Environmental Technician Jobs

Environmental Technician Job Description

In general, an environmental technician conducts field and lab tests in order to figure out how polluted an area is. Specifically, some duties of an environmental science technician include:

  • Collecting samples of various environmental resources that will then be tested in the lab
  • Designing, testing, modifying, and operating various equipment to help in the resolution and prevention of environmental issues
  • Conducting chemical and physical tests on environmental substances
  • Using complex instruments as well as advanced testing and monitoring equipment
  • Managing hazardous materials and substances
  • Inspecting facilities to monitor the facility’s compliance with regulations regarding governing substances such as lead, asbestos, and/or wastewater
  • Overseeing support staff
  • Preparing permit applications or reviewing compliance with environmental permit regulations and rules
  • Improving chemical processes with the goal of reducing toxic emissions
  • Writing and organizing summaries and reports reflecting test results
  • Cleaning up sites of extreme pollution
  • Reviewing technical documents to be sure that requirements are completed and conformed to
  • With environmental scientists, eliminating or abating the source of the pollution
  • Testing water, soil, and air for pollutant levels
  • Regulating waste products

Most of the time, environmental science technicians work for local or state governments. You can also browse professional, technician, and scientific services firms for openings.

What You Need to Know

The education and training requirements for an environmental technician depend greatly upon the employer’s preferences. In most cases, you’ll be required to acquire an associate’s degree in environmental science or have at least two years of specialized hands-on training. Some employers require that their environmental science technicians have a bachelor’s degree in environmental science or a related field of study.

It’s best that you arm yourself with a college degree of some sort majoring in environmental science at either a university, community college, technical school, or vocational school. Some of the courses that you may be required to take include physics, chemistry, natural resource conservation, biology, management of wetlands, and more.

Most positions require that you become certified, as you will most likely be working with and handling hazardous substances. The most common certification for an environmental technician is the Hazardous Material Technician certificate administered by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Additionally, you can acquire professional certification from the National Environmental Health Association, the National Registry of Environmental Professionals, and several other organizations. Achieving certification requires experience, study, and successfully passing an exam.

How Much You’ll Make

According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average environmental technician earned an annual salary of $40,790 in May 2009. Additionally, the employment rate for environmental science technicians is expected to increase by 29% between 2008 and 2018. This incredible growth is attributed to the fact that companies need professionals that are able to help them comply with government environmental regulations.

If you are passionate about aiding the environment, want to do your part in eliminating pollution, and are looking for a career that you can feel good about, consider training to become an environmental technician.

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