Environmental Science and Protection Technicians

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Also known as:
Environmental Technician, Laboratory Technician, Public Health Sanitarian, Sanitarian, Water Quality Analyst, Water Quality Specialist

ABOUT ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE AND PROTECTION TECHNICIAN CAREERS
Video transcript

Working to keep ecosystems safe and protect public health, environmental science and protection technicians observe the environment and investigate sources of pollution and contamination. In consulting firms, these technicians help their clients keep an eye on environmental impacts and comply with regulations. They develop cleanup plans for contaminated sites, and recommend ways to eliminate pollution. Government environmental science and protection technicians inspect businesses and public places, and follow up on environmental or health-related complaints. They may perform environmental impact studies of new construction, or evaluate sites that could contaminate the environment, such as abandoned factories. When employed by testing laboratories, technicians collect and track samples, and perform tests. They may also gather samples in the field. Fieldwork is often physically demanding, including long hours walking, carrying heavy equipment, and frequent bending and crouching to set up and monitor equipment. Protective gear such as hardhats and masks is required in some settings, and weather conditions can be difficult. Environmental science and protection technicians typically work full time. Travel to meet with clients or for fieldwork can require additional or irregular hours. Most jobs require an associate's degree in environmental studies or a related technology, such as remote sensing or geographic information systems, although some positions require only high school, and others, a bachelor's degree.

SNAPSHOT
Perform laboratory and field tests to monitor the environment and investigate sources of pollution, including those that affect health, under the direction of an environmental scientist, engineer, or other specialist. May collect samples of gases, soil, water, and other materials for testing.
Critical decision making
HIGH
Level of responsibilities
HIGH
Job challenge and pressure to meet deadlines
MED
Dealing and handling conflict
LOW
Competition for this position
HIGH
Communication with others
HIGH
Work closely with team members, clients etc.
HIGH
Comfort of the work setting
HIGH
Exposure to extreme environmental conditions
LOW
Exposure to job hazards
LOW
Physical demands
LOW
Daily tasks

Develop or implement site recycling or hazardous waste stream programs.

Calculate amount of pollutant in samples or compute air pollution or gas flow in industrial processes, using chemical and mathematical formulas.

Inspect workplaces to ensure the absence of health and safety hazards, such as high noise levels, radiation, or potential lighting hazards.

Investigate hazardous conditions or spills or outbreaks of disease or food poisoning, collecting samples for analysis.

Set up equipment or stations to monitor and collect pollutants from sites, such as smoke stacks, manufacturing plants, or mechanical equipment.

Calibrate microscopes or test instruments.

Analyze potential environmental impacts of production process changes, and recommend steps to mitigate negative impacts.

Make recommendations to control or eliminate unsafe conditions at workplaces or public facilities.

Develop or implement programs for monitoring of environmental pollution or radiation.

Monitor emission control devices to ensure they are operating properly and comply with state and federal regulations.

Perform statistical analysis of environmental data.

MAIN ACTIVITIES
Documenting/Recording Information Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
Interacting With Computers Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
Making Decisions and Solving Problems Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
AREAS OF KNOWLEDGE
English Language Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
Biology Knowledge of plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, interdependencies, and interactions with each other and the environment.
Law and Government Knowledge of laws, legal codes, court procedures, precedents, government regulations, executive orders, agency rules, and the democratic political process.
Mathematics Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
Customer and Personal Service Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
Chemistry Knowledge of the chemical composition, structure, and properties of substances and of the chemical processes and transformations that they undergo. This includes uses of chemicals and their interactions, danger signs, production techniques, and disposal methods.
Engineering and Technology Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.
Computers and Electronics Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
TOP SKILLS
Active Listening Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Reading Comprehension Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
Critical Thinking Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
Speaking Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Science Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.
Writing Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
Complex Problem Solving Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
Social Perceptiveness Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.