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 HandbookSloan Cornerstone Career Center, and Earth and Environmental Engineering Department Website.

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.

Earth and Environmental Engineering Job Search

While some large organizations may recruit in the Fall semester, many others will seek full-time hires on an “as needed” basis. The key is to start your search early so that you do not miss opportunities. Use resources like the professional associations listed below to apply to positions and seek out networking opportunities, attend CCE’s Engineering Career Fair and Engineering Industry Showcase, and pay attention to your departments’ emails. The traditional method of entering this field is by obtaining a bachelor’s degree and applying directly to companies, the EPA, or other governmental agencies. After environmental engineers have gained work experience, there are several routes for advancement. Those working for the EPA can become department supervisors or switch to private industry or consulting. In-house environmental staff members may rise to supervisory positions. Engineers with consulting firms may become project managers or specialists in certain areas.

Columbia Resources

    External Resources

    Professional Associations

    Internship/Job Boards 

    • 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
    • National Council for Science and the Environment: Offers a clearinghouse for Environmental internships
    • Engineering Jobs – Environmental: This component of the 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
    • 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.
    • 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

    Top Employers

    • 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

    Sloan Cornerstone Career Center hosts a list of other employers to explore.  See what Columbia students have gone on to do with their degree with CCE’s What Can You Do With A Degree in Earth & Environmental Engineering tipsheet.