Employment of environmental engineers is projected to grow 12 percent from 2014 to 2024, faster than the average for all occupations.
State and local governments' concerns about water are leading to efforts to increase the efficiency of water use. Such a focus differs from that of wastewater treatment, for which this occupation is traditionally known. Most employment growth is projected to be in professional, scientific, and technical services, as governments at the state, county, and local levels draw on this industry to help address these water concerns.
The requirement by the federal government to clean up contaminated sites is expected to help sustain demand for these engineers' services. In addition, wastewater treatment is becoming a larger concern in areas of the country where new methods of drilling for shale gas require the use and disposal of massive volumes of water.
Environmental engineers should continue to be needed to help utilities and water treatment plants comply with any new federal or state environmental regulations, such as regulations regarding emissions from coal-fired power plants.
Job prospects should be favorable because this occupation may experience a wave of retirements. Also, a person can improve his or her job prospects by obtaining a master's degree in environmental engineering, an advanced degree that many employers prefer.
Percent change in employment, projected 2014-24
Total, all occupations
Note: All Occupations includes all occupations in the U.S. Economy. Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections program