Environmental and ecological engineers respond to the challenges posed by a growing population, intensifying land-use pressures, rapidly evolving technology, and increasing government regulations. The environmental/ecological engineer must develop technically sound solutions within the framework of maintaining or improving environmental quality, complying with public policy, and optimizing the utilization of resources. The engineer provides system and component design, serves as a technical advisor in policy making and legal deliberations, develops management schemes for resources, and provides technical evaluations of systems.
Through the current work of environmental and ecological engineers, individuals and businesses are understanding how to coordinate society’s interaction with the environment. There will always be a need for engineers who are able to integrate the latest technologies into systems to produce needed food and fiber while protecting natural resources.
Environmental engineers work in a variety of settings because of the nature of the tasks they do. When they are working with other engineers and urban and regional planners, environmental engineers are likely to be in offices. When they are carrying out solutions through construction projects, they are likely to be at construction sites.
Environmental engineers must have a bachelor’s degree in environmental engineering or a related field, such as civil, chemical, or general engineering. Employers also value practical experience. Therefore, cooperative engineering programs, which provide college credit for structured job experience, are valuable as well.
Employment of environmental engineers is projected to grow 12 percent from 2014 to 2024, faster than the average for all occupations. State and local government concerns regarding water availability, and quality, should lead to efforts to increase the efficiency of water use.
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