How to become an Environmental Engineer/Scientist

The growth of our communities, cities, and society at large, relies significantly on industries such as mining, manufacturing, and construction. This ensures that we can access natural resources and build homes, and so that industries can produce food and other items to meet our daily needs.

Waste, pollution, and disruption to our natural ecosystem, are an unpleasant consequence of these industries.

Environmental Engineers/Scientists, however, provide a necessary counterbalance to this. Using their knowledge of the environment, they design solutions that minimise and manage waste and pollution, protecting the air, water, soil, and ourselves from harmful chemicals. They are also engaged to help businesses follow the necessary environmental regulations that are designed to control negative impact to health.

Environmental Engineers/Scientists are natural problem solvers and adopt innovative solutions to solve environmental problems.

Are they in demand?

The Australian Government classifies the area of environmental science as growing strongly over the next few years. Between 2018 and 2023, it is expected to increase from 25,300 people working in the industry to 28,100.

So, what might explain this growth?

As the world population grows, the work of Environmental Engineers/Scientists will be essential to ensure that we all have a good quality of life with access to clean water, air, and land for humans and other organisms. Subsequently, construction projects that support this population growth, continue to create a demand for environmental specialists.

It is also important to note, it is unlikely that these jobs will reach redundancy due to technological advancements. Rather, as environmental concern grows globally, there’s a burgeoning need for qualified Environmental Engineers/Scientists to help tackle challenges head-on including the adoption of new technologies.

Learn what factors are driving growth and demand at Douglas Partners in our related article ‘Are geotechnical engineers in demand?’.

Where do environmental engineer work

Environmental Engineers/Scientists can work in various settings including residential (sub-divisions), commercial, industrial, boat harbours, recreational areas, bush, rail defense, usually dependent on their level of experience.

Graduates spend most of their time doing fieldwork in the early stages of a career, to build foundational knowledge and understand how the scientific principles interact with real world scenarios. At Douglas Partners, mentorship from senior environmental staff is actively followed to allow continued professional development for our junior-mid level professionals.

With experience, environmental Engineers/Scientists undertake more office-based duties, including planning investigations, analysis of data, regulatory compliance coordination, liaising with clients and project managers, report writing, and proposal writing.

Academic pathway

Secondary Education

When preparing for an environmental science or engineering career, important study topics include, but are not limited to, English, Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, and Biology. These are typically pre-requisite subjects for further education in either engineering or science.

Tertiary Education

To become an Environmental Engineer/Scientist in Australia, a university degree in either a Bachelor of Engineering (majoring in Environmental Engineering) or Bachelor of Science (majoring in Environmental Science, Geology, Contaminated Land, Geophysics, or similar), is highly desirable.

Here’s a list of some Australian Universities that offer these courses.

If you’re currently completing an engineering degree, you can become a student member at Engineers Australia. It is the best way for engineering students to immerse themselves in Australia’s thriving engineering community, helping to open career doors and network. Join Young Engineers Australia for free here.

Both engineering and science students can also join as student members of various organisations and associations. These include the Australasian Land & Groundwater Association (ALGA) – who Douglas Partners is a corporate sponsor of – or the Australian Contaminated Land Consultants Association (ACLCA). Each promote best practice within the various avenues of environmental consulting as well as the continued professional development of environmental consultants.

Studies in these fields can open many doors for you to work in a variety of planning, management, monitoring, and research careers. The knowledge to assess resources, utilise environmental impact programs and analyse and interpret environmental data to formulate solutions to environmental problems, can be applied in many work settings, including within a consultancy like Douglas Partners.



A postgraduate qualification may give you the competitive edge to increase your career prospects. A master’s degree (Master of Engineering Science or Environmental Science) can help you develop industry-relevant skills, become expert on a certain topic, and network with industry peers.

At Douglas Partners, many of our Environmental Engineer/Scientists undertake their master’s program as professionals. If eligible, they will also seek their Certified Environmental Practitioner certification (CEnvP) status, a globally recognised indicator of the environmental consultants maintaining excellence and commitment to continued professional development.

Discover the possibilities of postgraduate study in Australia, here.

Job opportunities environmental engineer

See our current opportunities here

Douglas Partners employs a diverse team of environmental engineers and scientists. Collectively, they provide advice relating to managing environmental risks to human health and the environment, as they investigate and analysis both historic and future environmental impacts of a project.

An Environmental Consultant is a broad name to identify the experts whose job function is to ensure that their clients abide by all environmental regulations as well as promoting best practice. They can come from various backgrounds including, hydrogeology, occupational hygiene, environmental science, environmental health, chemical or civil engineering and so on.

This means that there isn’t only one path to take.