2021 Best Online Environmental Engineering Degrees

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If you are fascinated with nature and like applying math and science concepts and thinking analytically, then you may consider getting an online environmental engineering degree.

Online Environmental Engineering Degrees

A bachelors degree in environmental engineering can help qualify you for jobs in the field while opening doors to even more promising career options down the road.

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An environmental engineering program includes courses that require advanced math and technical knowledge, and a career in this field typically involves additional learning on the job.

Online Environmental Engineering Degrees

Environmental Engineering Degrees

If you want to get your degree online, you should find many online environmental engineering degree programs at accredited schools that offer flexible and convenient schedules.

There’s growing research in the field of environmental science and the growing need to protect natural habitats and resources. Environmental engineers have vital roles to play among other engineering specialists for years to come.

The pressing need to find solutions to problems like air pollution and climate change may also drive job growth in the field. Many environmental engineers work alongside civil engineers or engineering project managers.

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Environmental engineers can help design, operate, retrofit, or manage any number of environmentally sensitive infrastructure projects. These can include rural development projects, projects impacting major water ways, and projects for waste management facilities.

A bachelors degree is required for many entry-level jobs in the environmental engineering field. So, earning an online environmental engineering bachelors degree from an accredited university can be a strategic first step if you want to pursue a career in this field.

Environmental Engineering Careers & Salaries

Environmental Engineering Careers & Salaries

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a bachelors in environmental engineering can open the doors to a wide field of challenging and rewarding career opportunities.

Careers Annual Median Salaries
Architectural and Engineering Managers $144,830
Natural Sciences Managers $129,100
Environmental Engineers, Federal Government $105,410
Sales Engineers $103,900
Geoscientists $92,040
Environmental Engineers, Engineering Services $89,050
Environmental Engineers, All $88,860
Civil Engineers $87,060
Hydrologists $81,270
Environmental Scientists and Specialists $71,360

Engineering careers related to the environment and natural resources come in many forms. An online environmental engineering bachelors degree program can be instrumental in preparing you to forge an exciting and well-paid path.

Environmental Engineering Bachelor’s Curriculum

Environmental Engineering Bachelor’s

An online environmental engineering program’s curriculum will typically expose you to a range of inter-connected engineering trends, perspectives, concepts, and methods. Curricula will vary by program, but some common courses include the following:

  • Fundamentals of Environmental Engineering: This course is an overview of methods and knowledge applied in the field, including a survey of the roles environmental engineers play in the larger field of civil engineering.
  • Engineering Physics and Design: You’ll learn critical physical and mechanical concepts and methods governing engineering design work.
  • Materials and Structures: All engineers need to study the fundamental properties and dynamics of diverse materials used across structural and mechanical applications.
  • Solid Waste Management and Waste Water Treatment: You’ll learn how environmental engineers design, operate, and manage systems for handling solid waste and waste water while protecting ecosystems and human health.
  • Environmental Law and Impact Analysis: This course provides insights into the critical ethical, legal, and policy frameworks that guide environmental engineering decision-making and introduces environmental impact analysis methods.
  • Principles of Surveying: This course covers the principles and methods used in land surveying, including mapping work, measuring slopes and grades, and methods for surveying diverse land formations.
  • Geo-Environmental Engineering: You’ll learn about rock and soil mechanics, principles of hydrology, and other aspects of environmental ecosystems for engineering design and decision-making challenges related to the natural environment.
  • Hydrology: You’ll study the properties and dynamics of the planet’s water systems, including the study of the water cycle, surface water dynamics, and methods and principles for measuring water impacts in diverse engineering scenarios.
  • Civil Construction Management: You’ll learn about the logistics of developing and managing large civil engineering projects with an emphasis on land use, environmental forces and materials, and environmental impacts and regulations.
  • Environmental Engineering Design: This course focuses on design methods and processes that reflect sound, safe, and ethical environmental engineering methods and introduces you to computer-assisted design tools and concepts.

A bachelor’s degree program in environmental engineering can offer specialized and very practical knowledge to help open doors to meaningful career opportunities in this field.

Admissions Requirements

Environmental Engineering students

When pursuing an environmental engineering degree online, it is necessary to have already received your high school diploma or passed the GED examination. Prerequisite coursework in math and science are likely to be required for admission as well.

Admission requirements can vary by school, but they typically include:

  • A high school diploma or GED
  • A satisfactory GPA, usually 3.0 or better
  • Satisfactory SAT or ACT scores, if required
  • Completion of relevant high school courses, like physics and advanced math

If you skipped over some important prerequisite courses in high school, there are some online degree programs that are designed to allow concurrent enrollment in the courses you need to make up.

Accreditation

Environmental Engineering Degrees Accreditation

Getting a college degree is a big investment and a serious commitment, so it’s typically best to stick with regionally accredited universities when you’re deciding what school to attend.

When a school and program have regional accreditation, their curricula, instruction, and academic resources and support have been found to meet acceptable standards. Accreditation also helps ensure that your degree will be honored by other schools and by prospective employers. It can be required for certain types of financial aid as well.

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The Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) can help you learn more about accreditation and finding accredited schools.

Financial Aid and Scholarships

Environmental Engineering Degrees Financial Aid

When pursuing a bachelor of engineering online or on campus, the upfront costs for tuition or other expenses can sometimes pose a challenge.

Many students overcome financial barriers to getting a degree by applying for a need-based financial aid package. A financial aid package may include educational grants, tuition discounts, scholarship money, and student loans.

It’s beneficial to look over any financial aid package carefully, but if you qualify, you may be able to start studying sooner rather than later. You can start by filling out your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Professional Environmental Organizations

Professional Environmental Organizations

Whether you’re just starting your bachelor’s degree program in environmental engineering or still searching for the right school, it’s not too soon to join one of these professional organizations:

A professional membership can help you stay on top of news in your field. It may also lead to some valuable opportunities to learn specialized knowledge in the field and build a professional network.

What Can You Do with an Environmental Engineering Degree?

environmental engineers

The expertise of environmental engineers is needed today for the development of new civil engineering projects and for upgrading or retrofitting existing infrastructures.

Environmental engineers are also needed to build, restore, and manage the environmental impacts of human activity. This can include trying to control pollution, solve the climate crisis, or improve the management of waste-handling facilities.

Professionals in the field may work as environmental engineers, hydrologists, civil engineers, geoscientists, environmental scientists, and natural sciences managers.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Bachelors in Environmental Engineering Online?

Bachelors in Environmental Engineering Online

Like other bachelor degree programs, most accredited online environmental engineering degrees will typically take 4 years with full-time enrollment and a traditional, 16 week semester schedule.

Some online programs, including accredited ones, are designed to help you finish sooner. If you follow an 8 week semester and stay continuously enrolled year-round, you might finish in less than 4 years.

Some online programs offer more flexible study options. This can be an especially beneficial option if you plan to keep working or have other commitments to juggle. This flexibility might be what you need, but it may mean taking longer to complete your degree.

Is Environmental Engineering a Good Degree?

bachelors degree program in environmental engineering

A bachelors degree program in environmental engineering deals with the natural environment, natural resources, environmental science and protection, and the study of civil engineering principles and methods. If these topics interest you, then this field may be a good fit for you.

The jobs you may qualify for can vary greatly depending on your degree concentration, where you want to work, your past experience, and your job preferences. Engineering jobs generally pay very well. The average salary for environmental engineers is $88,860, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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An aptitude for math and science can be very beneficial in this field. Aside from specialized knowledge, an environmental engineering degree can also teach you lots of practical knowledge and job skills.

How Much Does an Environmental Engineer Make?

Environmental Engineer Salary

Environmental engineers make an average annual salary of $88,860 (Bureau of Labor Statistics). Environmental engineers’ salaries can vary based on their work history, area of concentration, employer, and geographic location.

Professionals in the field may also work as hydrologists or geoscientists. Hydrologists make an average salary of $81,270 while geoscientists earn average salaries of $92,040. A natural sciences manager is a common leadership position in this field. The average salary for this position is $129,100, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

A bachelor’s degree in environmental engineering or in a closely related field is often the academic requirement to qualify for job opportunities in this field.

Is There a Demand for Environmental Engineers in the Future?

Demand for Environmental Engineers

The field of environmental engineering is predicted to maintain steady job growth. The Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts that jobs for environmental engineers will grow at a 3% rate through 2029, which translates into average job growth compared to other fields.

Job growth in many closely related careers, such as hydrologist, geoscientist, and natural sciences manager, are forecast at 5%, which is above average job growth.

Is Environmental Engineering Worth It?

Environmental Engineer working

Yes, a bachelors degree in environmental engineering is worth it for many students. A bachelors degree in the field can equip you to explore opportunities for a range of entry-level jobs that might open doors for new learning based on your engineering career interests and goals.

There is a need for infrastructure expansions and upgrades, and there are growing concerns about environmental impacts and evolving environmental laws. So, environmental engineering professionals are increasingly in-demand.

In addition to working on infrastructure projects, professionals in the field also work in resource management, waste management, geo-science research, and engineering design. These areas can fuel future job opportunities for environmental engineers and those working in related fields.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that jobs for environmental engineers will see continued average job growth over the next ten years. Many related occupations are also forecast for equal or greater job growth over this same period.

Universities Offering Online Bachelors in Environmental Engineering Degree Programs

Methodology: The following school list is in alphabetical order. To be included, a college or university must be regionally accredited and offer degree programs online or in a hybrid format.

American Public University

American Public University campus

American Public University offers an online Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science program. This degree program focuses on the study of ecological disasters on public health and how to increase sustainability and responsible development.

The program requires 120 credit hours to graduate, and you may be able to transfer up to 90 credit hours.

APUS is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Oakland University

Oakland University campus

Oakland University’s online Bachelor of Science in Environmental Health and Safety is designed to teach how to identify, evaluate, and eliminate environmental hazards.

Students have the option to obtain their degrees entirely online, entirely on-campus, or as a combination of both types of classes. The degree requires 125 credit hours of coursework.

Oakland University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Oregon State University

Oregon State University campus

Oregon State University offers a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Engineering program that is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET.

Subjects studied in this program include analysis and design of water and wastewater treatment systems, hazardous substance management, and air pollution control. Students are required to participate in a capstone-design experience.

Oregon State University is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

Portland State University

Portland State University campus

Portland State University offers a Bachelor’s in Environmental Engineering. Topics of study in this program include energy systems, water distribution systems, and the development of infrastructures that support sustainability.

Students in this program have access to internships in the Portland Area. Coursework can be completed online, on campus, or in a combination of both.

Portland State University is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

Southern New Hampshire University

Southern New Hampshire University campus

Southern New Hampshire University offers an Environmental Science degree that is entirely online. Custom lab kits are mailed to students, and labs are led by instructors online so you can still get hands-on experience. You may customize your degree with electives or add a natural resources concentration.

Southern New Hampshire University is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

University of Arizona

University of Arizona campus

The University of Arizona offers a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science that is entirely online. The program offers two areas of emphasis to choose from: Soil, Air, and Water, or Leadership, Sustainability, and Communication.

This degree program is designed to be suitable for someone wanting to conduct scientific research or to work in advocacy and policy.

The University of Arizona is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

University of Phoenix

University of Phoenix campus1

The University of Phoenix offers an online Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science. The degree program covers topics such as renewable resources, sustainable green living, and urban infrastructure. The program requires 120 credit hours, including 15 credit hours in a focus study of your choosing.

The University of Phoenix is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

University of Toledo

University of Toledo campus

The B.S. in Environmental Engineering program at the University of Toledo is designed to provide a well-rounded education. It includes courses in engineering, environmental and natural sciences, economics, and policy. This is an on-campus degree program.

The University of Toledo is a research university, and undergraduates often have opportunities to work on research projects.

The University of Toledo is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

University of Washington

University of Washington campus

The University of Washington added a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Engineering in 2017 to respond to the increasing demand for environmental engineers.

The degree program is ABET accredited and focuses on applying engineering principles to concerns such as air pollution control and environmental sustainability. This is an on-campus degree program.

The University of Washington is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

Wilmington University

Wilmington University campus

A Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science and Policy from Wilmington University can be earned entirely online. Students in this program receive kits so they can conduct labs at home.

Internships are available through Wilmington’s partnerships to help students get real-world experience. This degree program also emphasizes strong writing and communication skills.

Wilmington University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Getting Your Environmental Engineering Degree Online

Environmental Engineering Degree Online

If you have a general interest in the stewardship of ecosystems and natural resources, and if you are fascinated by the features, properties, and forces of the natural world, then a bachelor’s degree program in environmental engineering might be a good fit for you.

You can choose to pursue a graduate degree later on, such as an environmental engineering masters online or, if it fits in with your work schedule, through a traditional campus program. But a bachelor’s degree in environmental engineering is enough to help you take the first steps toward a rewarding career in this field.

With so many convenient and flexible online degree options being offered now, this could be a fine time to explore accredited online bachelors degree programs in environmental engineering.

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Keith Nickolaus
WRITTEN BY
Keith Nickolaus
Keith has a Ph.D. and a M.A. in Comparative Literature from the University of California - Berkeley and a B.A. in Literature from the University of California - Santa Cruz. A retired educator, Keith lives in Berkeley and researches and writes about trends in education leadership, innovation, and policy.