What an Environmental Science and Protection Technician Does

Public health is often affected by the environment. If there is some type of contamination or pollution making people ill, it’s up to environmental science and protection technicians to help find the cause and solution.

Daily duties will include:

  • Inspections for environmental hazards
  • Using equipment to monitor for health and safety hazards
  • Collecting environmental samples such as air or soil for analysis
  • Making sure samples are labeled and tracked correctly
  • Using tools of the trade like a microscope to analyze and study samples
  • Documenting and discussing with colleagues your discoveries and findings
  • Working under the supervision of environmental scientists and specialists

You’ll find work within consulting firms, state or local governments, or within labs. Your duties will vary depending on where you’re employed.

How to Become an Environmental Science and Protection Technician

As an environmental science and protection technician, you’ll find yourself working in a variety of places such as a lab, in the field, or in an office. Depending on where you are will determine what you do, but it’s the same educational path regardless.

To become an environmental science and protection technician, you’ll:

  • Need a high school diploma or GED.
  • You’ll find some places that will train on the job, but most employers are looking for at least an associate’s degree.
  • Get your associate’s degree in environmental science, environmental health, public health, or another related field.
  • Take sciences such as chemistry, geology, biology, also; math, computer science, and statistics.
  • Take classes that include the appropriate lab work.
  • Receive OSHA-compliant training if you’re going to be handling any type of hazardous waste for your job.
  • Some states may require you to have licensing, especially if you’re handling radon or any kind of sanitation.

 

With an associate’s degree, you can transfer and get your bachelor’s degree to be eligible for more advanced positions.

Salary and Job Outlook

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, your median annual salary is $45K. Entry level is over $28K, and after five years, you may be earning over $77K. However, salary is dependent not only on experience, but the industry and state in which you work. Local government will pay the highest salaries, while testing labs pay the lowest.

 

A 12 percent employment growth is predicted between now and 2026. What this means is that this career is growing faster than most others, and there will be 4,200 new positions opening.