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Become A Water Engineer

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Working As A Water Engineer

  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Getting Information
  • Analyzing Data or Information
  • Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards
  • Mostly Sitting

  • $78,930

    Average Salary

What Does A Water 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 Water 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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Water Engineer Jobs

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Water Engineer Demographics

Gender

Male

79.8%

Female

15.8%

Unknown

4.4%
Ethnicity

White

52.1%

Black or African American

13.1%

Asian

13.0%

Hispanic or Latino

12.7%

Unknown

9.0%
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Languages Spoken

French

33.3%

German

22.2%

Spanish

11.1%

Japanese

11.1%

Hebrew

11.1%

Arabic

11.1%
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Water Engineer Education

Schools

Purdue University

12.5%

Richmond Community College

8.3%

University of Utah

8.3%

Western Washington University

4.2%

El Paso Community College

4.2%

University of Colorado at Boulder

4.2%

University of Connecticut

4.2%

University of Florida

4.2%

Sullivan University

4.2%

Western Oregon University

4.2%

Bucknell University

4.2%

Indiana Institute of Technology

4.2%

University of Massachusetts - Lowell

4.2%

University of Massachusetts Amherst

4.2%

New Jersey Institute of Technology

4.2%

University of Tennessee - Knoxville

4.2%

More Tech Institute

4.2%

Clarkson University

4.2%

Saint Mary's University of Minnesota

4.2%

University of Texas at Austin

4.2%
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Majors

Civil Engineering

29.2%

Environmental Engineering

12.5%

Mechanical Engineering

11.1%

Engineering

5.6%

Environmental Control Technologies/Technicians

4.2%

Business

4.2%

Criminal Justice

4.2%

Agricultural Engineering

2.8%

Management

2.8%

Biology

2.8%

Geology

2.8%

Surveying, Mapping, And Hydraulic Technologies

2.8%

Sustainability

2.8%

Chemical Engineering

2.8%

Accounting

2.8%

Sociology

1.4%

Occupational Safety And Health

1.4%

Drafting And Design

1.4%

Public Health

1.4%

Architectural Technology

1.4%
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Degrees

Bachelors

37.8%

Masters

28.9%

Other

14.4%

Doctorate

11.1%

Associate

5.6%

Certificate

1.1%

Diploma

1.1%
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Real Water Engineer Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Waterflood Optimization Engineer Chevron Corporation Houston, TX Jul 24, 2016 $143,300
Waterflood Engineer Chevron Corporation Houston, TX Sep 12, 2011 $125,200
Senior Water Engineer Carollo Engineers, Inc. Walnut Creek, CA Jan 01, 2016 $125,000
Water Engineer 3 Ch2M Hill, Inc. Houston, TX Feb 19, 2015 $121,035
Principal Water Engineer GHD Inc. Irvine, CA Dec 15, 2011 $113,500 -
$215,000
Principal Water Engineer GHD Inc. Irvine, CA Dec 14, 2013 $113,500 -
$215,000
Water Reuse Engineer Carollo Engineers, Inc. Boise, ID Jul 06, 2015 $95,004
Water Engineer 3 Ch2M Hill, Inc. Santa Ana, CA Oct 01, 2012 $93,457
Water Engineer 2 Ch2M Hill Engineers, Inc. San Francisco, CA Sep 21, 2015 $91,600
Water Engineer 2 Ch2M Hill Engineers, Inc. San Francisco, CA Oct 01, 2015 $91,600
Water Engineer 3 Ch2M Hill Engineers, Inc. Sacramento, CA Aug 01, 2011 $89,702 -
$117,420
Water Engineer 3 Ch2M Hill Engineers, Inc. Sacramento, CA Jan 01, 2012 $89,702 -
$117,420
Water Engineer 4 Ch2M Hill Engineers, Inc. Tempe, AZ Oct 01, 2014 $89,275
Water Engineer 3 Ch2M Hill Engineers, Inc. Sacramento, CA Dec 01, 2014 $86,466
Water Engineer 3 Ch2M Hill, Inc. Redding, CA Jan 20, 2013 $86,146
Water Engineer 3 Ch2M Hill, Inc. Sacramento, CA Jun 20, 2014 $85,843
Water Engineer 3 Ch2M Hill, Inc. Santa Ana, CA May 15, 2012 $85,330
Water Engineer 3 Ch2M Hill, Inc. Santa Ana, CA May 15, 2012 $85,329
Water Engineer 3 Ch2M Hill, Inc. Houston, TX Jan 10, 2016 $85,296
Water Engineer 3 Ch2M Hill Engineers, Inc. Redding, CA Dec 21, 2011 $83,637
Water Engineer 3 Ch2M Hill, Inc. Cincinnati, OH Apr 22, 2015 $82,821
Water Engineer 3 Ch2M Hill Engineers, Inc. Salt Lake City, UT Mar 31, 2012 $73,000
Water Engineer 3 Ch2M Hill Engineers, Inc. Tempe, AZ Dec 24, 2011 $72,850
Water Engineer Ch2M Hill, Inc. Tempe, AZ Sep 08, 2011 $72,850
Water Engineer Ch2M Hill, Inc. Sacramento, CA Sep 13, 2011 $72,797
Water Engineer 3 Ch2M Hill, Inc. Redding, CA Sep 26, 2011 $72,615 -
$112,128
Water Engineer 3 Ch2M Hill Engineers, Inc. Chicago, IL Jul 12, 2012 $71,640

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Top Skills for A Water Engineer

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  1. Plant Operations
  2. Water Samples
  3. Wastewater Treatment Facility
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Chaired the Technical Area Safety Team (Engineering, Laboratory and HSE personnel).
  • Executed daily operations of unclogging sewer lines, cleaning and maintain manholes.
  • Designed and built the Hydro-Ram pump infrastructure to raise 10,500 gallons of water 330 feet in elevation every 24 hours.
  • Develop ACAD drawings of storm water filters as well as implement our products into city plans
  • Maintained water distribution system for any interruptions of flow to public drinking water.

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