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Top 8 reasons to pursue an environmental engineering degree

In today's world, we live with the threat of climate change hanging over our heads. People who work in environmental engineering tackle the environmental crisis head-on every day. The work they do can be life-changing for millions of people.

Environmental engineers use their broad knowledge of waste management, engineering, and the sciences, such as chemistry, biology, and soil science, to improve human and ecological health through innovation and technology.

Protect the environment for future generations with an environmental engineering degree from Central Michigan University. 


And if that isn't a good enough reason to pursue a degree in this field, we have eight more for you. So why is an environmental engineering degree a good career choice?

What is an environmental engineer?

An environmental engineer is an engineering professional who protects people from the effects of an increasingly unstable and unpredictable environment. They work to eliminate pollution, improve recycling and waste disposal efforts, and provide clean water to communities.


Ever since civilization began settling down in single places, the need to manage waste has been an issue. As cities began to emerge, environmental problems increased to include providing clean water, disposing of solid waste and dealing with sewage. Add to these concerns issues of food growth, such as air quality and soil contamination, and you begin to get a picture of environmental engineers' challenges.

Environmental engineers investigate water, soil and air pollution and devise technical solutions to control these issues. At the same time, they must keep legislative, economic, social, and political concerns in mind.

The goal is to ensure the long-term viability of societal development and the use of water, land, and air resources. This is accomplished by managing these resources to minimize environmental pollution and degradation. To do this, they must:

  • Plan and design water systems.
  • Develop wastewater treatment facilities.
  • Analyze surface and groundwater quality.
  • Design soil remediation systems.
  • Create plans for waste collection and disposal.
  • Reuse wastewater and sludge.

If you don't mind getting your hands dirty and want to help the environment, this might be your career.

Signs that you would be a great environmental engineer

The role of an environmental engineer is highly gratifying, but it takes a particular kind of person to excel in the position. So, what characteristics make someone an excellent environmental engineer candidate?

You have passion

Of course, you must be passionate about protecting the environment and the earth. But that passion must also translate into caring about people and communities. They are the ones that suffer the most from pollution and poor water supplies.

You have a love of science

To solve environmental problems, environmental engineers must apply biology and chemistry principles.

You're innovative

As the earth's problems worsen, innovative solutions become more critical. Environmental engineers need a creative mind and a healthy imagination. In addition, they must possess analytical thinking and problem-solving skills.

You're team-oriented

Environmental engineers make a difference, but they don't do it alone. Instead, they typically work with a team comprised of construction workers, ecological bioengineers, and public health professionals.

You're a good communicator

The solutions created by environmental engineers tend to be highly technical. Therefore, they need to be able to translate their instructions into a language everyone can understand.

You have technical skills

Environmental engineers often use technology to create designs. They will need to become proficient in software such as Autocad and SAS.

Even if you think you have the right characteristics to be successful as an environmental engineer, why should you pursue this career path?

8 reasons you should earn your degree in environmental engineering

If you are still waffling on this career choice, consider these reasons to get a degree in environmental engineering.

1. Environmental engineering is a growing field

Environmental engineers have been around for centuries and will be around for many more. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that the job outlook for this field is as fast as average from 2021 to 2031. As climate change continues to be a concern, the need for environmental engineers will likely continue to increase.

2. Environmental engineering offers a wide range of career options

The career options in this field have many applications designed to reduce waste and encourage positive relationships between manmade systems and nature. Environmental engineers work in:

  • Water treatment – Developing water treatment plants and solutions
  • Government – Working as environmental compliance specialists
  • Education – Educating people on the impact of climate change and what is causing it, the benefit of environmental engineering, and the skills necessary to do the job well
  • Construction – Working as land surveyors 
  • Transportation – Planning routes for vehicles to travel safely based on environmental factors.
  • Research and science – Working in the field as investigators in public health and for corporations.
  • Natural science – Analyzing ecosystems and factors affecting them
  • Civil design – Building infrastructures based on the environmental factors around them
  • Energy – Evaluating energy systems to determine their environmental impact.

It’s possible to find a job in just about any sector because most things impact or are impacted by the environment in some way.

3. Environmental engineering salaries are competitive

According to the BLS, environmental engineers make a competitive salary, with actual salaries impacted by various factors, including experience, education and location.

4. Environmental engineering is a challenging and rewarding field

Many people say they want a career that allows them to help people. As an environmental engineer, you’ll benefit not just individuals but whole communities, cities and the planet. What could be more satisfying? With climate change affecting the entire world, you could have a job that helps literally everyone.

5. Environmental engineering offers opportunities to travel

Environmental engineers work worldwide because problems exist everywhere. One day you may be analyzing a field in Kansas, and the next be studying what might be causing acid rain in China.You could find work almost anywhere.

6. Environmental engineering provides opportunities to make a difference

The environment provides essentials such as clean air and safe drinking water. Therefore, environmental engineering has a significant impact on people's daily lives. It aids in the provision of safe drinking water, the reduction of water pollution, and the facilitation of proper waste disposal.

Environmental engineers advise governments and private companies on managing waste, so it doesn’t pollute the environment. They examine waste generation per capita for a sample population living in a specific area and recommend waste collection, management, and disposal methods.

7. Environmental engineering is interdisciplinary

Environmental engineering uses the principles of biology, microbiology, engineering, chemistry, soil science, and environmental science to create solutions to people's daily problems. If you are struggling to choose between a favorite type of science, why not work in a field that connects them all in a way that helps others?

8. Environmental engineering will allow you to help protect our planet

As the climate continues to change, ecosystems and communities in the United States and worldwide are impacted. The seas are warming, the icebergs are melting, and the ocean levels are rising.

Climate change impacts different areas of society, and in culmination, they create a global issue. For example, drought has a catastrophic impact on food resources and causes health problems. Flooding spreads disease and damages natural and artificial infrastructure. The effects on humans can be severe health problems and even death.

Weather and climate put lives at risk. The heat warms the oceans, so hurricanes become stronger and wetter, leading to more damage and deaths. In other areas, dry conditions mean wildfires, threatening wildlife and communities.

Environmental engineers are creating technology to monitor and combat these changes and shape the world's response. These specialized engineers have numerous opportunities to work directly in the field of sustainability and contribute to climate change solutions.

Why study environmental engineering at CMU?

Once you know environmental engineering is the right career choice, the next step is finding a program. Central Michigan University offers a bachelor's degree in environmental engineering that will allow you to gain the knowledge you need to help others while you protect the environment.

The environmental engineering program allows you to explore, innovate, and solve some of the world's biggest problems. You can apply what you learn in the science and engineering courses to real-world scenarios. At Central Michigan University, we believe you learn best when you do. As an environmental engineering student, you will gain skills and laboratory experience to help you apply your learning in the real world.

Students who graduate from our program work in recycling, public health, waste disposal, and water pollution control. They are the future of water management, climate change solutions, and environmental sustainability.

If you are considering a degree in environmental engineering, check out the program at Central Michigan University today. Then, request information to get started in a career that is both interesting and essential.

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