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What Are the Necessary Qualifications to Become an Environmental Engineer?

An environmental engineer’s job is crucial, especially in this day and age. With more and more unnatural disasters – disasters caused or brought on by human negligence – like oil spills, chemical leaks, and power plant melt downs, an environmental engineer is usually brought in to rectify the situation and provide solutions so that it doesn’t happen in the future. Many of these environmental disasters don’t just effect humans, but also animal life, plant life, the atmosphere, and of course the future generations of all of the above. If you want to become part of the solution and not the problem, perhaps the best job for you would be an environmental engineer. Here are some of the necessary qualifications to become an environmental engineer.

First, you need to earn a bachelor’s degree from a four year accredited university. The more science and math oriented the college, the better your chances of landing a higher paying or more competitive position. While in college you will to study mathematics, biology, science, ethics and, of course, introductory classes on engineering. Because environmental engineers are constantly working with pollutants that affect the earth’s atmosphere, focusing on chemistry is a very good idea. So strap on your goggles and get ready to fire up a few Bunsen burners.

Next, it is important that you have real world experience in the field. There are many internship programs or summer courses that you can take that will give you the opportunity to work directly with experienced environmental engineers. This is crucial to becoming an engineer yourself, because you want to know all the ins and the outs of the industry. You also want to know the technical side of environmental engineering. You might be spending long hours logging research into spreadsheets, but when you actually go looking for a position all your hard work will definitely pay off.

It might also be wise to get an internship, an apprenticeship or a part-time job at a real environmental engineering firm. There are a lot of companies that have space available for positions where you have hands-on experience working with energy saving products, coming up with solutions to better protect our environment, and, yes, more hours logging information. Environmental engineering is all about making sure that all the data adds up. You might be spending a certain amount of time in the field, but you will also be in front of a computer calculating cold, hard data.

Lastly, you want to get your certification. Your certification is simply a licensure procedure that gives you the legal capability to become a practicing environmental engineer in your state. With your test comes a mandatory 40-hour long class that goes over all the safety precautions and the risks of many chemicals in relation to human and animal exposure, CPR techniques and even first aid. When it comes to becoming an environmental engineer, you want to both be incredibly knowledgeable in the field, but you also want to know how to protect yourself or a coworker in the event of a disaster. Would you know what to do if you found yourself in the middle of a power plant melt down?

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