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Environmental Engineering Major

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Environmental Engineering

919 Master's Degrees Annually
188 Doctor's Degrees Annually
#117 in Popularity (Master's)
$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
Master’s Degree 919
Doctor’s Degree 188
Graduate Certificate 10

What Environmental Engineering Majors Need to Know

People with careers related to environmental engineering were asked what knowledge areas, skills, and abilities were important for their jobs. They weighted these areas on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being the highest.

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

When studying environmental engineering, you’ll learn many skills that will help you be successful in a wide range of jobs - even those that do not require a degree in the field. The following is a list of some of the most common skills needed for careers associated with this major:

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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 a environmental engineering major, you will find yourself needing the following abilities:

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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 Master’s Degree in Environmental Engineering?

919 Master's Degrees Annually
48% Percent Women
19% Percent Racial-Ethnic Minorities*
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 Master's Degrees
Race/Ethnicity Number of Grads
Asian 59
Black or African American 29
Hispanic or Latino 64
White 341
International Students 377
Other Races/Ethnicities 49

Geographic Diversity

Americans aren’t the only ones with an interest in Environmental Engineering. About 41.0% 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?

Master’s Degree Starting Salary

The median early-career salary of environmental engineering students with a master’s degree is $67,000 a year according to 2017-2018 data from the U.S. Department of Education. During this timeframe, most salaries fell between $65,250 (25th percentile) and $72,750 (75th percentile).

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It is possible that some of these people may have taken positions that were not related to environmental engineering.

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 careers associated with environmental engineering require an advanced degree while some may not even require a bachelor’s. In general, the more advanced your degree the more career options will open up to you. However, there is significant time and money that needs to be invested into your education so weigh the pros and cons.

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 the 2018-2019 academic year, 151 schools offered some type of environmental engineering program. 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
Electrical Engineering 12,934
Mechanical Engineering 9,668
Civil Engineering 6,961
Computer Engineering 5,021
Biomedical Engineering 4,057
General Engineering 3,449
Industrial Engineering 3,359
Chemical Engineering 2,897
Systems Engineering 2,639
Aerospace & Aeronautical Engineering 2,163
Materials Engineering 1,863
Other Engineering 1,859
Operations Research 1,273
Petroleum Engineering 537
Engineering Science 451
Nuclear Engineering 440
Manufacturing Engineering 412
Agricultural Engineering 338
Robotics Engineering 333
Construction Engineering 312
Engineering Physics 282
Architectural Engineering 247
Polymer & Plastics Engineering 205
Geoscience Engineering 176
Engineering Mechanics 168
Ocean Engineering 154
Mining Engineering 142
Textile Engineering 106
Biological Engineering 63
Metallurgical Engineering 51
Marine Engineering 48
Ceramic Engineering 30
Surveying Engineering 21
Electromechanical Engineering 17
Paper Science & Engineering 9
Biochemical Engineering 6
Forest Engineering 0

References

*The racial-ethnic minorities count is calculated by taking the total number of students and subtracting white students, international students, and students whose race/ethnicity was unknown. This number is then divided by the total number of students at the school to obtain the racial-ethnic minorities percentage.

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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