Each month we take a look at one of the 650 career pathways featured within Indigo. This month we’re exploring the role of an Environmental Engineer.

Find out what’s involved in the role from in this excerpt from the career profile on the Indigo Careers module.

So what is an Environmental Engineer?

Environmental engineers work on projects concerning waste management, land reclamation and pollution control, and liaise with a variety of clients from local authorities to private property developers.

You will visit and assess numerous sites in relation to their environmental impact and will explain your findings to clients via presentations and reports.

You may also communicate the environmental issues of a project or site to the general public, green groups and regulatory authorities.


You will usually work 35–40 hours from Monday to Friday, although additional or unsocial hours are not uncommon should problems occur or if deadlines need to be met on a project. 


Your time will be divided between office-based and on-site work, so you can expect to travel on a daily basis. A driving licence is essential.

Type of work 

You will work in all weather conditions on-site, so should be prepared to get cold and muddy. You will also have to adhere to site safety regulations and wear relevant protective clothing. You will work as part of a team. 


Things to consider


You will be responsible for minimising the environmental impact of building projects and protecting the wellbeing of the natural surroundings, which will be rewarding.

Difficult people 

Working on potentially controversial developments could lead to confrontations with local residents or clients.

Travel/work abroad

There are excellent opportunities to work overseas

Can run your own business

You could set up your own company


Senior environmental engineers with chartered or incorporated status could earn £90,000


Most people have an undergraduate degree and you will need further professional training

Most employers require candidates to have a good degree, usually a 2.i minimum, or postgraduate qualification in a relevant subject such as civil or environmental engineering. You will need at least 2 A levels/H grades and 5 GCSEs/National 5s (C or above, or 4 or above in England), including Maths and Physics, for degree entry. You may be considered if you have studied another engineering subject, or something related such as physics, applied physics or maths but the field is highly competitive and you may have to supplement your degree with a postgraduate qualification. Candidates are encouraged to complete a master’s degree as this will be beneficial further on in your career when seeking chartered status.

Alternatively, it may be possible to enter the field with an HND in a relevant subject such as general engineering, civil engineering, environmental engineering, applied physics or computing and IT. As some employers prefer graduates, supplementing your HND with work experience in the environmental sector is highly recommended.

Many employers offer graduates opportunities to enter structured graduate development programmes once in employment. With the training and supervision of senior mentors, graduates will work towards becoming professional engineers of either incorporated (IEng) or chartered (CEng) status or becoming specialists in their individual fields.

Top Tip

Some companies offer a sponsorship scheme for candidates who have completed their A levels/H grades. This sponsorship consists of financial support to the candidate throughout their degree programme and the offer of an apprenticeship upon graduation.

Salary progression

The starting salary for an environmental engineer can range from £18,000 to £28,000. With a few years’ experience, you can expect to earn anything up to £45,000 a year. Senior environmental engineers with chartered or incorporated status could earn up to £90,000.

Click here to explore the full library of over 650 career profiles, including multimedia content and LMI data for students to interpret and discuss.