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  • Nariba is an Environmental Engineer who specialises in water - check out her video

  • Environmental Engineer

Environmental Engineer


As an Environmental Engineer, you will use your engineering and scientific expertise to find solutions for environmental problems, including waste water projects, recycling efficiency, air pollution control, and public health issues.

Video: - Nariba: Water Environmental Engineer

Work Activities

As an Environmental Engineer, you will use your engineering and scientific expertise to find solutions for environmental problems, including waste water projects, recycling efficiency, air pollution control, and public health issues.

Your role could include working on:

  • energy efficiency improvement projects - how can a business use engineering to boost its energy efficiency?
  • water and energy conservation audits - where is water and energy currently being wasted and how can this be improved?
  • making sure that clients are operating within the strict environmental regulations
  • managing a project concerned with monitoring emissions
  • setting and monitoring environmental objectives and targets
  • a contaminated land investigation

There are many different areas of engineering in which you could work, each with their own interests and specialities:

Civil Engineering

  • designing and building energy efficient buildings
  • de-contaminating land which may have been polluted - perhaps by a previous factory or industrial process - this is sometimes called soil stabilisation
  • preventing water pollution from nearby industrial waste production

Automobile Engineering

  • making sure that all the vehicle production processes meet the environmental laws and legislations
  • develop ways of making the production process more energy efficient, so help improve manufacturing profitability
  • setting and monitoring environmental objectives and targets

Mechanical Engineering

A lot of specialised technical machinery is used in the process of environmental engineering, and it is the job of a Mechanical Environmental Engineer to keep these vital pieces of equipment working properly. This includes machinery which is use in the process of:

  • water purification
  • air purification
  • renewable energy supplies e.g. wind turbines
  • sewerage treatment
  • solid waste management
  • energy conservation

Personal Qualities and Skills

To become an Environmental Engineer, you need:

  • the ability to solve problems using your creativity
  • excellent knowledge of general engineering
  • a strong awareness of environmental and safety issues
  • to be willing to keep up to date with changes in technology, the latest information on environmental issues, as well as new UK and EU legislation regarding pollution
  • strong mathematical skills
  • project management skills

Pay and Opportunities


The pay rates given below are approximate.

  • Starting: £25,500 - £28,500
  • With experience: £30,000 - £35,000
  • Senior Environmental Engineers earn £38,000 - £41,500

Hours of work

Most Environmental Engineers work around 35-40 hours a week, Monday to Friday.

However, late finishes and some weekend work may be required, especially as deadlines approach.

Where could I work?

Employers include companies working in:

  • waste water projects
  • renewable energy
  • air pollution control
  • public health issues

Opportunities occur with employers in towns and cities throughout the UK.

This career could involve working for an agency.

Where are vacancies advertised?

Vacancies are advertised in local/national newspapers, trade industry publications, at Jobcentre Plus and on the Find a Job website.

Vacancies can also be found through specialist engineering recruitment agencies, internet job boards and the websites of professional engineering bodies and energy organisations.

EnvironmentalJobs is a job board aimed at people interested in environmental careers:

Entry Routes and Training

Entry routes

Many employers require you to have a degree before you become an Environmental Engineer. Degrees in relevant subjects are available at many universities. In order to get onto a degree course, you will usually need at least two A levels.

After completing your A levels, you might be able to get onto a Higher Level or Degree Apprenticeship in a relevant area. Take a look at our information article 'Apprenticeships – How do I apply', for more details about applying for apprenticeship positions.

A great way to get into this career is through an internship. Take a look at our information article 'Internships', for more details.


Depending on your qualification, you could progress by taking on more responsibility for the management of engineering projects and teams of Engineers.

You might choose to become self-employed or take contract work on a freelance basis.

Work Experience

Previous experience working in an engineering environment (chemical, electrical or mechanical) would be really useful for this career.


The usual entry requirements for a degree related to environmental engineering are:

  • 2/3 A levels
  • GCSEs in your A level subjects at grade C/4 or above
  • a further 2/3 GCSEs at grade C/4 or above
  • English, maths and a science subject are usually required at GCSE at grade C/4 or above

Other qualifications include:

  • BTEC level 3 qualifications in environmental sustainability, engineering or 3D design will help you to stand out from the crowd
  • the International Baccalaureate Diploma

Check college/university websites carefully.

To get onto an Advanced Level Apprenticeship, you'll usually need 5 GCSEs at grade C/4 or above, including English and maths, or to have completed an Intermediate Level Apprenticeship.

To get onto a Higher Level Apprenticeship, you will need at least two A Levels, or an Advanced Level Apprenticeship.

To get onto a Degree Apprenticeship, you will usually need at least 2 A levels.

Some universities accept the Welsh Baccalaureate as equivalent to 1 A level.

Adult Opportunities

Age limits

It is illegal for any organisation to set age limits for entry to employment, education or training, unless they can show there is a real need to have these limits.


If you don't have the qualifications needed to enter your chosen degree or HND course, a college or university Access course (eg, Access to Engineering) could be the way in.

These courses are designed for people who have not followed the usual routes into higher education. No formal qualifications are usually needed, but you should check this with individual colleges.


Information on pathways to registration as a Chartered (CEng) or Incorporated (IEng) Engineer can be found on the Engineering Council's website.


  • 4% of people in occupations such as Environmental Engineer work part-time.
  • 16% have flexible hours.
  • 7% of employees work on a temporary basis.

Further Information

Professional institutions

Professional institutions have the following roles:

  • To support their members.
  • To protect the public by keeping standards high in their professions.

For more information on the institution(s) relevant to this career, check out the contacts below.

Apprenticeships: Get In. Go Far

National Apprenticeship Service (NAS)

Tel: 0800 015 0400




Skills for science, engineering and manufacturing technologies

Address: 14 Upton Road, Watford, Hertfordshire WD18 0JT

Tel: 0845 6439001






Scottish Engineering

Scottish enquiries

Address: 105 West George Street, Glasgow G2 1QL

Tel: 0141 2213181



Engineering Council

Address: 246 High Holborn, London WC1V 7EX

Tel: 020 3206 0500


Engineering Training Council Northern Ireland (ETC NI)

Northern Ireland Enquiries

Address: Sketrick House, Ards Business Park, Jubilee Road, Newtownards BT23 4YH

Tel: 028 9182 2377



Careers Wales - Welsh Apprenticeships

Tel: 0800 028 4844


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