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Environmental Engineering Major

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Environmental Engineering

1,712 Bachelor's Degrees Annually
919 Master's Degrees Annually
#136 in Popularity
$93,630 Median Salary

Types of Degrees Environmental Engineering Majors Are Getting

The following table lists how many environmental engineering graduations there were in 2018-2019 for each degree level.

Education Level Number of Grads
Bachelor’s Degree 1,712
Master’s Degree 919
Doctor’s Degree 188
Basic Certificate 18
Graduate Certificate 10
Associate’s Degree 3

What Environmental Engineering Majors Need to Know

O*NET surveyed people in occupations related to environmental engineering and asked them what knowledge areas, skills, and abilities were important for their jobs. The responses were rated on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being most important.

Knowledge Areas for Environmental Engineering Majors

This major prepares you for careers in which these knowledge areas are important:

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  • 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.
  • Design - Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.
  • Mathematics - Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • 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.

Skills for Environmental Engineering Majors

The following list of skills has been highlighted as some of the most essential for careers related to environmental engineering:

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  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • 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.
  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Writing - Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.

Abilities for Environmental Engineering Majors

As you progress with your environmental engineering degree, there are several abilities you should pick up that will help you in whatever related career you choose. These abilities include:

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  • Written Comprehension - The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
  • Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • 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.
  • Deductive Reasoning - The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.

What Can You Do With a Environmental Engineering Major?

People with a environmental engineering degree often go into the following careers:

Job Title Job Growth Rate Median Salary
Architectural and Engineering Managers 5.5% $140,760
Engineering Professors 14.7% $101,720
Environmental Engineers 8.4% $87,620
Fire-Prevention and Protection Engineers 8.5% $89,130
Industrial Safety and Health Engineers 8.5% $89,130
Product Safety Engineers 8.5% $89,130
Water/Wastewater Engineers 8.4% $87,620

Who Is Getting a Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Engineering?

1,712 Bachelor's Degrees Annually
50% Percent Women
27% Percent Racial-Ethnic Minorities
This is a less frequently chosen undergraduate major. Only 1,712 students graduated with a bachelor’s degree in environmental engineering in 2019, making it rank #136 in popularity. Roughly 50% of the graduates are women, and 50% are men.

Racial-Ethnic Diversity

At the countrywide level, the racial-ethnic distribution of environmental engineering majors is as follows:

Racial-Ethnic Diversity of Environmental Engineering Students with Bachelor's Degrees
Race/Ethnicity Number of Grads
Asian 145
Black or African American 39
Hispanic or Latino 208
White 1,081
International Students 126
Other Races/Ethnicities 113

Geographic Diversity

Americans aren’t the only ones with an interest in Environmental Engineering. About 7.4% of those with this major are international students. The most popular countries for students from outside the country are:

  • China
  • India
  • Kuwait
  • Iran
  • Saudi Arabia

How Much Do Environmental Engineering Majors Make?

Bachelor’s Degree Starting Salary

Data from the U.S. Department of Education shows that environmental engineering students who graduated in 2015-2017 with a bachelor’s degree made a median starting salary of $50,750 per year. During this timeframe, most salaries fell between $45,600 (25th percentile) and $55,975 (75th percentile).

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We don’t know for sure if all of these people took jobs related to environmental engineering so take that into consideration.

Salaries According to BLS

Average salaries range from $92,640 to $113,680 (25th to 75th percentile) for careers related to environmental engineering. This range includes all degree levels, so you may expect those with a more advanced degree to make more while those with less advanced degrees will typically make less.

To put that into context, according to BLS data from the first quarter of 2020, the typical high school graduate makes between $30,000 and $57,900 a year (25th through 75th percentile). The average person with a bachelor’s degree (any field) makes between $45,600 and $99,000. Advanced degree holders make the most with salaries between $55,600 and $125,400.

Median Salary for an Environmental Engineering Major  ( 92640 to 113680 )
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250K
Median Salary for a High School Graduate  ( 30000 to 57900 )
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250K
Median Salary for a Bachelor's Degree Holder  ( 45600 to 99000 )
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250K
Median Salary for an Advanced Degree Holder  ( 55600 to 125400 )
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250K

Some degrees associated with environmental engineering may require an advanced degree, while others may not even require a bachelor’s in the field. Whatever the case may be, pursuing more education usually means that more career options will be available to you.

Find out what the typical degree level is for environmental engineering careers below.

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Education Level Percentage of Workers
High School Diploma - or the equivalent (for example, GED) 1.0%
Post-Secondary Certificate - awarded for training completed after high school (for example, in agriculture or natural resources, computer services, personal or culinary services, engineering technologies, healthcare, construction trades, mechanic and repair technologies, or precision production) 1.5%
Some College Courses 2.1%
Associate’s Degree (or other 2-year degree) 2.9%
Bachelor’s Degree 57.8%
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate - awarded for completion of an organized program of study; designed for people who have completed a Baccalaureate degree but do not meet the requirements of academic degrees carrying the title of Master. 7.2%
Master’s Degree 19.7%
Post-Master’s Certificate - awarded for completion of an organized program of study; designed for people who have completed a Master’s degree but do not meet the requirements of academic degrees at the doctoral level. 2.5%
Doctoral Degree 5.3%
Post-Doctoral Training 1.4%

Online Environmental Engineering Programs

In 2018-2019, 151 schools offered a environmental engineering program of some type. The following table lists the number of programs by degree level, along with how many schools offered online courses in the field.

Degree Level Colleges Offering Programs Colleges Offering Online Classes
Certificate (Less Than 1 Year) 3 1
Certificate (1-2 years) 1 0
Certificate (2-4 Years) 0 0
Associate’s Degree 4 0
Bachelor’s Degree 8 1
Post-Baccalaureate 3 1
Master’s Degree 90 11
Post-Master’s 5 0
Doctor’s Degree (Research) 46 1
Doctor’s Degree (Professional Practice) 0 0
Doctor’s Degree (Other) 1 0

Is a Degree in Environmental Engineering Worth It?

The median salary for a environmental engineering grad is $93,630 per year. This is based on the weighted average of the most common careers associated with the major.

This is 135% more than the average salary for an individual holding a high school degree. This adds up to a gain of about $1,074,600 after 20 years!

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You may also be interested in one of the following majors related to environmental engineering.

Major Number of Grads
Mechanical Engineering 47,405
Electrical Engineering 31,384
Civil Engineering 21,938
Computer Engineering 15,891
Chemical Engineering 14,406
Biomedical Engineering 12,001
General Engineering 11,739
Industrial Engineering 9,410
Aerospace & Aeronautical Engineering 7,069
Materials Engineering 3,538
Systems Engineering 3,491
Other Engineering 2,982
Petroleum Engineering 2,269
Operations Research 1,745
Agricultural Engineering 1,554
Engineering Science 1,515
Architectural Engineering 1,019
Nuclear Engineering 1,014
Engineering Physics 979
Robotics Engineering 943
Manufacturing Engineering 932
Construction Engineering 865
Marine Engineering 481
Geoscience Engineering 424
Polymer & Plastics Engineering 387
Biological Engineering 374
Textile Engineering 366
Ocean Engineering 346
Mining Engineering 340
Engineering Mechanics 314
Metallurgical Engineering 235
Biochemical Engineering 118
Ceramic Engineering 101
Surveying Engineering 89
Electromechanical Engineering 65
Forest Engineering 52
Paper Science & Engineering 44
Engineering Chemistry 9

References

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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