How to Become a Sanitation Engineer


As specialists who develop and install waste collection and disposal systems, sanitation engineers have an excellent grasp of engineering and design principles. They combine their knowledge of science and math with training in sanitary engineering to design systems that can improve the sanitation levels of homes, public facilities and businesses. These engineers find jobs in local governments, humanitarian organizations, engineering firms and public health agencies.

Obtain the Relevant Education

  • To enter the profession, earn a bachelor’s degree in environmental, chemical or civil engineering with coursework in sanitary engineering. The degree enhances your knowledge of engineering practices, sewage treatment methods, waste management, and water supply and purification. Specific requirements for licensure differ from state to state, but follow the same basic steps throughout the United States. Upon graduation, you complete the Fundamentals of Engineering exam, administered by the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying, or NCEES, then gain an engineering intern license from your state’s engineering board. The designation puts you on course to earning the professional engineer license, and also demonstrates your competence to employers.

Develop the Job Skills

  • You need strong analytical and creative problem-solving skills to be a competent sanitation engineer. When working to improve the efficiency of a waste water treatment plant, for example, you must assess the facility’s current design, identify weaknesses and generate an improved design. This role also requires strong computer skills, as you must use design software and other applications. You also need cost estimation skills to determine the amount of money needed for a project, report-writing skills to compile clear estimation reports, and teamwork skills to collaborate with other engineers and sanitation professionals.


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