moved around or when its parts are moved or rearranged.
- Memorization — The ability to remember information such as words, numbers, pictures, and procedures.
- Perceptual Speed — The ability to quickly and accurately compare similarities and differences among sets of letters, numbers, objects, pictures, or patterns. The things to be compared may be presented at the same time or one after the other. This ability also includes comparing a presented object with a remembered object.
- Selective Attention — The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
- Speed of Closure — The ability to quickly make sense of, combine, and organize information into meaningful patterns.
- Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
- Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards — Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
- Analyzing Data or Information — Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
- Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
- Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
- Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings — Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
- Interacting With Computers — Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
- Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
- Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
- Communicating with Persons Outside Organization — Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.
- Developing and Building Teams — Encouraging and building mutual trust, respect, and cooperation among team members.
- Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships — Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
- Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others — Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.
- Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work — Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
- Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
- Documenting/Recording Information — Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
- Estimating the Quantifiable Characteristics of Products, Events, or Information — Estimating sizes, distances, and quantities; or determining time, costs, resources, or materials needed to perform a work activity.
- Coordinating the Work and Activities of Others — Getting members of a group to work together to accomplish tasks.
- Thinking Creatively — Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
- Monitoring and Controlling Resources — Monitoring and controlling resources and overseeing the spending of money.
- Provide Consultation and Advice to Others — Providing guidance and expert advice to management or other groups on technical, systems-, or process-related topics.
- Scheduling Work and Activities — Scheduling events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.
- Developing Objectives and Strategies — Establishing long-range objectives and specifying the strategies and actions to achieve them.
- Drafting, Laying Out, and Specifying Technical Devices, Parts, and Equipment — Providing documentation, detailed instructions, drawings, or specifications to tell others about how devices, parts, equipment, or structures are to be fabricated, constructed, assembled, modified, maintained, or used.
- Guiding, Directing, and Motivating Subordinates — Providing guidance and direction to subordinates, including setting performance standards and monitoring performance.
- Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material — Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
- Resolving Conflicts and Negotiating with Others — Handling complaints, settling disputes, and resolving grievances and conflicts, or otherwise negotiating with others.
- Judging the Qualities of Things, Services, or People — Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.
- Coaching and Developing Others — Identifying the developmental needs of others and coaching, mentoring, or otherwise helping others to improve their knowledge or skills.
- Training and Teaching Others — Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.
- Performing for or Working Directly with the Public — Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.
Detailed Work Activities
- Advise others regarding green practices or environmental concerns.
- Confer with other personnel to resolve design or operational problems.
- Investigate the environmental impact of projects.
- Inspect facilities or sites to determine if they meet specifications or standards.
- Design environmental control systems.
- Maintain operational records or records systems.
- Direct environmental development activities.
- Prepare technical or operational reports.
- Develop technical methods or processes.
- Explain project details to the general public.
- Train personnel on proper operational procedures.
- Purchase materials, equipment, or other resources.
- Monitor activities affecting environmental quality.
- Confer with technical personnel to prepare designs or operational plans.
- Prepare detailed work plans.
- Assist engineers or scientists with research.
- Prepare project budgets.
- Determine operational criteria or specifications.
- Prepare operational reports.
- Prepare procedural documents.
- Teach safety standards or environmental compliance methods.
- Package materials for transport.
- Test characteristics of materials or structures.
- Prepare research or technical reports on environmental issues.
- Write reports or evaluations.
- Electronic Mail — 95% responded “Every day.”
- Telephone — 77% responded “Every day.”
- Face-to-Face Discussions — 64% responded “Every day.”
- Duration of Typical Work Week — 64% responded “More than 40 hours.”
- Work With Work Group or Team — 64% responded “Very important.”
- Responsible for Others' Health and Safety — 41% responded “Very high responsibility.”
- Contact With Others — 59% responded “Contact with others most of the time.”
- Indoors, Environmentally Controlled — 38% responded “Every day.”
- Letters and Memos — 77% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Spend Time Sitting — 62% responded “More than half the time.”
- Freedom to Make Decisions — 48% responded “Some freedom.”
- Structured versus Unstructured Work — 59% responded “Some freedom.”
- Coordinate or Lead Others — 55% responded “Very important.”
- Responsibility for Outcomes and Results — 50% responded “High responsibility.”
- Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 41% responded “Moderate results.”
- Time Pressure — 45% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
- Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 41% responded “Very important.”
- In an Enclosed Vehicle or Equipment — 42% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Frequency of Decision Making — 29% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Deal With External Customers — 36% responded “Very important.”
- Level of Competition — 50% responded “Moderately competitive.”
- Outdoors, Exposed to Weather — 52% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
- Wear Common Protective or Safety Equipment such as Safety Shoes, Glasses, Gloves, Hearing Protection, Hard Hats, or Life Jackets — 48% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
- Exposed to Contaminants — 38% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
|Title||Job Zone Four: Considerable Preparation Needed|
|Education||Most of these occupations require a four-year bachelor's degree, but some do not.|
|Related Experience||A considerable amount of work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is needed for these occupations. For example, an accountant must complete four years of college and work for several years in accounting to be considered qualified.|
|Job Training||Employees in these occupations usually need several years of work-related experience, on-the-job training, and/or vocational training.|
|Job Zone Examples||Many of these occupations involve coordinating, supervising, managing, or training others. Examples include real estate brokers, sales managers, database administrators, graphic designers, chemists, art directors, and cost estimators.|
|SVP Range||(7.0 to < 8.0)|
Interest code: IRC Want to discover your interests? Take the O*NET Interest Profiler at My Next Move.
- Investigative — Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.
- Realistic — Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
- Conventional — Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.
- Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
- Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
- Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
- Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
- Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
- Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
- Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
- Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
- Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
- Self Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
- Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.
- Concern for Others — Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
- Independence — Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
- Leadership — Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
- Innovation — Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.
- Achievement — Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment. Corresponding needs are Ability Utilization and Achievement.
- Working Conditions — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions. Corresponding needs are Activity, Compensation, Independence, Security, Variety and Working Conditions.
- Recognition — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer advancement, potential for leadership, and are often considered prestigious. Corresponding needs are Advancement, Authority, Recognition and Social Status.
Wages & Employment Trends
|Median wages (2019)||$42.72 hourly, $88,860 annual|
|Employment (2018)||55,400 employees|
|Projected growth (2018-2028)||Average (4% to 6%)|
|Projected job openings (2018-2028)||4,600|
|Top industries (2018)|
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2019 wage data and 2018-2028 employment projections . "Projected growth" represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2018-2028). "Projected job openings" represent openings due to growth and replacement.
Job Openings on the Web
Sources of Additional Information
Disclaimer: Sources are listed to provide additional information on related jobs, specialties, and/or industries. Links to non-DOL Internet sites are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement.
- Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology
- Air and Waste Management Association
- Alliance of Hazardous Materials Professionals
- American Academy of Environmental Engineers and Scientists
- American Industrial Hygiene Association
- American Institute of Chemical Engineers
- American Public Works Association
- American Society for Engineering Education
- American Society of Civil Engineers
- American Society of Safety Engineers
- American Water Works Association
- National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying
- National Ground Water Association
- National Registry of Environmental Professionals
- National Society of Professional Engineers
- Occupational Outlook Handbook: Environmental engineers
- Society of American Military Engineers
- Society of Women Engineers
- Solid Waste Association of North America
- Water Environment Federation