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Environmental Engineer Salary
Some of the most lucrative jobs coming out of college are in the sciences, especially those with require a talent in a specific scientific field. Environmental engineering careers tend to be lucrative, because they require workers who are competent in several different areas of science. Because of their specialization, as well as the evolving ecological awareness in society, environmental engineering is a rapidly expanding field that offers its workers an excellent environmental engineer salary.
Environmental engineers in spend their time identifying, assessing, and resolving environmental issues. They work for businesses, governments, and industries to mitigate negative environmental consequence. They work with projects that deal with land, air, and water systems and they must be able to consider the short-term and long-term effects of a proposed project. They also must ensure conformance to state and federal laws.
There are many specializations within the field of environmental engineering. For example, hazardous waste management is a field of environmental engineering which every town and city needs. These engineers assess city needs, design waste collection and disposal systems, develop regulations to prevent accidents or infections, and spend time advising policymakers and businesses on best practices. Other fields deal with watersheds, industrial wastewater treatment systems, hazardous waste-management, hydrology, and air pollution. These areas of expertise are common in most areas of the world and are often very stable and rewarding careers.
Less common environmental engineering careers are typically more specialized, but may be equally essential. For example, environmental chemical engineers may focus on advanced air and water treatment technologies and separation processes. This is highly specific, but important for wastewater management. Other fields that might fall under the specialized category are those that research global warming, climatology, and bioremediation. Each environmental engineer salary is largely dependent on the field of expertise. Other salary considerations include location, experience, education, and employer.
Environmental Engineer Salary and Job Expectations
An environmental engineer salary in the United States is well above average and continues to grow. Most websites and indexes agree that the average salary is about 80K, with an annual median salary of around 74K. However, a standard salary may range anywhere from 40K to 100K. Most of this derives from wages, while a small portion comes from bonuses and profit sharing. In 2008, the lowest 10% of environmental engineers earned less than 45K, while the highest 10% earned more than 115K. These indexes make clear that an environmental engineering career is very financially rewarding. It also reveals that there is significant room for advancement within the field.
An environmental engineer salary depends on experience, education, and performance. As an environmental engineer gains more experience in the field, he or she may expect significant pay raises. Data from payscale.com concerning environmental engineers in 2011 reveals that with 1-4 years of experience, a worker’s median salary may be expected to rise by 4K- 7K a year. By the time they have had 5-9 years of experience, it has risen an additional 8K- 11K annually.
The data also reveals that an environmental engineer salary can vary significantly between fields and industries. For example, the average chemical process engineer in 2011 made 93K, as opposed to an average petroleum engineer who made 77K. Meanwhile, the average energy conservation engineer in 2011 made 109K and the average engineer principal made more than 130K. Each of these specializations represents good jobs in the industry, but clearly, there is some variation in compensation based on the difficulty of the job and seniority in the field.
Things to think about when looking at the Environmental Engineer Salary
Overall, an environmental engineer salary gives you the freedom to pursue your interests and still find a stable, rewarding career. In fact, many environmental engineers are able to find a market niche, which allows them to run their own company and set their own hours and wages. Even government jobs, which may not offer better wages than the private sector, give you the opportunity to participate in policy and decision making that has significant ramifications for your community and state. Environmental engineers are often the most passionate about their trade and for years have adequately protected both the community and the environment from negative practices.