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Environmental Engineering Major

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Environmental Engineering

1,611 Bachelor's Degrees Annually
950 Master's Degrees Annually
#138 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 2017-2018 for each degree level.

Education Level Number of Grads
Bachelor’s Degree 1,611
Master’s Degree 950
Doctor’s Degree 165
Graduate Certificate 17
Basic Certificate 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

A major in environmental engineering prepares you for careers in which the following skill-sets are crucial:

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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

A major in environmental engineering will prepare for your careers in which the following abilities are important:

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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?

Below is a list of occupations associated with environmental engineering:

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?

1,611 Bachelor's Degrees Annually
48% Percent Women
25% Percent Racial-Ethnic Minorities
This is a less frequently chosen undergraduate major. Only 1,611 students graduated with a bachelor’s degree in environmental engineering in 2018, making it rank #138 in popularity. According to recent stats this major attracts about equal numbers of men and women. Roughly 48% of the graduates are women, and 52% 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 105
Black or African American 45
Hispanic or Latino 198
White 1,035
International Students 128
Other Races/Ethnicities 100

Geographic Diversity

Environmental Engineering appeals to people across the globe. About 7.9% 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

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

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It’s important to note that just because the people reporting these salaries have a degree in environmental engineering, it does not mean that they are working in a job related to their degree.

Salaries According to BLS

Environmental Engineering majors often go into careers where salaries can range from $92,640 to $113,680 (25th to 75th percentile). This range includes all degree levels, so the salary for a person with just a bachelor’s degree may be a little less and the one for a person with an advanced degree may be a little more.

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 2017-2018, 147 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) 2 1
Certificate (1-2 years) 1 0
Certificate (2-4 Years) 0 0
Associate’s Degree 4 1
Bachelor’s Degree 7 2
Post-Baccalaureate 2 1
Master’s Degree 94 12
Post-Master’s 6 0
Doctor’s Degree (Research) 45 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 46,014
Electrical Engineering 31,993
Civil Engineering 21,299
Computer Engineering 15,329
Chemical Engineering 14,729
Biomedical Engineering 11,483
General Engineering 11,245
Industrial Engineering 9,714
Aerospace & Aeronautical Engineering 6,315
Materials Engineering 3,555
Systems Engineering 3,439
Other Engineering 2,900
Petroleum Engineering 2,818
Operations Research 1,555
Agricultural Engineering 1,546
Engineering Science 1,509
Nuclear Engineering 1,050
Engineering Physics 1,028
Manufacturing Engineering 920
Architectural Engineering 874
Construction Engineering 870
Robotics Engineering 755
Geoscience Engineering 510
Marine Engineering 506
Mining Engineering 434
Biological Engineering 400
Textile Engineering 359
Polymer & Plastics Engineering 348
Engineering Mechanics 329
Ocean Engineering 305
Metallurgical Engineering 218
Biochemical Engineering 124
Ceramic Engineering 111
Electromechanical Engineering 84
Surveying Engineering 73
Paper Science & Engineering 51
Forest Engineering 39
Engineering Chemistry 5

References

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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