What Does an Environmental Tech Do?

An environmental tech may work for a company or organization, as a consultant, or in the field. An environmental tech may collect and test samples or make sure the company that he or she works for is in compliance with all environmental laws and regulations at the local, state, and federal levels. Schools offering Engineering & Technology Management degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career Overview

An environmental tech can work either in industry or as a consultant, but the job duties are essentially the same. Environmental techs may be responsible for making sure that an organization is complying with all local, state, and federal regulations involving the environment. It may be their duty to make sure any waste generated by the company is disposed of properly. They may also investigate any potential source of pollution, especially if it will affect people's health. They need to be proficient in math and using computers, since they may have to calculate how much pollutant there is in a sample. Environmental techs may have to fine or close an organization for violation of health or environmental regulations.

Important Facts About Environmental Techs

Required Education Associate's degree
Key Skills Critical thinking, clear written and spoken communication, analytical ability, social skills
Work Environment Laboratories, offices, and field work
Similar Occupations Biological technicians, chemical technicians, environmental engineers, forest and conservation technicians, hydrologists, occupational health and safety technicians
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 12% (for environmental science and protection technicians )
Median Salary (2018) $46,170 (for environmental science and protection technicians )

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Duties and Responsibilities

In order to make determinations about an environment, an environmental tech will collect test samples, such as water, gas, asbestos, or soil. Once samples have been tested, the tech is responsible for compiling information about his findings. Techs will monitor the levels of pollutants of a region, maintain accurate and complete records of field data and results, and perform environmental site assessments. While some techs spend the majority of their time working in the field, others primarily analyze results in a lab setting. Inspections of public facilities are completed by environmental techs, as are orkplace inspections, during which techs search for safety and health problems.

In addition to these duties, an environmental tech may:

  • Work on programs that monitor the environment.
  • Work with the public on environmental programs.
  • Work on developing lab procedures and maintaining instruments.
  • Provide services of industrial hygiene.
  • Classify wastes for disposal (RCRA (Resource Conservation and Recovery Act) approved).
  • Test stacks for compliance with air emission laws.
  • Evaluate storage tanks located underground.
  • Write permits.
  • Use microscopes to analyze samples.
  • Respond to emergencies, such as a hazardous spill.

Salary Info and Job Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov), the median annual salary earned by environmental science and protection technicians was $46,170 in May 2018. The employment of such technicians is expected to grow by 12% between 2016 and 2026, per the BLS.

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