California Occupational Guides

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Summary Guide for

   Environmental Engineers in California

May also be called: Civil Engineers; Hazardous Substances Engineers; Pollution Control Engineers; Public Health Engineers; Soil Engineers

Specialties within this occupation include: Air Pollution Control Engineers; Environmental Remediation Specialists; Water and Wastewater Engineers; Waste Management Engineers

What Would I Do?

Environmental Engineers* develop solutions to environmental problems using the principles of mathematics, biology, chemistry, and other scientific disciplines. They are involved in water and air pollution control, recycling, waste disposal, and public health issues. Environmental Engineers are concerned with local and worldwide environmental issues, such as safe drinking water, treatment and proper disposal of waste, air quality, water pollution, and the remediation of sites contaminated by hazardous substances.

Green economy: Green activities and technologies would most likely have an effect on Environmental Engineers. The advancements in technology may cause significant changes to the work and worker requirements, such as new tasks, skills, knowledge, and credentials.

Environmental Engineers work in office buildings, laboratories, or industrial plants. They frequently spend time outdoors at construction sites, facilities, businesses, and other locations to oversee compliance with environmental laws. Most Engineers work a standard 40-hour workweek, but can expect occasional evening, weekend, and holiday work to meet pressing needs.

*This product was partially funded by a grant awarded by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment & Training Administration. The information contained in this product was created by a grantee organization and does not necessarily reflect the official position of the U.S. Department of Labor. All references to non-governmental companies or organizations, their services, products, or resources are offered for informational purposes and should not be construed as an endorsement by the Department of Labor. This product is copyrighted by the institution that created it and is intended for individual organizational, non-commercial use only.

Will This Job Fit Me?

Environmental Engineers frequently work with ideas, which translate to designs that others implement under engineering oversight. Engineers search for facts using a variety of sources in order to solve problems. Environmental Engineers are also skilled in analysis and design. This requires logical, detail-oriented, inquisitive, and creative people.

What Wages and Benefits Can I Expect?

The median wage in 2017 for Environmental Engineers in California was $103,998 annually, or $49.99 hourly. The median is the point at which half of the workers earn more and half earn less.

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Annual Wages for 2017Low
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Source: EDD/LMID Occupational Employment Statistics Survey, 2017 Wages do not reflect self-employment.
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Environmental Engineers generally receive excellent benefits, including health and life insurance, vacation, sick leave, and pension plans.

What is the Job Outlook?

With the increased focus on environmentally sustainable business practices, it is expected that there would be increased opportunities for Environmental Engineers as more companies worldwide are "going green." California leads the nation in terms of its promotion of "green" environmental practices, thus creating a strong market for Environmental Engineers.

How Do I Qualify?

The basic requirement for the Environmental Engineer is a bachelor's degree in engineering, generally with a concentration in environmental engineering or science. Coursework tends to be heavy on mathematics and the physical and life sciences. Advanced computer skills are also vital to the Engineer's education.

Finding a Job

Direct application to employers is one of the most common and effective job search methods. Jobs may also be found through classified advertisements in newspapers, online job boards and professional engineering organizations. Online job opening systems include JobCentral at and CalJOBSSM at

To find your nearest One-Stop Career Center, go to Service Locator. View the helpful job search tips for more resources. (requires Adobe Reader).

Learn More About Environmental Engineers