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I want to be an environmental engineer. What information can you give me about environmental engineering, and what can I do in high school to help me achieve my goal?

Hello!
I want to pursue a career in environmental engineering, and I want to be as prepared as possible for college. Is there anything that is very important for me to make sure I do while in high school? I'm in honors/AP courses and plan to take AP Environmental Science next school year (I'm a sophomore now). I'm also involved in two clubs that relate to environmental science. Would you recommend taking classes at a junior college or trying to get an internship during the summer? What else can I do? What other information can you give me about preparing for a career in environmental engineering?
Thank you! #degree #environmental

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Daniela’s Answer

Hi Mae,


Students who are interested in pursuing a degree in engineering can prepare for the application process as early as middle school. By selecting a variety of science, mathematics, and engineering-related course work and participating in programs and projects that expose students to engineering concepts, students will have advanced exposure to university level work.


While in middle and high school, students interested in engineering should consider taking accelerated courses in several of the following subjects.


Algebra II
Biology
Calculus
Chemistry
Computer Science
Language Arts
Precalculus
Physics
Second Language
Trigonometry


Pre-University students should take as many math and science courses as possible, both during school and as part of after-school programs. Students aged 5-9 should do additional math, puzzles, and building or design projects. Students aged 9-12 should take extra math, and if inspired, explore pre-algebra and geometry. Students aged 12-18 might consider taking advanced algebra, chemistry, calculus, geometry, trigonometry, physics, building, design, and engineering concept courses.


A bachelor's degree in environmental engineering is required to gain employment as an environmental engineer. The bachelor's degree emphasizes math and science courses as well as classes specific to the environmental engineering field. Examples of these courses are air pollution engineering, environmental risk assessment, and principles of environmental engineering.


A bachelor's degree in environmental engineering typically takes five years to complete, though some students may be able to complete it in four.


In: http://tryengineering.org/explore-engineering/become-engineer


http://tryengineering.org/become-an-engineer/environmental-engineering


http://www.worldwidelearn.com/online-education-guide/engineering/environmental-engineering-major.htm


Best of Luck!

Thank you comment icon Thank you so much for your response! This is very helpful. Mae
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Sean’s Answer

Mae,


Daniela and Marina have both given some very good advice.


If you are taking AP and honors courses in math and science you should be pretty prepared for the academics. Unless you can confirm 100% that junior college classes will be accepted by the college you go to they may not be the best use of your time and money. From my experience it would be more appealing to a college to see that you were a leader in one of your clubs and you did something that had a meaningful impact than taking a coupe of college classes.


I would focus on exploring the different aspects of environmental engineering as Marina mentioned. You can do this through an internship or even volunteering. Many local organizations have volunteer programs that are involved in watershed monitoring and clean up. Here is a link to one in Ohio as an example (http://www.noaca.org/modules/showdocument.aspx?documentid=469).


You have plenty of time to find the specific thing you want to do. Concentrate on meeting different people in the field and ask a lot of questions.


Hope this helps. Good Luck!!!

Thank you comment icon Thank you very much for your help! Mae
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Emile’s Answer

Hi Mae,


I have found that environmental engineering jobs are occupied by more than just environmentally trained professionals. Several people I know practicing as environmental engineers had degrees in other engineering courses like chemical and biological and others had degrees in biology, chemistry and toxicology. If I were going through my undergrad again, then I would probably do chemical engineering instead as it offers more difficult courses and more job options when you graduate. However, I am happy with were I am in my career, so I guess it all worked out.


Good luck and try to enjoy your time as much as possible without stressing too much about your future. Some of the smartest people I know have all said the one thing they regret the most is working too much, so don't forget about having fun.


Emile

Thank you comment icon Thank you very much for your help! Mae
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Vinay’s Answer

Congrats. You are already doing the right things and asking the right questions early on.
In addition to the above things, i would suggest that you do as much online research as possible.
Check out websites of environmental engineering programs at a few top schools ( MIT, Stanford, Chicago, etc). It will help you to get a taste of the coursework and pre-requisites.
Good Luck

Thank you comment icon Thank you so much for you help! Mae
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Marina’s Answer

Aside from all the great advice that Ms. Silva already provided to you, I would also recommend finding an internship during the summer, as you had mentioned in your question.


Keep in mind that Environmental Engineers work in various sectors, so it may also be a good idea to research those and even go as far as interviewing environmental engineers that have positions in the different sectors (from industry to public and non-profit), so you can get a better idea of what their job entails.


It sounds like you're really thinking ahead and are very motivated, so I have no doubt you'll be successful. I wish you the best of luck in pursuing your goals.

Thank you comment icon Thank you so much for your help! Mae
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