What is an Environmental Technician?

Environmental technology is an umbrella term, under which there are a variety of positions one can work in. The environmental technician position is one of them, and involves helping environmental engineers and environmental scientists identify, evaluate, prevent, and control contamination of the environment.

Environmental technicians inspect and maintain equipment, control and manage hazardous waste, collect samples, manage waste operations, and assist with regulatory compliance and other duties as needed.

What does an Environmental Technician do?

Environmental technicians monitor the environment and look for sources of pollution and contamination, including those affecting public health. They also work to make sure that environmental violations are prevented.

An environmental technician looking at a water sample outside by a stream.

Environmental technicians that work for state and local governments spend a lot of their time inspecting businesses and public places. They also investigate any complaints that come through related to water quality, air quality, and food safety.

Environmental technicians may also be involved with enforcing environmental regulations by performing environmental impact studies of new construction, or evaluating the environmental health of sites that may contaminate the environment, such as abandoned industrial sites.

Environmental technicians often work in testing laboratories. They collect and track samples, and perform tests that are often similar to what is done by biological technicians, chemical technicians, or microbiologists. The main difference is that the work done by environmental technicians focuses mainly on topics that are directly related to the environment and how it affects human health.

Environmental technicians that work for consulting firms help clients comply with regulations as well as monitor and manage the environment. They help to develop cleanup plans for contaminated sites, and recommend ways to control, reduce, or eliminate pollution. They also conduct feasibility studies and monitor the environmental impact of new construction projects.

Are you suited to be an environmental technician?

Environmental technicians have distinct personalities. They tend to be investigative individuals, which means they’re intellectual, introspective, and inquisitive. They are curious, methodical, rational, analytical, and logical. Some of them are also realistic, meaning they’re independent, stable, persistent, genuine, practical, and thrifty.

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What is the workplace of an Environmental Technician like?

Environmental technicians often work in lab environments, offices, and in the field. They work for state or local governments, testing laboratories, or consulting firms. They typically specialize in either laboratory testing or in fieldwork and sample collection.

Work can vary greatly in this career. For example, environmental technicians may work outdoors testing the water quality of lakes and rivers and the levels of pollution caused by runoff from cities and landfills. They may investigate an abandoned manufacturing plant, or they may even have to go under the crawl spaces of a house in order to neutralize natural health risks such as radon.

Environmental Technicians are also known as:
Environmental Science and Protection Technician Environmental Specialist Environmental Health Specialist Environmental Engineering Technician