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Career in Environmental Engineering

Introduction

A drastic increase in environmental pollution across the globe has led to various research and development works in an effort to contain this menace and a relatively new discipline called environmental engineering has emerged which is providing excellent career opportunities. Environmental engineers apply combined methods of science and engineering to improve the environment so that people have access to healthy water, air and land suitable for human existence. Moreover, opportunities in environmental engineering have increased in last couple of decades and the professionals are recruited by companies working in chemical, geological, petroleum and mining sectors.
Environmental engineers specialising in basic sciences, ecology, economics, social sciences, and radiological science as well as civil, mechanical and electrical engineers have attractive career options. A qualified professional working for an environmental engineering firm is expected to design, construct and maintain waste management systems so that urban and rural areas are kept healthy. Job of environmental engineers in India is expected to widen up as owing to tremendous economic development the country is facing high degree of environmental pollution and environmental engineers will have to check it.

Step-by-Step

Environmental engineering as a discipline is available at undergraduate level and post-graduate level as well as research level. Whereas B.Sc. in environmental science has duration of 3 years, M.Sc. in Environmental Engineering is of two years duration. A candidate with 10+2 in Physics, Chemistry and Biology can apply for B.Sc. course in Environmental Engineering. Similarly, B.Sc. in Environmental Engineering is required as eligibility criterion for M.Sc.
Besides undergraduate and post-graduate courses, PG diploma course in Environmental Engineering is popular among candidates for it is an extensive course aimed at enhancing the knowledge and skills in environment science. Students with Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics in 10+2 can opt for B.E in Environmental Engineering. MTech in Energy & Environment Management is another attractive option which can be exercised after doing B.E or BTech in environmental or civil engineering.

Is it the Right Career for Me?

Deciding whether or not environmental engineering is a suitable career will require you to think with passion rather than your brains, at the same time keeping your abilities in mind. If you are fervent about the environment and your surroundings with a scientific aptitude, then this is certainly the field to choose. A career in environmental engineering can be challenging as the candidate is expected to come up with revolutionary solutions for various environmental issues. However, the sector is quite attractive in terms of pay packages. Although a comparatively new career, environmental engineering is devoid of cut throat competition and candidates can get admission and jobs in various firms working in environment engineering with relatively less efforts.

What would it Cost Me?

A BTech in environmental engineering costs more than Rs 3 lakhs to candidates; the fee is inclusive of hostel and library charges. Fee is charged semester wise. Some private colleges can charge even more for the course. Similarly, MTech in environmental engineering can cost more than Rs 2 lakhs in four semesters. Various PG diploma courses in environmental engineering can be a cheap solution or substitute for MTech. Courses in government colleges and IITs and NITs are available at subsidised fees but the competition is tough.

Funding/Scholarship

Scholarships such as Central Sector Scheme of Scholarships for College Students in India, Indian Oil Corporation Scholarships Scheme for Engineering Students, Kishore Vaigyanik Protsahan Yojana (KVPY) Fellowship and MHRD scholarship assistantship for Post Graduate Engineering, etc are considered some of the leading scholarships in India.
Similarly, NTPC Scholarships Scheme for Engineering Students and Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Ltd (ONGC) Scholarships are offered to candidates belonging to backward classes. Various commercial banks in India offer education loans at attractive interest rate to engineering students. It is always advisable to visit a loan provider and discuss various terms and conditions before taking an education loan.

Job Prospects

Environmental engineering has immense scope in India for professionals who are qualified in chemical, biological, thermal, radioactive or even mechanical engineering as environmental engineering is a diverse field and requires people from diverse background. Moreover, professionals from process engineering, environmental chemistry, water and sewage treatment, waste reduction management, pollution prevention, etc are required in large numbers.
Job prospects for professionals with qualification in environmental engineering are bright in research centres, NGOs and various governmental departments working towards green development. Candidates with M.Tech in environmental engineering have opportunities to work for government built assessment committees which study and analyse the environmental risks involved in certain projects. The report of such a committee is then submitted to the concerned authority for further observation. Scholars with PhD in environmental engineering can opt for teaching jobs in colleges and universities.

International Focus

International firms and supra-national bodies like UNO require candidates with qualification and exposure in environment technology for various projects. Jobs in such projects are not only high paying in terms of salaries but attractive in terms of facilities and amenities offered. The US on the other hand offers attractive salary packages for environmental engineers where median salary for an environmental engineer is 80,000$.

Pay Packet

Environmental engineers have umpteen employment opportunities with Central and State pollution control boards which work towards maintaining clean environment and sustainable growth. Engineers working with State Pollution Control Board can get salaries ranging from Rs 15,000 to Rs 30,000. Candidates with M. Tech in environment engineering receive attractive salary ranging from Rs 35,000 to Rs 50,000. However, doing a research work in environmental engineering can be high paying as the professional earns a salary between Rs 50,000 and Rs 75,000.

Demand and Supply

Environmental engineering is facing shortage of trained professionals. As it is a new branch focussing on various implications of environment pollution, lack of information among candidates prevents them from entering the profession. There is a shortage of environment engineers as more and more organisations embrace environment friendly processes. Most of the engineering students go for traditional engineering disciplines and do not wish to explore the yet not explored environment engineering. However, a rapid growth in environment pollution will require environmental engineers in large numbers so that the same can be mitigated effectively.

Market Watch

Various governmental and non-governmental bodies require environmental engineers who can work for designing of environmental policy and regulation development, contaminated land management and site remediation and ensure environmental health and safety of people. Candidates with specialisation in hazardous waste management and natural resource management have higher employability as the segment is in dire need of trained professionals. Similarly, professionals exposed to risk assessment of various mega projects can get attractive jobs in various panels aimed to study environmental impact of the concerned project.
Most of the demand in environmental engineering is coming owing to population growth, diminishing resources and risky exploitation of natural resources. Various state governments, mineral extracting companies and NGOs are looking to hire more environmental engineers so that public health problems can be solved. Moreover, more number of environmental engineers will be required to have sustainable development, environmental regulations, etc.

Positives/Negatives

Whereas environmental engineering is a promising career, there are also certain things that one has to keep in mind. Jobs in government sector are filled with the due process established by the concerned authority. Similarly, the job requires lots of analysis and study of various facets and factors before reaching onto any conclusion.
There are also many advantages and one of them is that it is a promising career and still at a nascent stage.A lot of growth is expected in coming decades and early starters will have a certain advantage. Moreover, the job provides an opportunity to candidates to experience materialisation of conceived ideas towards green development. Environmental engineers help fellow humans by making the earth a better place.

Different Roles, Different Names

As environmental engineering is a diverse segment various segments of engineering come up with important role in it. Engineers from various disciplines have varied range of roles in environmental engineering; some of them are as follows:
•    Agricultural engineers
•    Biologists
•    Chemical engineers
•    Chemists
•    Civil engineers
•    Ecologists
•    Geography experts
•    Geologists
•    Hydro-geologists
•    Public health experts
•    Solid waste management professionals
•    Hazardous waste management professionals
•    Water treatment technicians
•    Wastewater treatment technicians

Top Companies

Besides various state pollution control boards formed by the governments of concerned state, Central Pollution Control Board too hires environmental engineers for various posts through exams conducted by UPSC. However, some private corporate firms hire environmental engineers for various requirements. Some of the leading recruiters in India are as follows:
•    AECOM
•    Privi Organics Limited
•    MACTEC
•    UEM GROUP
•    Kalpan Hydro Company
•    Goodrich Corporation
•    SPML Infra Limited
•    Brunel India Pvt Ltd
•    The Indure Private LImited
•    Sima Labs Pvt Ltd.
•    IDS Group
•    Dresser-Rand India Pvt Ltd

Top Institutes

B.Sc. in Environment Science can be pursued from:
•    South Gujarat University, Surat
•    University of Delhi
•    Berhampur University
•    Bharathiar University, Coimbatore
•    University of Mysore
•    University of Pune
B.E. in Environment Science can be pursued from:
•    P.E.S. College of Engineering, Mandya
•    Delhi College of Engineering, New Delhi
•    Gujarat University, L.D. College of Engineering, Ahmedabad
•    Visveswariah Technological University, AIT, Chikmagalur
ME and MTech are offered in:
•    Rajiv Gandhi Proudyogiki Vishwavidyalaya , Indore (MP)
•    UP Technical University (Instt of Engg & Tech) Lucknow
•    Visveswariah Technological University, AIT, Chikmagalur-577102
•    Thapar Instt of Engg & Technology, Patiala
•    IIT, Delhi, Kanpur, Kharagpur and Madras
•    Jamia Milia Islamia, New Delhi

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