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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.

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) 
  • 2016 NOC: Civil engineers (2131) 
  • 2021 NOC: Civil engineers (21300) 
Interests & Abilities

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2006 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Civil Engineers

2006 NOC: 2131

Interest Codes

Interest Codes for This NOC Group
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

Your Interest Codes

To identify or change your interest codes, complete the Interests Exercise in CAREERinsite.

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 for this NOC group 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 About Interests

Abilities

Typical ability expectations for this NOC group
Your abilities

To fill in or change the values for your abilities, complete the Abilities Exercise in CAREERinsite.

Mental Abilities

General Learning Ability

Verbal Ability

Numerical Ability

Visual Abilities

Spatial Perception

Form Perception

Clerical Perception

Physical Abilities

Motor Coordination

Finger Dexterity

Manual Dexterity

Understanding Abilities

A Quick Guide

You are born with abilities that help you process certain types of information and turn it into action. These abilities influence which skills you can learn more easily.

The abilities or aptitudes shown for this NOC group come from the General Aptitude Test Battery (GATB). The GATB measures 9 aptitudes. It groups them into 3 categories: mental, visual, and physical.

The abilities scores range from 1 to 5, with 5 being stronger.

Learn About Abilities

Duties
Updated Apr 11, 2022

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 environmental lawsuits

Environmental engineers may:

  • Assess the water quality of rivers, lakes, and groundwater including surface water and groundwater 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 remedied
  • 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), or 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 Apr 11, 2022
  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg

Environmental engineers work in offices, labs, industrial plants, and in the field.

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.

Traits & Skills
Updated Apr 11, 2022

Environmental engineers need:

  • To think logically and solve problems, sometimes working with limited information
  • To deal with unknown hazards
  • The ability and patience to do detailed work
  • Organizational skills
  • An interest in working with mechanical devices and instruments
  • Speaking and writing skills to deal with a wide range of stakeholders
  • 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
  • Being outdoors
  • Having variety in their work
  • Promoting public health and a safe, clean environment

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Top 10 Skills Employers Are Looking For

Civil engineers

2016 NOC: 2131

This chart shows which job skills are currently in highest demand for this occupational group. It was created using this occupation's 26 most recent Alberta job postings, collected between Nov 12, 2021 and Nov 22, 2022.

Review these skills to learn:

  • Whether or not this occupation matches your skill set
  • What training you may need to get these skills
  • What skills to highlight in your resumé, cover letter, and interview.
Health benefits: Health care plan
Computer and Technology Knowledge: AutoCAD
Health benefits: Dental plan
Construction Specialization: Residential construction
Tasks: Prepare contract documents and review and evaluate tenders for construction projects
Computer and Technology Knowledge: MS Office
Construction Specialization: Accurate
Health benefits: Vision care benefits
Personal Suitability: Excellent oral communication
Personal Suitability: Organized
Educational Requirements
Updated Apr 11, 2022
  • Minimum Education 4 years post-secondary

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, to assess environmental contamination and performance.

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



To expand or narrow your search for programs related to this occupation, visit Post-Secondary Programs.

Completing a program does not guarantee entrance into an occupation. Before enrolling in an education program, prospective students should look into various sources for education options and employment possibilities. For example, contact associations and employers in this field.

Certification Requirements
Updated Apr 11, 2022
  • Certification Provincially Regulated

Certain professional titles or duties within this occupation are protected by provincial legislation. Requirements vary if you use these titles or perform these duties.

The related legislation is shown below. If there are multiple related legislations, select a certification heading to learn about each one.

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 [pdf] and Engineering and Geoscience Professions General Regulation [pdf], you must register as a member of the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta (APEGA) to practice as a Professional Engineer or engage in the practice of engineering.

You do not have to register 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.

For information on what you need and other details, visit the certification profile Engineer.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Apr 11, 2022

Environmental engineers may work for:

  • 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 into 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 or teach at the university or college level.

Industry Concentration

This section shows the industries where the majority of people in this occupation work. The data is based on the 2016 Census.

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups.

In the 2131: Civil engineers occupational group, 78.8% of people work in:

Employment Outlook

Employment outlook is influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • Time of year (for seasonal jobs)
  • Location in Alberta
  • Employment turnover (when people leave existing positions)
  • Occupational growth (when new positions are created)
  • Size of the occupation
  • Trends and events that affect overall employment, especially in the industry or industries from the previous list

In Alberta, the 2131: Civil engineers occupational group is expected to have an average annual growth of 1.9% from 2019 to 2023. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 154 new positions are forecasted to be created within this occupational group each year.

Note
NOC groups often include several related occupations. Although there is labour market data for the larger NOC group, this occupation makes up only a part of that group. It means data for this occupation may be different than the data shown. For example, only some of the new positions to be created will be for this occupation. It also applies to other data for the NOC group such as number of people employed.

Source: 2019-2023 Alberta Regional Occupational Demand Outlook

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

Related Alberta Job Postings
Wage & Salary
Updated Apr 11, 2022

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Civil engineers

2016 NOC: 2131
Average Wage
$52.19
Per Hour
Average Salary
$104,417.00
Per Year
Average Hours
38.6
Per Week
Average Months on Payroll
12
Survey Methodology Survey Analysis

Source
2021 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey

NOC 2131 Wage Profile

Unless otherwise noted, the data shown here is for all industries and all regions in Alberta.

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.

To see the full survey data for this NOC group, visit the wage profile.

Other wage sources
To make an informed wage and salary decision, research other wage sources [pdf] to supplement this data.

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.


Hourly Wage

For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Starting
Overall
Top

Hourly Wage

For full-time and part-time employees
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $27.00 $64.79 $40.18 $36.39
Overall $35.21 $81.07 $52.19 $49.12
Top $39.23 $134.90 $72.23 $68.00

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.

Pay brackets for hourly wages

  • Starting pay: average pay offered for entry-level positions
  • Overall pay: average pay across all employees in this occupation
  • Top pay: average pay offered to top-paid employees

Industry Information

Public Administration
Manufacturing
ALL INDUSTRIES
Professional, Scientific & Technical Services

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years
30%
30%)
Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties
7%
7%
Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months
3%
3%
Vacancy Rate
N/A
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Engineering, Architecture and Related Studies
Other Sources of Information
Updated Apr 11, 2022

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

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

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

Engineers Canada website: engineerscanada.ca

Get information and referrals about career, education, and employment options from Alberta Supports.

Updated Mar 31, 2022. 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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