Environmental Engineering Technician Job Description
Environmental engineering technicians work with environmental engineers to clean up environmental pollution. They may work in a laboratory performing tests and developing equipment, or they may work in the field where they collect environmental samples and inspect facilities for compliance with government regulations.
In the laboratory, environmental engineering technicians record test results and observations, so the engineer can reference them during analysis. They also assist with administrative laboratory tasks, like making sure that the lab is appropriately stocked, and identifying potential equipment vendors.
Most of the work that environmental engineering technicians is done in a laboratory environment, but they also have to do some work outside. When working outdoors, the quality of their working environment is largely dependent on the weather. Working in hot, cold, or wet conditions is sometimes required.
When working on environmental cleanup sites, environmental engineering technicians may be exposed to potentially harmful toxic materials or chemicals. Wearing proper protective gear and following established safety procedures can reduce the risk of harm.
Most environmental engineers are employed by state and local government agencies, waste treatment companies, and scientific consulting services. However, there are many opportunities in other areas as well, so don’t limit your job search to just those industries.
The majority of environmental engineering technicians work full time, and they are normally able to work during normal business hours. However, they may need to work overtime in the case of an emergency.
Additional responsibilities for environmental engineering technicians often include:
- Assisting with the cleanup of hazardous material spills and arranging for their disposal.
- Conducting pollution surveys by collecting and analyzing samples.
- Helping customers assess the environmental impact of new construction or procedures.
- Helping organizations develop pollution protection programs.
How to Become an Environmental Engineering Technician
It’s possible to get a job as an environmental engineering technician with just a high school diploma, but most employers prefer to hire candidates with an associate’s degree in engineering technology or environmental engineering technology. These programs are frequently offered by community colleges and vocational schools.
Whether you choose to attend a vocational school or a community college should depend on what your long term educational goals are. Vocational schools are very focused on teaching a particular skill, and they provide lots of hands on experience.
Community college programs are normally more theoretical, and you will have to take many general education classes like English and biology in order to graduate. However, the credits from community colleges usually transfer to four year schools, which can be very helpful if you want to pursue more education later on.
A bachelor’s degree is normally required to move into a position as an environmental engineer, so it would be worth your time to pursue one at some point if that’s a direction that you might want to take in the future.
Before you enroll in an engineering program, you should make sure that it’s accredited by ABET. If it isn’t accredited, it may be more difficult to find employment.
If you’re still in high school and you’re considering a career as an environmental engineering technician, it would be beneficial to take as many math and science courses as possible.
There are currently 18,800 environmental engineering technicians in the United States, with 820 new environmental engineering technician job openings created each year.
Environmental Engineering Technician jobs are not expected to see much growth beyond their current levels in the next decade.
Environmental Engineering Technician Salaries
Environmental Engineering Technician salaries can vary depending on your experience, the location, company, industry, and benefits provided. Nationwide, most environmental engineering technicians make between $35,100 – $59,200 per year, or $16.87 – $28.45 per hour.