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Become A Senior Environmental Engineer

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Working As A Senior Environmental Engineer

  • Analyzing Data or Information
  • Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards
  • Getting Information
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Interacting With Computers
  • Deal with People

  • $74,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Senior Environmental Engineer Do

Environmental engineers use the principles of engineering, soil science, biology, and chemistry to develop solutions to environmental problems. They are involved in efforts to improve recycling, waste disposal, public health, and water and air pollution control. They also address global issues, such as unsafe drinking water, climate change, and environmental sustainability.

Duties

Environmental engineers typically do the following:

  • Prepare, review, and update environmental investigation reports
  • Design projects that lead to environmental protection, such as water reclamation facilities, air pollution control systems, and operations that convert waste to energy
  • Obtain, update, and maintain plans, permits, and standard operating procedures
  • Provide technical support for environmental remediation projects and for legal actions
  • Analyze scientific data and do quality-control checks
  • Monitor the progress of environmental improvement programs
  • Inspect industrial and municipal facilities and programs in order to ensure compliance with environmental regulations
  • Advise corporations and government agencies about procedures for cleaning up contaminated sites

Environmental engineers conduct hazardous-waste management studies in which they evaluate the significance of a hazard and advise on treating and containing it. They also design systems for municipal and industrial water supplies and industrial wastewater treatment, and research the environmental impact of proposed construction projects. Environmental engineers in government develop regulations to prevent mishaps.

Some environmental engineers study ways to minimize the effects of acid rain, climate change, automobile emissions, and ozone depletion. They also collaborate with environmental scientists, planners, hazardous waste technicians, and other engineers, as well as with specialists such as experts in law and business, to address environmental problems and environmental sustainability. For more information, see the job profiles on environmental scientists and specialists, hazardous materials removal workers, lawyers, and urban and regional planners.

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How To Become A Senior Environmental Engineer

Environmental engineers must have a bachelor’s degree in environmental engineering or a related field, such as civil, chemical, or general engineering. Employers also value practical experience. Therefore, cooperative engineering programs, in which college credit is awarded for structured job experience, are valuable as well.

Education

Entry-level environmental engineering jobs require a bachelor’s degree. Programs include classroom, laboratory, and field studies. Some colleges and universities offer cooperative programs in which students gain practical experience while completing their education.

At some colleges and universities, a student can enroll in a 5-year program that leads to both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree. A graduate degree allows an engineer to work as an instructor at some colleges and universities or to do research and development, and some employers prefer candidates to have a master’s degree.

Students interested in becoming an environmental engineer should take high school courses in chemistry, biology, physics, and math, including algebra, trigonometry, and calculus.

Many engineering programs are accredited by ABET. Some employers prefer to hire candidates who have graduated from an accredited program. A degree from an ABET-accredited program is usually necessary for a person to become a licensed professional engineer.

Important Qualities

Imagination. Environmental engineers sometimes have to design systems that will be part of larger ones. They must be able to foresee how the proposed designs will interact with other components of the larger system, including the workers, machinery, and equipment, as well as with the environment.

Interpersonal skills. Environmental engineers must be able to work with others toward a common goal. They usually work with engineers and scientists who design other systems and with the technicians and mechanics who put the designs into practice.

Problem-solving skills. When designing facilities and processes, environmental engineers strive to solve several issues at once, from workers’ safety to environmental protection. They must be able to identify and anticipate problems in order to prevent losses for their employers, safeguard workers’ health, and mitigate environmental damage.

Reading skills. Environmental engineers often work with businesspeople, lawyers, and other professionals outside their field. They frequently are required to read and understand documents with topics outside their scope of training.

Writing skills. Environmental engineers must be able to write clearly so that others without their specific training can understand their plans, proposals, specifications, findings, and other documents.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Licensure is not required for entry-level positions as an environmental engineer. A Professional Engineering (PE) license, which allows for higher levels of leadership and independence, can be acquired later in one’s career. Licensed engineers are called professional engineers (PEs). A PE can oversee the work of other engineers, sign off on projects, and provide services directly to the public. State licensure generally requires

  • A degree from an ABET-accredited engineering program
  • A passing score on the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam
  • Relevant work experience, typically at least 4 years
  • A passing score on the Professional Engineering (PE) exam

The initial FE exam can be taken after one earns a bachelor’s degree. Engineers who pass this exam are commonly called engineers in training (EITs) or engineer interns (EIs). After meeting work experience requirements, EITs and EIs can take the second exam, called the Principles and Practice of Engineering.

Several states require continuing education in order for engineers to keep their licenses. Most states recognize licensure from other states if the licensing state’s requirements meet or exceed their own requirements.

After licensing, environmental engineers can earn board certification from the American Academy of Environmental Engineers and Scientists. This certification shows that an environmental engineer has expertise in one or more areas of specialization.

Advancement

As beginning engineers gain knowledge and experience, they move on to more difficult projects and they have greater independence to develop designs, solve problems, and make decisions. Eventually, environmental engineers may advance to become technical specialists or to supervise a team of engineers and technicians.

Some may even become engineering managers or move into executive positions, such as program managers. However, before assuming a managerial position, an engineer most often works under the supervision of a more experienced engineer. For more information, see the profile on architectural and engineering managers.

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Senior Environmental Engineer Career Paths

Senior Environmental Engineer
Environmental Manager Environmental Health Safety Manager EHS Manager
HSE Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Environmental Manager Senior Project Manager Operations Director
Director Of Continuous Improvement
14 Yearsyrs
Environmental Manager Senior Project Manager Assistant Vice President
Compliance Director
12 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Director Nursing Director
Health Director
9 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Development Manager Engineering Manager
Engineering Operations Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Owner Project Superintendent
Project Engineering Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Environmental Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Environmental Health Safety Manager Compliance Manager
Regulatory Compliance Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Senior Engineer Senior Project Engineer Senior Process Engineer
Process Engineering Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Senior Engineer
Engineering Supervisor
6 Yearsyrs
Senior Engineer Engineering Supervisor
Manufacturing Engineering Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Environmental Health Safety Manager Facilities Manager Facilities Maintenance Manager
Plant Engineering Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Senior Project Engineer Engineering Manager Quality Manager
Process Improvement Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Senior Project Engineer Senior Process Engineer
Engineering Group Leader
7 Yearsyrs
Manager, Environmental And Safety Safety Manager Compliance Manager
Corporate Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Manager Food And Beverage Manager Housekeeping Manager
Manager Of Environmental Services
9 Yearsyrs
Senior Process Engineer Staff Engineer Section Manager
Manager Of Engineering Department
7 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as a Senior Environmental Engineer?

Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Top Careers Before Senior Environmental Engineer
Engineer 4.9%
Manager 2.1%
Chemist 1.9%
Top Careers After Senior Environmental Engineer
Consultant 3.6%
Manager 3.6%

Do you work as a Senior Environmental Engineer?

Average Yearly Salary
$74,000
Show Salaries
$54,000
Min 10%
$74,000
Median 50%
$74,000
Median 50%
$74,000
Median 50%
$74,000
Median 50%
$74,000
Median 50%
$74,000
Median 50%
$74,000
Median 50%
$101,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Microsoft
Highest Paying City
Fremont, CA
Highest Paying State
District of Columbia
Avg Experience Level
5.4 years
How much does a Senior Environmental Engineer make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Senior Environmental Engineer in the United States is $74,396 per year or $36 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $54,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $101,000.

Real Senior Environmental Engineer Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
SR. Environmental Engineer Project Manager Clean Earth Inc. Hatboro, PA Aug 30, 2010 $125,000
Senior Environmental Engineer Equistar Chemicals, LP Westlake, LA Jan 27, 2014 $124,800
Senior Environmental Engineer Equistar Chemicals, LP Westlake, LA Sep 18, 2012 $111,134
Senior Environmental Engineer Arcadis U.S., Inc. Walnut Creek, CA Jul 03, 2016 $107,016
Senior Environmental Engineer IV Aecom Technical Services, Inc. Piscataway, NJ Sep 29, 2014 $104,000
Senior Environmental Engineer Life Cycle Associates, LLC Portola Valley, CA Oct 01, 2009 $100,322
Senior Environmental Engineer Life Cycle Associates, LLC Portola Valley, CA Aug 26, 2009 $100,322
Senior Environmental Engineer Kennedy/Jenks Consultants, Inc. Urban Honolulu, HI Sep 15, 2012 $99,493 -
$147,076
Senior Environmental Engineer Worleyparsons Group, Inc. Costa Mesa, CA Oct 09, 2016 $97,344
Senior Environmental Engineer Larry Walker Associates, Incorporated Davis, CA Jun 29, 2016 $97,053
Senior Environmental Engineer Parsons Environment and Infrastructure Group, Inc. Linden, NJ May 18, 2015 $95,000 -
$110,000
SR. Environmental Engineer Phillips 66 Company Houston, TX Oct 13, 2014 $94,400 -
$141,600
SR. Environmental Engineer/Consultant Trinity Consultants, Inc. Houston, TX Feb 06, 2013 $90,000
SR. Environmental Engineer/Consultant Trinity Consultants, Inc. Houston, TX Jan 30, 2012 $90,000
Senior Environmental Engineer Freeport Minerals Corporation Bisbee, AZ Sep 16, 2016 $90,000
SR. Environmental, Health & Safety Engineer Tesla Motors, Inc. Fremont, CA Oct 01, 2014 $90,000 -
$110,000
Senior Environmental Engineer Barrick Cortez Inc. Crescent Valley, NV Oct 01, 2012 $89,998
Senior Environmental Engineer Barrick Gold U.S. Inc. Crescent Valley, NV Oct 01, 2012 $89,998
SR. Environmental Engineer Freeport-McMoran Morenci Inc. Morenci, AZ Apr 04, 2016 $89,800
Senior Engineer II-Environmental AMEC Foster Wheeler Environment & Infrastructure, Inc. San Diego, CA Feb 09, 2016 $86,424 -
$106,001
Senior Engineer II-Environmental AMEC Foster Wheeler Environment & Infrastructure, Inc. San Diego, CA Jun 30, 2016 $86,424 -
$106,001
Senior Environmental Engineer Arcadis U.S., Inc. San Jose, CA Feb 15, 2013 $85,925
SR. Environmental Engineer Arcadis U.S., Inc. Novi, MI Apr 09, 2012 $85,800
SR. Environmental Health & Safety Engineer Tesla Motors, Inc. Fremont, CA Aug 19, 2013 $85,000 -
$100,000
Senior Environmental Engineer Laird Coatings Corporation Huntington Beach, CA Oct 16, 2014 $85,000
Senior Engineer-Environmental Becton, Dickinson and Company Franklin Lakes, NJ Oct 01, 2010 $85,000
SR. Environmental Engineer Gunda Corporation, LLC Houston, TX Dec 18, 2016 $84,240

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Top Skills for A Senior Environmental Engineer

  1. Environmental Compliance
  2. Ensure Compliance
  3. Safety Program
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Performed audits throughout corporation to assure environmental compliance as part of an environmental audit team.
  • Work with corporate and site environmental health and safety personnel to ensure compliance with environmental health and safety requirements.
  • Assigned to Quality Team for operations to interface safety programs into operation groups.
  • Managed regulatory reporting, documentation, hazardous materials/hazardous waste programs and served as environmental compliance subject matter expert.
  • Evaluated the consolidation of several geographically separated leased spaces into a single headquarters facility in a city environment.

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Top 10 Best States for Senior Environmental Engineers

  1. District of Columbia
  2. Idaho
  3. California
  4. Washington
  5. Alaska
  6. South Dakota
  7. Oregon
  8. Nevada
  9. New Hampshire
  10. Louisiana
  • (161 jobs)
  • (51 jobs)
  • (2,095 jobs)
  • (427 jobs)
  • (32 jobs)
  • (34 jobs)
  • (165 jobs)
  • (76 jobs)
  • (129 jobs)
  • (98 jobs)

Senior Environmental Engineer Demographics

Gender

Male

67.1%

Female

24.4%

Unknown

8.5%
Ethnicity

White

61.0%

Hispanic or Latino

11.8%

Black or African American

11.1%

Asian

10.9%

Unknown

5.1%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

50.0%

Russian

12.5%

French

8.3%

Portuguese

4.2%

Bulgarian

4.2%

Chinese

4.2%

German

4.2%

Japanese

4.2%

Mandarin

4.2%

Irish

4.2%
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Senior Environmental Engineer Education

Schools

Pennsylvania State University

10.0%

Purdue University

8.7%

North Carolina State University

6.7%

Georgia Institute of Technology -

6.7%

New Jersey Institute of Technology

6.7%

Texas A&M University

6.0%

Auburn University

5.3%

Tulane University

4.7%

Drexel University

4.7%

Columbia Southern University

4.7%

Michigan Technological University

4.0%

University of Puerto Rico - Mayaguez

4.0%

University of Phoenix

4.0%

Michigan State University

4.0%

University of Kentucky

3.3%

Boston University

3.3%

Colorado School of Mines

3.3%

State University of New York Buffalo

3.3%

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

3.3%

Iowa State University

3.3%
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Majors

Chemical Engineering

15.9%

Environmental Engineering

14.5%

Civil Engineering

13.0%

Environmental Science

11.1%

Business

9.2%

Environmental Control Technologies/Technicians

4.2%

Engineering

4.2%

Chemistry

3.8%

Mechanical Engineering

3.4%

Geology

3.3%

Public Health

3.1%

Biology

2.7%

Management

1.9%

Occupational Safety And Health

1.9%

Engineering And Industrial Management

1.7%

Law

1.7%

Mathematics

1.3%

Industrial Engineering

1.1%

Geological Engineering

1.0%

Petroleum Engineering

1.0%
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Degrees

Bachelors

41.1%

Masters

40.4%

Other

8.6%

Doctorate

5.2%

Certificate

2.4%

Associate

2.1%

Diploma

0.3%
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