Environmental Engineer

Job Description:

Environmental engineers minimise pollution in order to protect the environment.

Job Category:
Environmental Industry

What you will do:

Your day-to-day will include tasks such as:

  • gathering data through site assessments, environmental monitoring, and third party reports
  • evaluating the environmental impact of the project, hazard or commercial operation
  • presenting recommendations on the containment, clean-up process, remediation, recycling and waste disposal, in order to fix environmental issues
  • create plans to protect and restore the environment by removing contaminants from water, air and land
  • assessing the ability of environments to naturally remove or reduce conventional or emerging contaminants from air, water, or soil
  • working with customers to assess the environmental impact of proposed construction or to develop pollution prevention programs
  • inspecting facilities to monitor compliance with regulations governing substances such as asbestos, lead, or wastewater
  • collecting and analysing pollution samples, such as air or ground water
  • assisting in the cleanup of hazardous material spills


You’ll need:

  • analytical thinking skills
  • the ability to think clearly using logic and reasoning
  • legal knowledge including court procedures and government regulations
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently

As well as:

  • active listening skills
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail (organisational skills)
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations (leadership skills)
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • excellent written communication skills
Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

Here are the typical steps to pursue a career as an Environmental Engineer:


School Subjects

To become an Environmental Engineer in the UK, you should focus on GCSE subjects that provide a strong foundation in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Here are the recommended GCSE subjects to pursue:

  1. Mathematics: Mathematics is a core subject for engineering disciplines, including Environmental Engineering. It is crucial for complex calculations, problem-solving, and data analysis involved in environmental projects.
  2. Physics: Physics provides fundamental principles related to mechanics, thermodynamics, and fluid dynamics, which can be applied in certain aspects of environmental engineering.
  3. Chemistry: Chemistry is crucial for understanding chemical processes, pollution control, and water quality assessments.
  4. Biology (optional): While not mandatory, Biology can be helpful for understanding ecological systems and environmental impact assessments.
  5. Design and Technology: This subject can provide insights into engineering design principles, manufacturing techniques, and environmental technologies.
  6. Geography (optional): Geography can provide valuable knowledge of natural systems, climate change, and global environmental issues.

After completing GCSEs, you can pursue A-levels or other post-16 qualifications, focusing on subjects such as Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, and Geography.

Higher Education

Apply to an accredited university to pursue a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Engineering, Civil Engineering with a specialization in environmental studies, or a related field. During your undergraduate studies, you will learn about environmental protection, water and air quality, waste management, and more.

Internships or Work Placements

Seek internships or work placements with environmental engineering companies, environmental consultancies, or research institutions to gain practical experience and apply theoretical knowledge to real-world projects.


Consider specializing in a particular area within Environmental Engineering, such as water resources, air pollution, or sustainable development.

Professional Development

Join professional organizations related to Environmental Engineering, and consider pursuing postgraduate studies or professional development courses to further enhance your knowledge and skills.

Working Hours and Environment:

Most people say the following:

  • Work With Work Group or Team: Extremely important.
  • Work Schedules: Regular (established routine, set schedule).
  • Spend Time Sitting: More than half the time.
  • Responsibility for Outcomes and Results: Moderate responsibility.
  • Freedom to Make Decisions: A lot of freedom.
  • Duration of Typical Work Week: 40 hours.
  • Coordinate or Lead Others: Important.

Career Path & Progression:

You may choose to specialise in a particular field of environmental engineering, such as land reclamation or pollution control.

If you pursue a management route, you’ll supervise other engineers or technicians, or manage entire projects. You could also aim for an executive position within an organisation.