Is it worth earning higher than a bachelor's when pursuing a career in environmental engineering?
I plan to get a bachelor's degree in environmental engineering for sure, but would it be worth the time, money($40K/yr at the school I am looking at), and effort to work towards a master's or PhD?
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In my 42 years as a Civil Engineer, working almost exclusively for large consulting firms, my experience was somewhat different from that of Mr. Windeler (above). The Environmental Engineers that I encountered frequently had masters degrees. This is a complex field and such an advanced degree certainly enhances your career. It will definitely accelerate your salary, although I don't know if this will actually "pay" for the extra 12-18 months of graduate school. But if you want the best opportunities in this Field, I do not hesitate to recommend you get a masters degree.
It is common for engineers, a bit later in their careers (perhaps five years), to obtain an MBA and this would enhance your opportunity for project management and perhaps major partnership in an engineering firm.
Good luck, Pete Sturtevant, PE
I have a bachelor's and master's degree in Chemical Engineering. I would advise you to go for the master's degree! It only takes a couple of years and you will have more opportunities for higher-paying jobs when you get out. You will typically have to do graduate research and this is a good way to get some experience and expertise under your belt before you start looking for work. As for the doctoral degree, my observation has been that students who get PhDs are often interested in research (as opposed to industry) when they finish. If you are thinking about pursuing a career in research then this may be a valuable credential to have on your resume.