is environmental engineering degree worth it that’s the question that we’re going to be tackling today and we are going to jump right into it we’re going to figure out whether this degree is worth going 40,000 in debt for and spending four years of your life grinding away studying all day okay so first of all,
What Exactly Is Environmental Engineering?
Well environmental engineers are going to use engineering principles to develop solutions for environmental problems along with the engineering curriculum you’re going to be studying a lot of soil science biology chemistry as well as mathematics generally you’re going to be working to improve problems that have to do with waste disposal public health,
Environmental sustainability global warming air pollution control etc so there’s one really cool example i’m pretty sure i saw this on shark tank where there’s a straw and this straw just automatically filters water so if you get stranded out in the woods and,
You have the straw with you you can go to any river and just use it to drink the water and it will filter it for you now this is a relatively new and rare degree every year around 1 500 people graduate in the u.s with a bachelor’s now when you’re looking at a degree and trying to decide,
Whether you want to go for this or not as your major you want to break it down into important parts so i like to break it down into four different sections salary demand satisfaction and x factors.
So first we’re going to talk about salary and people who graduate with this degree are going to make around 59,000 a year starting out and 101,000 in mid-career pay now if you became an environmental engineer they make around 88,000 a year and that’s around 42 dollars an hour and,
There’s a few other career paths you might find yourself going down so i’ll just go ahead and list them off really quickly chemical engineer civil engineer environmental engineering technician environmental scientists hydrologist and natural sciences manager and as you can see the salary for all of them is relatively good and,
I always recommend just to maximize your happiness that you try to go for around 70 to 80,000 a year i know that everybody’s different and you know you might live in a part of the country where things are more expensive or maybe you’re a minimalist and,
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You can live off like 20 000 a year but generally speaking studies have shown that happiness is in fact going to increase the more money you make up until a certain point and that’s usually around 70 to 80,000. now if you look at the latest census and you see how much engineering degrees make over a lifetime it is excellent by far the number one degree at around 3.5 million,
Compared to all the other ones which are 2.4 so it’s no surprise here engineering degrees score really well when it comes to salary or earning potential i’m going to give this one a 9 out of 10.
Next we’re going to be talking about the most subjective section which is satisfaction and i like to break this one down into meaning and job satisfaction and meaning is basically how much you think your job positively impacts the rest of the world in a significant way so for this degree it has a meaning score of about 64 and if you compare that to one that’s really high and,
One that’s really low you’ll see that it’s above average now if you were to become an environmental engineer the meaning score is 70 which again is going to be above average and if you look at the job satisfaction score it’s 72 percent and you can compare that to a really good one and a really bad one and,
Again it’s going to be on the higher side so everything is looking really good there it looks like people who go into this career path not only find it meaningful but they enjoy doing their job on a day-to-day basis now another thing i like to look at is the percentage of people who regret getting their college degree and,
Ziprecruiter released data and it shows that engineering is the third least regretted type of degree only around 15 percent of people who got it regretted it and the main reason is because the best jobs out there sometimes require an advanced degree like a master’s or a doctorate,
But overall really good this section is extremely subjective like i said there’s so many other things that can influence how you enjoy your job or how much meaning you find in your job it could be the people you work with the company you work for industry you work in all kinds of different things where you live for some people salary is going to be very important,
If they have a high salary that will make them happy for others it doesn’t really matter for most people it matters up to a certain point so this is extremely subjective for one person it could be amazing for another person it could be awful but overall i’m going to give this one a 9 out of 10 when it comes to satisfaction.
Next we’re going to be talking about demand and this is probably the most important out of all the factors that you should consider the reason for this is because everything else comes from demand at the end of the day the economy works in a supply and demand format,
If you have skills that are in demand and there’s not a lot of other people out there that have those skills that can supply those skills then they’ll probably end up paying you more they’ll probably end up treating you better and there’s just going to be a lot more opportunity in general,
So when it comes to an environmental engineering career there’s 55,000 jobs available right now and it’s growing at three percent which is as fast as average meaning over the next 10 years there’s going to be 1700 new jobs created to be honest with you that’s pretty average not very impressive and,
One of the downsides of getting an environmental engineering degree is it’s not going to be as flexible as other types of engineering degrees like mechanical engineering for instance so realistically speaking with a mechanical or a chemical engineering degree,
You could do a lot of the same jobs as an environmental engineer but it doesn’t necessarily work in the other direction a lot of the time hiring managers and business owners are really used to mechanical engineers applying for jobs,
Even if those jobs don’t necessarily have much to do with engineering itself a lot of the time they’ll end up hiring people with these degrees just because they respect them and they know that they’re hiring somebody who’s probably really smart and,
Also really hard working so it’s almost like they have a little bit of real estate inside of people’s heads who make important decisions when it comes to hiring however environmental engineering although it might be just as good in terms of the skills you learn isn’t nearly as well known and probably not nearly as respected,
So it could be much more difficult for you to get your first job especially if you aren’t able to get a job as an environmental engineer now one way you can test the waters a little bit is to look up the keyword for the degree you’re going for on monster.com or indeed.com.
So for instance you could type in environmental engineering degree and when i did that 9400 jobs popped up you can compare that to a really bad one and a really good one and you’ll see that it’s actually not that bad it’s on the better side especially when you consider that not that many people are graduating with a degree every year this is a pretty good sign.
Now another thing that’s really great about engineering degrees is when big companies you know fortune 500 companies are surveyed a lot of the time they say that they love hiring engineers it’s usually either the first or the second most popular type of degree for those companies to hire and businesses,
There as well however a lot of the time they’re going to be looking for mechanical engineers chemical electrical that sort of thing because they’re not nearly as familiar with this type of engineering major so overall this degree is a little lacking in this category maybe it’ll be different 20 years from now but right now i’m going to have to give this one a 7 out of 10.
Next we’re going to be talking about x-factors this is anything else that i think is important that didn’t make it into any of the other categories so one thing i always like to mention when it comes to engineering degrees is not only do you make more money over a lifetime 3.5 million versus 2.4 million but,
It’s good pretty much no matter what career path you end up going down so the average artist is going to make around 2.3 million over a lifetime whereas the engineer that becomes an artist is going to make 3 million that is a huge difference same thing when it comes to community and,
Legal services it’s going to be 1.8 versus 3.2 million engineering degree graduates tend to do really well no matter what career path they end up going down and there could be a multitude of reasons for this but overall it is a good sign now another thing i like to do is look up the skill index for these different types of careers and,
Degrees and you’ll see that of course environmental engineering isn’t going to show up on there but something that’s really close to it is going to be chemical engineering and that one scores 59 out of a hundred you can compare that to the highest score and one of the lowest scores and,
You’ll see that it’s definitely on the higher side that’s a great sign because it shows that hiring managers and business owners are looking for people who have these types of skills another thing i like to look at is the likelihood of automation,
So for instance environmental engineers have a 1.8 chance of automation so pretty much it’s not gonna happen same thing with environmental scientists and specialists in general about a three percent chance very very low and,
When it comes to outsourcing it’s kind of the same thing usually engineers are relatively hands-on they’re going to be communicating with other people there’s a lot of creative intelligence involved so very unlikely that it will be outsourced another thing i like to mention with engineering degrees in general is they tend to create a lot of millionaires and,
Billionaires they’re actually number one in terms of degrees they create the most millionaires and billionaires and the main reason for that besides the high salary is the fact that it is a really good segue into entrepreneurship engineers are the ultimate problem solvers they are extremely practical when it comes to problem solving and,
At the end of the day that’s what most of entrepreneurship is that’s basically 80 of it so it’s extremely flexible with an engineering degree you can go down so many different routes you can work in almost any industry in any business for all kinds of different careers and,
Then once you’ve gotten a few years of experience you’ve gotten some skills you can go off on your own and start your own business and you’ll likely have the technical skills to have a very good chance of being successful now one last thing that i like to mention about engineering degrees is that,
They are very difficult okay so you know you want to know what you’re getting yourself into engineering degrees are tough you’re going to be studying all the time it’s going to be one of the hardest things you have to do but with that being said when i was researching this post a lot of people on forums said that it’s not as hard as some of the other engineering degrees and some of the skills you learn might not necessarily be as practical or as applicable so overall when it comes to x factors,
I’m going to give this one an 8 out of 10. so when you take all four of those and divided by 4 the final score is going to be 8.25 out of 10. that is pretty good now of course this is subjective it’s going to be different for everybody so make sure that you do your research i’m assuming here,
That you’ve done your due diligenceyou’ve done your research you’ve talked to people in the career path that you’re trying to go for and you’ve asked them if this is a good idea but for the right person in the right situation i think this can be an amazing major for you to go for if you know exactly,
What you want to do i say definitely go for it if you’re not a hundred percent sure you might want to play it safe and go for more of a general engineering degree like mechanical or chemical that way you have a little bit more flexibility down the line but,
At the end of the day once you get your first job and you get a couple years of experience college isn’t going to be that important because at that point what they care about is your experience and your skill while you’re in college it’s very important that you focus on learning skills this is key.