Montana State University

Civil Engineering

Montana State University
Bozeman, MT 59717-3900

Tel: (406) 994-2111
Fax: (406) 994-6105
E-mail: cedept@ce.montana.edu
Location: 205 Cobleigh Hall

Department Head:

Brett Gunnink
bgunnink@ce.montana.edu

The Outlook for Environmental Engineering

Growing Need for Environmental Engineering Expertise

  • Growing need for local, national and global water quality engineers
  • Decaying infrastructure in U.S. and new infrastructure in developing countries
  • Aging engineering workforce
  • Fewer U.S. citizens entering the profession
  • Reliance on foreign professionals

Reasons for growing need

  • Clean water is scarce
  • Communities need to develop water sources and distribute the water
  • China, India, South America, Southeast Asia and Africa have emerging economies
  • Impacts of global warming are likely to further stress water supplies
  • Increasing demand for green and sustainable infrastructure design and resource management
  • Existing infrastructure is decaying and in need of expansion
  • Improved disease control
  • Air pollution
  • New, cheaper and greener technologies are needed to produce energy, treat water supplies, and detect contamination

Job outlook according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Environmental engineers should have employment growth of 25 percent during the projections decade, much faster than the average for all occupations. More environmental engineers will be needed to comply with environmental regulations and to develop methods of cleaning up existing hazards. A shift in emphasis toward preventing problems rather than controlling those that already exist, as well as increasing public health concerns resulting from population growth, also are expected to spur demand for environmental engineers. Because of this employment growth, job opportunities should be good even as more students earn degrees. Even though employment of environmental engineers should be less affected by economic conditions than most other types of engineers, a significant economic downturn could reduce the emphasis on environmental protection, reducing job opportunities.

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Expressing the growing need in numbers

S&E jobs: 2002 and projected 2012
(in thousands)
Occupation
2002
2012
Change
All occupations
144,014
165,319
21,305
S&E
4,873
6,119
1,246
Computer/mathematical scientists
2,504
3,480
976
Engineers
1,478
1,587
109
Life scientists
214
253
39
Physical scientists
251
287
36
Social scientists/related occupations
426
512
86

The disparity between the supply and demand for engineers

The U.S. "is graduating more sports management professionals than engineers, which isn't good in a global economy where innovation can make or break a company." --Mark Hurd, Chairman and CEO of Hewlett-Packard (HP)

According to the Waco Tribune-Herald, "China produces up to 600,000 engineering graduates annually, while India turns out up to 350,000." In the U.S., "about 69,000 students receive bachelor's degrees in engineering annually."

Many engineers are approaching retirement


graph of engineers approaching retirement

Apply to graduate school at Montana State University

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