Environmental Science and Protection Technician

What Does an Environmental Science and Protection Technician Do?
Environmental science and protection technicians do scientific tests and lab experiments to study natural resources, as well as identify contaminants and pollutants in the environment. Environmental science and protection technicians are concerned with harmful emissions and pollution, especially as it affects public health. They direct much of their attention and efforts toward understanding the sources of pollution, so they can help environmental scientists and specialists find preventative measures for pollution. Some technicians handle waste management operations and regulations, including the disposal of hazardous materials. Others keep inventory on hazardous materials and monitor public compliance. Technicians often collect samples of soils, water and gases for testing pollutant levels and reducing the sources of pollution. They record data and develop reports or documents that interpret their results, which may be used later to design and enforce programs that monitor pollution. Environmental science and protection technicians may find employment at private consulting firms, petroleum and coal products manufacturing industries and local governments.

What Is the Employment and Salary Outlook for an Environmental Science and Protection Technician?
The employment and salary outlook for environmental science and protection technicians is expected to be positive, as more businesses and government entities require environmental regulations to keep areas safe. By 2018, the employment rate for environmental science and protection technicians will increase by 29 percent. This substantial job growth can be attributed to the need to regulate waste products for space and hazardous reasons. In addition, more technicians will be needed to collect resources and measure their levels of pollutants to better understand the cause of contaminants and learn how to fix them. As the population increases and more waste is produced, technicians will be hired to clean up contaminated sites and monitor public compliance with environmental regulations. With more job opportunities in the future, environmental science and protection technicians can also expect competitive salaries. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, technicians made an average salary of $40,230 in 2008, with the highest employment levels in management, scientific and technical consulting services. The majority of this occupation’s growth will be in firms that help other companies in environmental management and regulations.

How Can I Become an Environmental Science and Protection Technician?
To become an environmental science and protection technicians, you must first earn an associate degree in applied science or another science-related field. An associate degree will introduce you to college-level sciences and math, but it also provides hands-on training in laboratory equipment and testing procedures that are used in professional work. After completing a two-year associate degree program, you will be ready to start an entry-level job as a technician working in many engineering or science fields. With your understanding of pollutants, contaminants and other environmental materials, you will be able to handle complex assignments and procedures that require this knowledge. In addition, your ability to communicate in a professional manner, combined with a strong understanding of your environment, will make you an ideal candidate in an environmental science and protection technician occupation.