Institutions such as government agencies, public works administration agencies, for-profit and non-profit organizations study the environment and the effects of proposed or existing man-made infrastructure. The environmental technician goes into the field to examine soil and water samples; he or she may use a variety of instruments to detect air cleanliness as well. Using sensitive laboratory equipment, the environmental technician studies these samples to determine how existing structures are changing the environment, as well as developing forecasts on continued effects. The environmental technician then creates reports for their organization for use developing policies, policy recommendations, and other purposes. If the environmental technician is employed by a for-profit institution, he or she makes recommendations on staying in compliance with environmental regulations and laws.
Much of the environmental technician’s job is performed in the field; when in the field, the technician makes careful notes not only about samples to be tested, but also on weather and other factors under which these samples were gathered. The technician must be organized and familiar with the most current and state of the art laboratory testing equipment.
To work in this field, a person normally needs at least a bachelor’s degree in environmental studies, biology, or a related field. Because of the analysis performed, many employers also look for a strong background in mathematics and statistics for this position. An environmental technician typically works daytime hours during the week and splits time between fieldwork and laboratory analysis. Depending on the situation of the employer, it is likely that travel will also be a key part of this job.
Environmental Technician Tasks
- Inspect equipment and tools for appropriate maintenace, cleaning, monitoring, and performance.
- Inspect operational behavior for compliance and irregularities, collecting data, and making recommendations.
- Oversee construction, manufacturing or other operations to ensure safe working environment and minimal environmental disruption.
- Communicate and document information about hazards, dangers and air/site quality.