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Steve_A's avatar

Can you tell me anything about bio-environmental engineering?

Asked by Steve_A (5125points) January 28th, 2010

I have been looking at jobs in the Air Force and after taking the ASVAB it shows that I qualify for bio-environmental engineering.

I was wondering if anyone knows anything about it, maybe what I will be doing exactly, or possibly own personal experiences.

I have done some research and google searching on it, and I plan to make it my first choice as it has stuck out to me since I first looked at the job list.

This is what I have read on it.

Also could you recommend to any jobs in the Air Force or heads up possibly?

Thank you.

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18 Answers

dreamdh715's avatar

Though I have no first hand personal experience with bio-environmental engineering, I just studied a little bit about it in my Climate Change class. In the context of climate change, “geo“engineering (as our teacher calls it) is the process of altering/designing the planet’s natural systems the way we want them to act. For example, one geo-engineering task that has been proposed as a possible solution to global warming would be to send thousands of airplanes around the world emitting a type of gaseous chemical that would essentially act as a mirror and reflect the sun’s rays back to outer space before they were to reach the earth. This is one type of bio-environmental engineering schema that I am familiar with…

Steve_A's avatar

@dreamdh715 Hmmm, thats interesting thank you for sharing! :)

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

That is mil-speak for running a sewage treatment plant.

Steve_A's avatar

@stranger_in_a_strange_land Thats what I will be doing?

Snarp's avatar

Bio-environmental engineering is not the same as geo-engineering. @clarice‘s link seems a pretty good summary.

Steve_A's avatar

Is my link not correct information then?

It does really say specifically where or what I will be doing though..

It seems like you go to sites,building,places etc….and assist them in there safety,what hazards there might be etc…

or is it like @stranger_in_a_strange_land said working in a sewage plant?

From wikipedia

“Areas of specialty include:
Airborne Dusts, Fumes, Mists, Fogs, Vapors, or Gases
Biological hazards
Biomechanical Stresses
Chemical Hazards
Chemical protection Clothing, Devices or Equipment
Cold Stress
Confined space Hazards
Drinking Water
Employee Exposures
Environmental Sampling
Environmental Health Repetitive Motion Stresses
Ergonomic Stress
Hazardous materials
Health Hazards
Indoor Air Quality
Industrial Hygiene
Ionizing Radiation
Laser Safety
Lead Hazards
Musculoskeletal Disorders
Noise Hazards
Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Permits
Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Health Standards
Radioactive materials
Radiofrequency Radiation Emissions
Respiratory Protection Program
Skin Hazards
Thermal Stress
Ventilation Requirements for Health
Vibration Hazards”

It seems that the job itself is kind of broad, I guess I am trying to figure out where I might fall in as what would pertain to my specific job.

Snarp's avatar

I don’t think you’ll be working in a sewage treatment plant, the Air Force doesn’t have a lot of those. I expect you’ll be handling certain occupational health and safety concerns, maybe helping to determine how to handle things like aircraft fuel and other chemicals, radioactive materials, etc. It seems likely to be pretty managerial. You may be handling reports of potential spills and leaks, determining how they happened, making sure the appropriate response takes place, preventing it from happening again.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

As a junior EM, it will be shit-details and cleaning up messes. Maybe a bit of lab work, but mostly waste disposal. If not sewage plants (every AFB has at least one), then heavy physical work in a plastic suit wearing a respirator. One of my MOSs was Chemical Corps (54A). A lot of sweat and sucking air through a heavy filter, even as an officer. The upside of the training is that it does have civilian applications, but doing the same sorts of things.

Steve_A's avatar

@stranger_in_a_strange_land I see what your saying, thank you for the info.

lilikoi's avatar

I am not a bioenvironmental engineer, and I hadn’t even heard of this until today, but I did get a BS degree in mechanical engineering and I worked in private industry doing HVAC design for a few years alongside environmental, civil, electrical engineers.

The Wikipedia link someone posted looks pretty informative, but note that the page has “issues” (not sure what). Bioenvironmental engineering sounds like a specialized field of engineering which the military specifically created to fulfill certain needs.

From the Wikipedia link, it sounds like what he military calls bioenvironmental engineering, the rest of the country calls environmental engineering and/or bioremediation, and/or environmental consulting.

Are you sure you want a military career? Consider that if you train and plan to work specifically for the military, if you decide you don’t like it down the line it will not be as easy to get a job in the private sector as it would be the other way around working first for private and then moving over to government. This is somewhat because the military likes to do things “its own way”, has a lot of procedural crap that doesn’t necessarily transfer over to the rest of the world, and it is not trying to turn a profit. I don’t know how else to explain this so I hope it makes sense. Your skills in the private industry will always transfer over to a government job.

On the other hand, benefits are much better with the government. You’ll get more vacation, more sick leave, etc. And, a long career in government sometimes can work to your advantage in the private industry if you have good working relationships with key govt workers – the private industry does appreciate govt connections as permits can sometimes be hard to obtain.

Environmental engineers typically design infrastructure, specifically water and/or wastewater systems. Bioremediation involves using biology to clean up messes (like introducing a bacteria to eat up an oil slick). Environmental consultants will do the hazardous materials testing as well as water testing, air quality testing, etc.

Steve_A's avatar

@lilikoi Thank you for the answer and describing the job more to me.

But it was from my understanding that I could bring what I learned from (or most) in this specific job to civilian life afterwards.So I am little confused now or is a mixed possibility? But I do not plan to let that stop me from going to the military.

Steve_A's avatar

Also just add, to everyone there is the a fair chance that I might not even get this job even if it is my 1st pick and my scores permit it.

So if anything I might be doing the other jobs I picked.I will give a list of what I picked.

Steve_A's avatar

Other jobs that I plan to pick and can do with my current scores.
These are a few other I looked with my recruiter.


I also don’t mind something that travels the world a lot I would love to be moving around a lot see the world.If you have any suggestions on that.

YARNLADY's avatar

Ask your recruiter for a specific list of the duties.

Steve_A's avatar

@YARNLADY I have asked my recruiter but I am trying to get outside information as people I know who use to be in, or currently are said to me that the recruiter can “bullshit” you to some degree.

Just don’t take the recruiter’s word for it, so least now I have a far better idea than I did before as to what it is.

YARNLADY's avatar

@Steve_A I’m glad you realize it is important to verify what you recruiter says. They are the salespeople of the military and they are good at their jobs.

Picard1102000's avatar

I actually am a bioenvironmental engineer and it has nothing to do with sewage or waste. Its basically like working with OSHA doing industrial hygiene and making sure all the workers on base are doing their job in a safe manner. There is so much to learn, from water sampling to nuclear screening we do it all. The tech school is at Brooks city base, texas but is moving to Wright patterson AFB ohio in about a year. The tech school is HARD! but it is well worth the challange. You will really be making a difference. There is NO focus on preserving the ozone layer or other “Geo-engineering” aspects. Our goal is to simply protect the workers of the air force and make sure they can do there job. If you want a rewarding challange do this job. trust me.

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