Montana State University

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 are expected to have employment growth of 31 percent over the projections decade, much faster than the average for all occupations. More environmental engineers will be needed to help companies comply with environmental regulations and to develop methods of cleaning up environmental hazards. A shift in emphasis toward preventing problems rather than controlling those which 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 favorable.

Related

Expressing the growing need in numbers

Science &Engineering jobs: 2006 and projected 2016
(in thousands)
Occupation
2006
2016
Change
All occupations
150,620
166,220
15,600
Architechture and Engineering Occupations
2,583
2,852
269
Computer & mathematical scientist occupations
3,313
4,135
822
Engineers
1,512
1,671
159
Life scientists
258
292
34
Physical scientists
267
309
42
Social scientists/related occupations
530
616
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."

 

Apply to graduate school at Montana State University

Related