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 Website. 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.
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.
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. Sloan Cornerstone Career Center hosts a list of other employers to explore.
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.
- Science Technology Engineering Internship Program (STEP) and other CCE sponsored international and national internship programs
- Career Fairs and Networking Events: Attend our career fairs and special events throughout the year including the Engineering Career Fair and Startup Career Fair.
- Engineering Industry Showcase: Held in the Spring semester, offers a panel session and networking opportunities with representatives from a variety of engineering disciplines.
- List of Leadership Development and Rotational Programs
- 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
- Environment & Sustainability webpage
- Student Organizations: American Academy of Environmental Engineers and Scientists, Scientists and Engineers for a Better Society, Engineers without Borders
- Earth Institute Internship Program
- Summer Ecosystems Experience for Undergraduates
- Student Research Involvement Program
- Earth & Environmental Engineering Departmental Research Projects
- Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory Internship Program
- Earth Engineering Center
- All Ivy Environmental and Sustainable Development Career Fair
- 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
- Association of Environmental Engineers and Scientists (AEES)
- American Solar Energy Society
- Northeast Sustainable Energy Association
- National Society of Professional Engineers
- Society of Women Engineers
- 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 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
- 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
- Engineer.net: A broad-scale engineering job-search engine that many companies use to find new talent