Are you looking to make an immediate and long-lasting impact on our environmental well-being? Whether you are concerned about the ethical collection of energy, prudent stewardship of Earth’s resources, ways to improve processes to be more efficient, or anything in between, you will want to consider one of many careers in environmental engineering or environment-related careers.
If improving the Earth and the use of its natural resources is aligned with your professional goals, you will want to consider a position in environmental engineering or a related field. Environmental engineers, geoscientists, and other professionals help solve the complex problems of today with a focus on improving the Earth.
Environmental engineers, among other respected professionals in the field of engineering, design, implement and evaluate solutions to everyday problems. Environmental engineers use their specialized training, skills, and knowledge to not only carry out this process but do so in a way that maintains or improves our natural world. People in these types of environmental careers are involved in diverse, complex, and delicate projects such as water management, green building design, and more. An entry-level position allows for growth but also impacts projects and tasks that will solve real-world problems.
Senior environmental engineers work closely with management and other stakeholders, while also supervising engineers and other staff to solve problems and complete projects on time and within budget. The annual median salary for a senior environmental engineer is roughly $108,000, while the entry-level environmental engineer median salary is roughly $67,000. A senior environmental engineer is a desirable position for graduates looking for positions that will make use of a master’s degree.
Environmental technicians inspect and maintain equipment, work with the containment or disposal of hazardous waste, manage waste operations, collect samples needed for a variety of purposes, and assist stakeholders with compliance with regulatory standards. They also sometimes engage in environmental impact studies of new projects or evaluate the environmental health of sites that could possibly contaminate the environment, such as abandoned manufacturing sites or industrial plants. Environmental technicians also sometimes work in testing laboratories. They collect and track samples and perform tests. Their work is invaluable, and it is done under the direction of other professionals. The median salary for environmental technicians is roughly $40,000 per year. An environmental technician works with environmental engineers and scientists to identify, evaluate, prevent, and control contamination of the environment.
Another exciting career to consider is a green building engineer. The average salary for these positions is $75,000–$80,000. These professionals help create projects that are sustainable or leave less of an environmental footprint than traditional projects. Green building engineers are increasingly utilized to create structures that minimize environmental harm. One common focus for green building engineers is to find ways to lower energy consumption by designing buildings with maximum natural lighting during periods of use, such as an office complex that allows most of its light to come from sunlight during office hours. The goal of a green building engineer is to create more energy- and resource-efficient models that protect occupants from nature’s extremes, while also not harming the environment through standard construction practices. Common areas of focus are:
● Water efficiency
● Limiting toxic materials
● Renewable energy
● Energy efficiency
● Indoor air quality
● Sustainable development.
Geoscientists study the physical aspects of the environment and conduct research for a variety of purposes. Geoscientists use a wide variety of tools, such as a hammer and chisel, to collect rock samples and then use ground-penetrating radar equipment to search for oil or minerals. In laboratories, they may use X-rays and electron microscopes to determine the chemical and physical composition of rock samples. They may also use remote sensing equipment to collect data, and modeling software to analyze the data collected. The average annual salary for a geoscientist is $93,580. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, geoscientists typically do any of the following tasks, depending on their specific focus or role:
● Plan and carry out field studies, in which they visit locations to collect samples and conduct surveys
● Analyze aerial photographs, well logs (detailed records of geologic formations found during drilling), rock samples, and other data sources to locate deposits of natural resources and estimate their size
● Conduct laboratory tests on samples collected in the field
● Make geologic maps and charts
● Prepare written scientific reports
● Present their findings to clients, colleagues, and other interested parties