2 answers

Are there a lot of careers that take you out into the field in Environmental Engineering?

Asked Placerville, California

This is my intended major. #engineering #environmental-engineering

2 answers

Lynn’s Answer

Updated Pottstown, Pennsylvania

You will be out in the field quite a bit in the environmental business, especially early in your career. In my time, I've been into a great many industrial operations to inspect for air, water and waste regulatory compliance. At some of these sites, I would need to go up onto the roof to look are air pollution control equipment and I've even had to climb to near the top of some pretty high emissions stacks in order to do air sampling. Some projects have involved going to industrial facilities that have closed to determine what, if anything, needs to be done for cleaning up the site. And frequently, those jobs led to additional field work at the same sites, making sure the clean-up was done properly. Sometimes, I've even found myself wandering through the woods, looking for indications of environmental problems One company I worked for had people who went out onto rivers to collect samples of fish and river sediment for analysis.

If you want to be in the field a lot, you might also want to look at an environmental science degree or biology degree. Then you can walk around on properties looking for protected wetlands or determining what species of animals might be found on a given property.

If you want to be out in the field, rain or shine, hot or cold, in the snow or sometimes even on beautiful sunny days, you'll be able to find that kind of work in the environmental business

Lynn recommends the following next steps:

  • Here's a website for careers in the environmental sciences, in case you might want to consider something other than engineering https://www.environmentalscience.org

Mark’s Answer


If by going into the field you mean outside, and inside industrial facilities, then yes. As you probably understand, environmental engineers work at solving pollution problems that affect the land, air, and water so sampling activities and other types of measurements necessarily occur outside of the engineer's office. With that said, as your career progresses and you take on more management responsibilities, your time in the field will probably diminish as younger engineers assume those activities.