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Environmental Engineer

Environmental engineers have extensive knowledge of the natural sciences (chemistry, biology, and microbiology) and expertise in engineering. They use this to design municipal and industrial services to solve environmental problems.

Related Video(s)
Environmental Engineer (5:07)

  • Avg. Salary $99,194.00
  • Avg. Wage $50.43
  • Minimum Education 4 years post-secondary
  • Outlook N/A
  • Employed 9,200
  • In Demand Medium
Also Known As

Air Quality Engineer, Civil Engineer, Environmental Process Design Engineer, Hazardous Waste Management Engineer, Professional Engineer, Remediation and Reclamation Specialist, Solid Waste Management Engineer, Waste Management Specialist, Water Quality Specialist, Water Treatment Specialist

NOC Codes

In Canada, the federal government groups and organizes occupations based on a National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. This alis occupation may not reflect the entire NOC group it is part of. Data for the NOC group can apply across multiple occupations.

The NOC system is updated every 5 years to reflect changes in the labour market. Government forms and labour market data may group and refer to an occupation differently, depending on the system used. Here is how this occupation has been classified over time:

  • 2006 NOC: Civil Engineers (2131) 
  • 2006 NOC-S: Civil Engineers (C031) 
  • 2011 NOC: Civil engineers (2131) 
Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

34%
34%
Average Wage
Starting
Overall
Top
  • Certification Provincially Regulated
  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg
Interest Codes
The Environmental Engineer is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Civil Engineers
INNOVATIVE

Interest in synthesizing information to conduct research in order to determine project requirements, to develop construction specifications and procedures, and to conduct feasibility studies, economic analyses, municipal and regional traffic studies, environmental impact studies and other investigations

OBJECTIVE

Interest in precision working to conduct technical analyses of survey and field data for development of topographic, soil, hydrological and other information; in conducting field services for civil works; and in monitoring air, water and soil quality and developing procedures to clean up contaminated sites

DIRECTIVE

Interest in supervising technicians, technologists and other engineers; and in overseeing land surveys and construction work, in approving survey and civil design work, in evaluating and recommending building and construction materials, in approving designs, calculations and cost estimates, in ensuring that construction plans meet guidelines and specifications of building codes and other regulations, and in establishing and monitoring construction work schedules

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. 
It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn More

Duties
Updated Mar 31, 2018

Environmental engineers work closely with facility managers and other professionals. They assess, design, and plan site operations. They may be involved in activities such as:

  • environmental assessments
  • site development
  • water purification and wastewater treatment
  • soil remediation
  • air pollution control
  • hazardous waste assessment and solid waste processing
  • expert testimony in an environmental lawsuit.

Environmental engineers may:

  • assess the water quality of rivers, lakes, and groundwater (including surface water and ground water quality modelling)
  • develop and design potable water supply, distribution and treatment systems, or wastewater collection and treatment systems
  • conduct environmental site assessments (to find out if past operations created environmental problems that need to be lessened)
  • assess air quality at local, regional, and global levels (including air quality modelling)
  • develop air pollution prevention plans for industrial clients
  • develop and design air pollution control systems
  • research and develop waste management plans for municipalities and industries (including safe handling, waste transfer, waste minimization, waste treatment and disposal facilities)
  • conduct environmental audits at operating industrial sites (to find out if operations meet environmental quality criteria and guidelines; to learn more, see the Environmental Auditor occupational profile)
  • advise companies and governments about how to clean up sites to protect the health of people and the environment
  • advise industry and government about environmental policies and standards
  • monitor and predict water quantities, including analysis of both flooding and water shortages
  • assess the effects on air, water, and land of:
    • proposed land-use projects (such as pipelines and gravel pits)
    • new and existing manufacturing facilities (such as chemical plants)
    • large infrastructure projects (such as airports)
  • help organizations obtain permits to operate or construct new facilities.

Environmental engineers often work with:

  • engineers from other disciplines
  • environmental scientists
  • plant operations and production staff
  • planners
  • hazardous-waste management technicians
  • lawyers
  • regulators
  • financial institutions.

Environmental engineers use a variety of tools to plan and manage systems. These include computers, computer simulation models, and monitoring instruments and techniques. Engineering and environmental science are rapidly developing fields. Environmental engineers must constantly upgrade their skills and knowledge.

Working Conditions
Updated Mar 31, 2018

Environmental engineers work in:

  • office
  • lab
  • industrial plant
  • field settings.

They may work long hours. They may work under pressure to meet reporting deadlines. When in the field, they may have to withstand a variety of working conditions and harsh weather.

  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Mar 31, 2018

Environmental engineers need to possess:

  • the ability to think logically and solve problems (sometimes working with limited information)
  • a willingness to deal with unknown hazards
  • patience and the ability to do detailed work
  • the skills to be organized
  • an interest in working with mechanical devices and instruments
  • speaking and writing skills (to deal with a wide range of stakeholders)
  • a liking for the outdoors
  • an understanding of fragile ecosystems
  • a willingness to work in dirty settings.

Environmental engineers should enjoy:

  • making decisions and working on their own to solve problems
  • being creative
  • having variety in their work
  • promoting public health and a safe, clean environment.
Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2018

The minimum requirement for environmental engineers is a 4-year degree in environmental engineering or a related discipline. For example, environmental engineers working with emissions may have a chemical engineering background and specialize in environmental engineering. Remediation and reclamation engineers may have a background in civil engineering or geoscience.

Environmental engineers should be able to use advanced technology (such as computer models and testing apparatus) while assessing environmental contamination and performance.

They also need knowledge of current regulations. This allows them to provide guidance on best environmental practices. Such practices are important in municipal and industrial operation and management.


Required Education

The following schools offer programs and courses that meet this occupation’s educational requirements. Other eligible programs and courses may be available.


Related Education

The following schools offer programs or courses that are related to this occupation but are not required to enter the field.

Grande Prairie Regional College

Grant MacEwan University

For a broad list of programs and courses that may be related to this occupation try searching using keywords.

Certification Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2018

Engineer

Professional Engineers design, construct, evaluate, advise, monitor and report on the performance of materials, equipment, systems, works, processes and structures.

Legislation

Under Alberta's Engineering and Geoscience Professions Act, you must be a registered member of the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta (APEGA) to practice as a professional engineer. You do not have to be registered if you work under the direct supervision of a professional engineer and do not call yourself a professional engineer or use the word engineer in your job title.

What You Need

Registration as a Professional Engineer requires: (1) a 4-year bachelor's degree in a recognized engineering program and at least 4 years of acceptable work experience under the supervision of a Professional Engineer, or an equivalent combination of education and experience, (2) a minimum of 3 acceptable references and (3) successful completion of an approved examination in law, ethics and professionalism. A new Provisional Member category has been introduced. For official, detailed information about registration requirements, visit APEGA's website or contact APEGA.

Working in Alberta

Engineers who are registered and in good standing with a regulatory organization elsewhere in Canada may be eligible for registration in Alberta if registered engineers in the 2 jurisdictions have similar responsibilities and competencies. For more information, see What if I am already certified in another province or territory? and the Alberta regulatory authority (below).

To find more information on the certification process for internationally educated engineers, see Professional Engineer Licensing Process on AlbertaCanada.com.

Contact Details

Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta
1500 Scotia One, 10060 Jasper Avenue
Edmonton, Alberta
Canada T5J 4A2
Phone number: 780-426-3990
Toll-free phone number (within North America): 1-800-661-7020
Fax: 780-426-1877
Email: email@apega.ca
Website: www.apega.ca

Employment & Advancement
Updated Mar 31, 2018

Environmental engineers may work in:

  • consulting engineering firms
  • municipal, provincial, and federal governments
  • manufacturing industries
  • chemical and petrochemical industries
  • waste management companies
  • academic and research institutes
  • resource industries (such as mining and oil and gas).

Some environmental engineers move to related fields such as recycling management or environmental auditing. Those with master’s (M.Sc., M.Eng.) or doctoral (PhD) degrees may work in consulting or research. They may also teach at the university or college level.

Environmental engineers are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 2131: Civil engineers. In Alberta, 83% of people employed as civil engineers work in the following industries:

The employment outlook [pdf] in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • trends and events that affect overall employment (especially in the industries listed above)
  • location in Alberta
  • employment turnover (work opportunities that come up because of people leaving existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities that come up when new positions are created)
  • size of the occupation.

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

Wage & Salary
Updated Mar 31, 2018
Overall Wage Details
Average Wage
Average Salary
Hours Per Week

Hourly Wage
For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Starting
Overall
Top
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $24.95 $53.24 $36.96 $34.86
Overall $30.00 $75.97 $50.43 $47.77
Top $36.30 $88.00 $64.08 $62.74

Swipe left and right to view all data. Scroll left and right to view all data.

* All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production) and other forms of compensation.

A: High Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

High Reliability, represents a CV of less than or equal to 6.00% and 30 survey observations and/or represents 50% or more of all estimated employment for the occupation.


Industry Information
Public Administration
ALL INDUSTRIES
Professional, Scientific & Technical Services

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

36%
36%

Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties

34%
34%

Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months

5%
5%

Vacancy Rate

2%
Related High School Subjects
  • English Language Arts
  • Mathematics
  • Media, Design and Communication Arts
    • Design Studies
  • Natural Resources
    • Environmental Stewardship
  • Science
    • Biology
    • Chemistry
    • Physics
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Engineering, Architecture and Related Studies
Other Sources of Information
Updated Mar 31, 2018

Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta (APEGA) website: www.apega.ca

Canadian Society for Bioengineering (CSBE) website: www.csbe-scgab.ca

Canadian Society for Civil Engineering (CSCE) website: csce.ca

Engineers Canada website: engineerscanada.ca

For more information on career planning, education and jobs call the Alberta Supports Contact Centre toll-free at 1-877-644-9992 or 780-644-9992 in Edmonton, or visit an Alberta Works Centre near you.

Updated Mar 31, 2018. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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