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What careers are available for Environmental and Water Resources Engineering Master's degree?

I am currently an undergraduate in Civil Engineering and plan to get a Master's degree in EWRE.

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Peter’s Answer


I followed a very similar career path (as you intend to) in the 1970s. After graduating with a Bachelors Degree in Biology, I became very interested in the Field of Water Resources. I enrolled in a Masters Degree Program in the Civil Engineering Department of the University of Washington. I worked five quarters to earn my degree. This included a Thesis research project for which I wrote and defended a thesis paper. I very much recommend that you take the research paper route (as opposed to a mere examination) for your Masters Degree. Although more difficult, You gain very valuable experience in independent research and writing following this route. It also looks a lot better on your resume

Water Resources is a vast Field. It was in great demand when I started. If anything, there is an even greater need, currently. So I would expect that your employment opportunities after you earn your Masters Degree will be excellent. I spent most of my career working for large, national consulting firms. But another major career path is to work for state or regional governments in a Watershed Group. Good engineers are also in great demand for city and county public works departments.

My career experience included water supply studies, water quality sampling and analysis, flood control studies, water reuse evaluations, stream and river basin studies, water system design and stormwater drainage design. One of my favorite types of work were lake and stream restoration studies. Work I performed resulted in greatly improved water quality and aesthetics. I was also privileged to witness successful salmon spawning in degraded streams that we restored.

Environmental engineering can mean several things. It encompasses wastewater treatment (I did some of that). But it also includes remediation of contaminated industrial sites and all that entails. The latter had its heyday from about 1985-2010. But there are still active cleanup sites around the Country.

In closing, you can look forward to a varied and richly rewarding field of work in your future water resources career.

Pete Sturtevant, PE

Peter recommends the following next steps:

During your senior year, check out and apply to several good graduate schools.

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Ken’s Answer

Congratulations on being interested in becoming civil engineer. It takes a special person to enter this field and meet the demands which this career area presents. The first step is to get to know yourself to see if you share the personality traits which make engineers successful. The next step is doing networking to meet and talk to and possibly shadow engineers to see if this is something that you really want to do, as a career area could look much different on the inside than it looks from the outside.  

Ken recommends the following next steps:

The first step is to take an interest and aptitude test and have it interpreted by your school counselor to see if you share the personality traits necessary to enter the field.
Next, when you have the results of the testing, talk to the person at your high school and college who tracks and works with graduates to arrange to talk to, visit, and possibly shadow people doing what you think that you might want to do, so that you can get know what they are doing and how they got there. Here are some tips: ## ## ## ## ## ##
Locate and attend meetings of professional associations to which people who are doing what you think that you want to do belong, so that you can get their advice. These associations may offer or know of intern, coop, shadowing, and scholarship opportunities. These associations are the means whereby the professionals keep abreast of their career area following college and advance in their career. Here are some tips: ## ## ## ##
It is very important to express your appreciation to those who help you along the way to be able to continue to receive helpful information and to create important networking contacts along the way. Here are some good tips: ## ## ## ##
Here are a few sites that will help you to understand more fully the various areas in the vast field of engineering. ## ## ## ## ## ## ## ## ## ##