Science, Technology & Environment

Environmental Engineer

Environmental engineers use engineering, soil science, biology, and chemistry principles to develop solutions to environmental problems.

  • Entry-level education

    Bachelor’s degree

  • Job outlook

    1 2 3 4 5

What does an Environmental Engineer do?

Environmental engineers use the principles of engineering, soil science, biology, and chemistry to develop solutions to environmental problems. They are involved in efforts to improve recycling, waste disposal, public health, and water and air pollution control.


Work activities

As an environmental engineer, you might:

  • design or supervise the design of systems, processes, or equipment for control, management, or remediation of water, air, or soil quality
  • advise companies or government agencies of procedures to follow in cleaning up contaminated sites to protect people and the environment
  • collaborate with environmental scientists, planners, hazardous waste technicians, engineers, experts in law or business, or other specialists to address environmental problems
  • obtain, update, or maintain plans, permits, or standard operating procedures
  • serve as liaison with federal, state, or local agencies or officials on issues pertaining to solid or hazardous waste program requirements
  • provide technical support for environmental remediation or litigation projects.

Key skills and interests

To become an environmental engineer, you would need:

  • excellent maths, science and IT skills
  • the ability to produce and interpret technical diagrams
  • the ability to analyse complex problems and assess possible solutions
  • the ability to explain design ideas clearly
  • strong decision-making skills
  • excellent communication skills.

Working hours and conditions

Working Hours

Most environmental engineers work full time. You might need to work overtime on some projects depending on project deadlines.


Environmental engineers work in a variety of settings. When they are working with other engineers and urban and regional planners, environmental engineers are likely to work in offices. When they are carrying out solutions through construction projects, they are likely to be at construction sites.


How to become an Environmental Engineer?

Entry Level Education

To become an environmental engineer you usually have to complete a degree in engineering with a major in environmental engineering. To get into these courses you usually need to gain your senior secondary school certificate or equivalent. English, mathematics, chemistry and physics would be appropriate subjects to study prior to university.

Graduates may be eligible for membership of Engineers Australia.


Job outlook

  • 1 2 3 4 5

Employment of environmental engineers is projected to grow faster than the average for all occupations.

Areas of growth will include improving efficiencies in water use, wastewater treatment (including in the mining industry), alternative energy, remediation of contaminated sites, and compliance with regulatory requirements.


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