Environmental Technician - Doing Your Bit To Save The Environment

An environmental technician is somebody who collects samples of air, water and soil for testing in the lab to determine its constituents and the presence of any harmful substances. Specialized equipment is required for sample collection and the information obtained can later be used engineers and researchers to study and eliminate the harmful substances in them. At least an associate degree is required to become a practicing environmental technician. Job opportunities are in plenty and it can earn you a decent salary as well.

Educational qualification

Biology, physics, chemistry, basic math, knowledge in computers and good writing and communication skills developed in the high school stage is essential to qualify for an associate degree program. Environmental engineering is also an option as a bachelor's degree. Some jobs, especially those offered by the government need certification and licenses' to be able to apply. Many community colleges also offer specialized courses that deal with ecology, conservation and pollution control. Higher studies include Masters and PhD programs in specific areas of interest. The requirements of different employers vary but most jobs are being filled with people who have at least an associate degree.

Job Description

Taking samples from areas suspected of contamination, monitoring these samples and doing tests on them to check for actual presence of toxins is what an environmental technician would be doing on most days. He will also most likely be responsible for preparing reports about the findings in these samples and interacting with the clients or higher authority so as to inform them of the test results. Most of the time will be spent indoors in comfortable conditions but some time will have to be spent outdoors collecting samples. A certain amount of travelling is also to be expected if you do get placed as an environment technician.

Possible Job Opportunities

Environmental technicians are required by most companies that have a manufacturing unit that uses chemicals or some form of unnatural, non-biodegradable substances. They will need technicians to constantly check the toxicity of the waste that is produced. Water treatment plants, air and water purification systems and solid waste management plants require constant monitoring by an environmental technician. Opportunities are also available in organizations that are involved with environment conservation and remediation. Environmental technicians also have the opportunity to work as consultants offering their expertise to companies when required or be part of a consulting firm.

Areas of Expertise

The areas of expertise include waste or sewage water management, waste disposal, recycling, air pollution control, industrial hygiene, radiation protection, public health issues and environmental sustainability. Measuring the impact of proposed construction on the environment is another area that has been gaining importance in recent years. Environmental technicians can also put to use their knowledge in treatment of hazardous waste materials and remediation of land that has been contaminated by waste. There are basically two things that a technician can focus on- preservation of undamaged environment or reviving what is or has already been damaged by the reckless activities of people.