Why Get a Masters in Environmental Engineering

As more around the world are concerned with the impact we are having on our environment, there is more interest in the field of environmental engineering.

Environmental engineers use biological and chemical principles to devise new solutions to environmental problems that affect air, water, soil and other vital aspects of our world’s environment. In doing this vital work, they are able to play an active part in preserving the world for generations of the future.

Key players in the preservation of the environment are environmental engineers. These experts frequently conduct hazardous waste management research to evaluate the size of environmental hazards, to advise on how to contain and treat it, and to come up with effective regulations to prevent harm to the environment in the future.

Environmental engineers also are important for designing systems for the municipal water supply and industrial wastewater treatment systems. They also conduct original research on the impact that construction projects have on the environment.

Becoming an environmental engineer is a good career choice, which requires that you earn your master’s degree in environmental engineering. Earning your advanced degree will give you the credentials to work in these jobs:

  • Environmental engineer: These advanced professionals use soil science, engineering, chemistry and biology to devise new solutions to serious environmental issues. They work in recycling, disposal of waste, water and air pollution reduction, and public health. They also are key players in addressing global environmental issues such as climate change and safe drinking water.
  • Environmental scientist: Specialists who use their natural science and engineering knowledge to provide protection to human health and the environment. They often work on cleaning up areas that have industrial pollution. Also, these workers may provide environmental advice to legislators and policy makers, or work with industry players to cut down on waste.
  • Environmental science and protection technicians: Provide monitoring services of the environment and look into pollution sources and contamination. They especially focus on sources of pollution that can affect public health. Also, these technicians want to make certain that environmental violations occur as rarely as possible. These workers can often work for local and state governments, and they spend much time inspecting places of business to look at complaints of air, water and food quality violations. They also may work in consulting for private companies.

Why Earn a Master’s in Environmental Engineering?

There is more concern today by society about the quality of our environment. This concern is driving the need for more companies to be more responsible for how they treat the environment during the manufacturing process. It also is increasing the oversight of the local, state and federal governments to increase environmental protections for our air, water, soil and other natural resources.

These factors are increasing the need for many types of environmental professionals. The higher demand for these workers was seen recently in US News and World Report, which ranked the job of environmental engineer as one of the best jobs in America.

US News noted that the 10 year job growth for this occupation was nearly 22%, with top pay being more than $117,000 per year.

The magazine stated that air quality standards have gotten tougher, and demand is increasing for engineers to take careful samples of air, water and soil to design better treatment systems. Companies need to meet the tougher standards and they often hire consultants in environmental engineering.

Admission Requirements

Be prepared to meet these type of minimum requirements for admission into a master’s program in this field:

  • Bachelor of science in engineering or in a related field.
  • 0 GPA or higher required.
  • GRE scores are usually required, but some schools may not require the advanced GRE engineering test.
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Updated resume and engineering experience

Curriculum and Courses

An excellent option in this field is the Master of Science in Water Resources and Environmental Engineering from Villanova University. This program has been recognized across the world for its many cutting edge research opportunities, which can be found in the Villanova Center for Advancement of Sustainability in Engineering, and also in the Villanova Urban Stormwater Partnership.

This program also is proud of the distinguished leadership of Robert Traver, Ph.D., who is a highly respected stormwater expert, and is president of the American Academy of Water Resources Engineers.

This program requires you to complete at least 30 credit hours, and you must complete a minimum of 21 credits in civil and environmental engineering.

Your required courses in this program include:

  • Hazardous Waste Management
  • Fundamentals of Environmental Engineering Processes
  • Microbiology for Environmental Engineers
  • Fate and Transport of Contaminants
  • Environmental Compliance Systems
  • Principles of Sustainable Development
  • Biological Treatment Processes
  • Watershed Modeling
  • Environmental Fluids

Career Outcomes and Job Titles

Typical job titles in this field include:

  • Professor of Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Engineer
  • Junior Engineer
  • Environmental Technician

Job and Salary Outlook

  • Environmental Engineer — Employment in this field is expected to rise quickly – 12% by 2024. A leading reasons is that the concerns of state and local governments about water quality are causing them to increase how water use and quality is regulated. A large amount of growth in this field can be expected in scientific, professional and technical services. Governments often draw on employees in this sector to work on water quality issues. The federal government also has a mandate to clean up polluted sites. This will keep demand steady for the services of environmental engineers. The median salary in this field was $84,500 in 2015.
  • Environmental Science and Protection Technicians — Jobs will grow by 9% in this field by 2024, which is faster than average. There is more interest today in preventing hazards that are affecting the environment. One of these is fracking, and the other is the stresses being put on our environment from the growth of the world population. Most growth in this field will be in consulting services, as companies and government agencies contract with these professionals to address environmental concerns. The median salary is $43,000 per year.
  • Environmental Scientist — These scientists will experience an increase of job demand of 11% by 2024, which is faster than average. More businesses will be consulting with environmental scientists to minimize their effects on the environment. Companies are coming under increasing scrutiny to reduce the effects their operations have on our water, air and soil. Other scientists will be needed to assist planners and construction managers to build new utilities and buildings that meet stricter environmental regulations. Median salary is $67,000 per year.

Scholarships and Grants

Additional Resources

  • Environmental Defense Fund: This is one of the biggest environmental organizations in the world. It currently has more than two million members and a large staff of more than 500 scientists and policy experts.
  • National Audubon Society: This organization is dedicated to conserving and restoring our natural ecosystems. It focuses on birds wildlife, and their natural habitats, and to benefit humanity overall by preserving the biological diversity of the planet we all share.