Growing awareness of environmental challenges keeps employment outlook relatively bright in this diverse research area

According to experts in this professional market, there is reason for optimism based on a combination of factors--mostly a heightened public concern about environmental threats along with stepped-up vigilance by environment-monitoring governmental agencies.

Robert Baillod, professor and head of the department of civil and environmental engineering at Michigan Technological University in Houghton, says that while environmental jobs have suffered from a slow economy, the environmental engineers his department trains continue to have an easier time finding positions than do most other engineers and scientists.

"A couple of years ago, 100 percent of our graduates found jobs immediately, while other disciplines may have had 90 percent success at best," Baillod says. "Today, we still have 70 to 80 percent placed right away, while most other disciplines seem to have dropped to around 60 to 70 percent....

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