Environmental pollution makes headlines in the news from time to time, but it’s the top concern every day for environmental engineering technicians. They run the equipment and collect test samples that monitor air and water quality to help keep the public healthy and secure. Environmental engineering technicians carry out the plans that environmental engineers develop. They operate equipment used to prevent or clean up environmental pollution, and modify the equipment to meet a particular need. They collect air and water samples, and work to mitigate sources of environmental pollution, including lead, asbestos, and other hazardous materials. In laboratories, and when inspecting facilities for compliance, these technicians record observations and test results. Some are responsible for maintaining supplies in their laboratories. Most technicians work full-time, regular business hours, in labs. If called on to contain a major environmental threat, or perform other work in a remote location, longer hours are common. Environmental engineering technicians can be exposed to hazards, and may need to wear hazmat suits, heavy rubber boots, and sometimes respirators, even in warm weather. Most environmental engineering technicians work in engineering services, consulting services, government, waste management, and manufacturing. An associate’s degree in environmental engineering technology or a related field is required to enter the field. High school science and math courses are helpful.
What they do:
Apply theory and principles of environmental engineering to modify, test, and operate equipment and devices used in the prevention, control, and remediation of environmental problems, including waste treatment and site remediation, under the direction of engineering staff or scientists. May assist in the development of environmental remediation devices.
On the job, you would:
Maintain project logbook records or computer program files.
Record laboratory or field data, including numerical data, test results, photographs, or summaries of visual observations.
Perform environmental quality work in field or office settings.
Engineering and Technology
product and service development
Math and Science
arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, or statistics
Arts and Humanities
listening to others, not interrupting, and asking good questions
reading work related information
noticing a problem and figuring out the best way to solve it
People and Technology Systems
thinking about the pros and cons of different options and picking the best one
figuring out how a system should work and how changes in the future will affect it
read and understand what is written
communicate by speaking
Ideas and Logic
make general rules or come up with answers from lots of detailed information
use rules to solve problems
pay attention to something without being distracted
add, subtract, multiply, or divide
People interested in this work like activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions.
They do well at jobs that need:
Attention to Detail
You might use software like this on the job:
Analytical or scientific software
The MathWorks MATLAB
Material safety data sheet MSDS software
Waste management software
bachelor's degree or high school diploma/GED usually needed