Earth and Environmental Engineering
What do Earth & Environmental Engineers do?
According to the US Academy of Environmental Engineers (AAEE), Environmental Engineers "work in any aspect of environmental protection. Major areas include air pollution control, industrial hygiene, radiation protection, hazardous waste management, toxic materials control, water supply, wastewater management, storm water management, solid waste disposal, public health, energy, and land management." For more information, visit the Occupational Outlook Handbook, Sloan Cornerstone Career Center, and Earth and Environmental Engineering Department Web site.
Where do they work?
Environmental Engineers work in a variety of settings including:
- Federal, State, or Local Government: Seeking to optimize infrastructure and processes (e.g. waste and water management) in ways that are environmentally-sound and compliant.
- Research Firms or Laboratories: Primarily conducting field research and data collection as a function of consultation, laboratory services, and field technician services.
- Environmental Consulting: Helping clients to comply with regulations, prevent environmental damage, and/or clean up hazardous sites. Can occur at either private consulting engineering firms or in-house at major corporations and private businesses. Private firms often specialize in particular areas, such as wastewater management, wetlands, energy efficiency, or air pollution.
- Academia: Teaching in colleges and universities or conducting research.
What are some employers in the field?
Top employers in the field include: AECOM ● CH2M Hill ● Con Edison ● Environmental Protection Agency ● Hatch ● Mott MacDonald ● Hazen & Sawyer ● Langan Engineering & Environmental Services ● NYC Department of Environmental Protection ● Parsons ● Stantec Consulting Services. You can also check out attendees to CCE's career fairs in the employer profile books, and use the Employer Directory tab on LionSHARE to see other employers who have posted at Columbia. Sloan Cornerstone Career Center hosts a list of other employers to explore. Additionally, each year the Earth Institute hosts an All Ivy career fair, and you can find participating employers here.
What resources can I look into for more information and to gain experience?
Center for Career Education Resources: For a full list of resources and services visit our home page.
- LionSHARE: CCE's database of internship and full time jobs for students and alumni
- Vault & WetFeet guides: profiles industries, companies, and careers including: Vault Guide to Environmental Careers, Vault Career Guide to the Energy Industry, Vault Guide to Green Programs
- Science Technology Engineering Internship Program (STEP) and other CCE sponsored international and national internship programs
- CCE Career Fairs, employer information sessions, site visits, panels, workshops, and alumni events (see CCE's calendar of events regularly for updates)
- List of Leadership Development and Rotational Programs
- Webshops and webinars covering a wide array of topics
- LinkedIn.com Columbia Groups: Columbia Career Connections & Columbia Alumni Association Network to find alumni working in the field
Student Clubs & Professional Associations: Student clubs often have direct links with employers and are excellent ways to learn about careers in the field. Many are even linked to regional or national professional associations that have web resources and host conferences and career fairs.
- Water Environment Federation (Columbia Chapter) and Professional Chapter Water Environment Federation (WEF)
- American Academy of Environmental Engineers (Columbia Chapter) and Professional Chapter American Academy of Environmental Engineers (AAEE)
- Scientists and Engineers for a Better Society at Columbia
- Engineers without Borders - Columbia Chapter
- Other Professional Associations: Use the low student membership rates in professional associations to gain career guidance and information about scholarships, networking opportunities, job postings, conferences and workshops, and access to job fairs.
Research, Other Opportunities and Resources:
- Earth Institute Internship Program
- Summer Ecosystems Experience for Undergraduates
- Columbia’s Biosphere
- Student Research Involvement Program
- Earth & Environmental Engineering Departmental Research Projects
- Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory Internship Program
- Earth Engineering Center
- SEAS Global Initiatives – Intern/Study Abroad Web Site
- Information on the FE Exam (Students should find out from their academic advisor whether their desired career path requires EIT/PE certification)
- Mentornet, an online mentoring community in which Columbia University participates
- Fellowships for CC/SEAS, GS, and GSAS
Internship/Job Posting Websites
- Pathways to Science: To find programs such as undergraduate summer research opportunities, graduate fellowships, postdoctoral positions, as well as resources and materials pertaining to recruitment, retention, and mentoring
- National Science Foundation REU Sites: The Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program supports active research participation by undergraduate students in any of the areas of research funded by the National Science Foundation
- American Academy for Advancement of Science: A resource list of AAAS career development programs
- NSA Internships: The National Security Agency offers internships, a co-op program, and scholarships
- National Council for Science and the Environment: Offers a clearinghouse for Environmental internships
- Engineering Jobs – Environmental: This component of the EngineeringJobs.net site is catered specifically to jobs in the environmental engineering industry
- Environmental Health & Safety Jobs: A place to find environmental health and safety jobs across the country
- Coastal Environmental Rights Foundation (CERF): Established to aggressively advocate for the protection and enhancement of coastal natural resources
- Environmental Career Opportunities: This site offers environmentally-oriented jobs across a broad spectrum
- SULI: The Science Undergraduate Laboratory Internship (SULI) program encourages undergraduate students to pursue science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) careers by providing research experiences at the Department of Energy (DOE) National Laboratories
- EPA: Leads the nation's environmental science, research, education and assessment efforts, and works to protect our health and our environment
- ACECNY: A proactive coalition of more than 270 firms representing every discipline of engineering related to the built environment - civil, structural, mechanical, electrical, geotechnical - and affiliated companies. A listing of consulting engineering firms from
across New York State. Use membership directory to identify local companies and check their job boards for postings
- Research Gate: A network dedicated to science and research. Connect, collaborate and discover scientific publications, jobs and conferences
- Engineering Central: Lists engineering positions and resumes across all engineering disciplines
- Engineer.net: A broad-scale engineering job-search engine that many companies use to find new talent
- All Engineering links from CCE
Professional Journals: Keep up to date on trends in the field, identify potential employers, and find out about new opportunities. Your access to the Columbia library system through the CU library login gives you extensive exposure to important information in the field today.