How to become a Environmental Engineer

Environmental engineers are concerned with assessing and managing the effects of human and other activity on the natural and built environment. They apply their engineering knowledge and skills to such things as environmental impact assessment, natural resources management and pollution control.

Personal requirements of a Environmental Engineer

  • Enjoy technical and engineering activities
  • Willing to adhere to safety requirements
  • Able to identify, analyse and solve problems
  • Good oral and written communication skills
  • Enjoy computing and technical design
  • Practical and creative
  • Able to accept responsibility

Education & Training for a Environmental Engineer

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 Certificate of Education. Prerequisite subjects, or assumed knowledge, in one or more of English, mathematics, chemistry and physics are normally required. Most universities in Australia offer degrees in engineering with a major in environmental engineering. Universities have different prerequisites and some have flexible entry requirements or offer external study. Contact the institutions you are interested in for more information. For full details, refer to the entries on the website at or university handbooks.

Duties & Tasks of a Environmental Engineer

Environmental engineers may perform the following tasks:

  • research and develop new technologies and techniques to improve the environmental acceptability of engineering projects
  • evaluate environmental and social impacts of engineering projects in association with the public, scientists and other engineers
  • design and operate processes to treat waste to a standard acceptable for discharge and/or recycling (waste water treatment or waste solidification, for example)
  • work with occupational health experts to ensure a hazard-free working environment
  • prepare reports and studies on the best approach to environmental management in new and existing engineering projects, taking into account environmentally sustainable economic activity, as well as environmental and industrial factors
  • effectively communicate relevant issues to other technical staff, managers, regulatory authorities, public interest groups and the public.

Working conditions for a Environmental Engineer

They frequently work closely with other professionals, at times pooling expertise on particular projects. They may work in offices or outdoors when involved in construction projects.

Employment Opportunities for a Environmental Engineer

Environmental engineers may be employed with large construction and mining organisations, large forestry organisations, regulatory authorities and some government departments. Opportunities also exist for self-employment or work with consulting firms. With experience, and sometimes further training, it is possible to progress to local or corporate management roles.

Additional Information
Graduates may be eligible for membership of Engineers Australia. Visit their website for more details.
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