5 of 100
5. Environmental Engineer
Environmental Engineer
Bradburn hopes to leave the world a better place.
Top 100 rank: 5
Sector: Consulting

What they do: Use engineering skills to protect the environment and human health. Environmental engineers work on air-pollution control, water treatment, waste management, alternative energy, and conservation, in both the private sector and government agencies.

What's to like: Businesses are realizing that environmental stewardship not only burnishes the brand, but it can also boost the bottom line. "Even waste is a resource, and I enjoy the challenge of figuring out how to reuse it," says John Bradburn, 53, an environmental engineer in Warren, Mich., who heads up a General Motors program that repurposes scrap cardboard to make sound-absorption material for its cars.

What's not to like: Coming up with solutions is easier than getting them approved by corporate bureaucracies resistant to any change that may not pay dividends immediately.

Requirements: An undergraduate degree in any engineering specialty can be enough, and a state license is not always required. But you'll fare better with a graduate degree in environmental engineering.

Do Environmental Engineers have great jobs, or what?
Environmental Engineer stats
Median pay
Top pay $113,000
10-year job growth
Total jobs
Quality of life ratings
Personal satisfaction B
Job security A
Future growth A
Benefit to society B
Low stress C
Flexibility A
From the November 2010 issue
Notes: All pay data from PayScale.com. Median pay is for an experienced worker (at least two to seven years in the field). Top pay represents the 90th percentile. Job growth is estimated for 2008-18. Total current employment level is estimated number of people working in each specific job

Sources: PayScale.com, Bureau of Labor Statistics, and MONEY research
MONEY and compensation experts PayScale.com used Bureau of Labor Statistics growth forecasts for 7,000 jobs, and identified industries with the biggest increases in jobs requiring bachelorís degrees. Ranked them by 2008-18 growth and pay. More

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