Environmental engineering technicians carry out the plans that environmental engineers develop.
What they do
Environmental engineering technicians typically do the following:
- Set up, test, operate, and modify equipment used to prevent or clean up environmental pollution
- Maintain project records and computer program files
- Conduct pollution surveys, for which they collect and analyze samples, such as samples of air and ground water
- Perform indoor and outdoor work on environmental quality
- Work to mitigate sources of environmental pollution
- Review technical documents to ensure their completeness and conformance to requirements
- Review work plans to schedule activities
- Arrange for the disposal of lead, asbestos, and other hazardous materials
In laboratories, environmental engineering technicians record observations, test results, and document photographs. To keep laboratories supplied, they also may gather product information, identify vendors and suppliers, and order materials and equipment.
Environmental engineering technicians help environmental engineers develop devices used to clean up environmental pollution. They also inspect facilities for compliance with the regulations that govern substances such as asbestos, lead, and wastewater.
Environmental engineering technicians work under the direction of engineers and as part of a team with other technicians. They must be able to work well with both supervisors and peers.
Environmental engineering technicians typically work indoors, usually in laboratories, and often have regular working hours. They also work outdoors, sometimes in remote locations.
Because environmental engineering technicians help out in environmental cleanup, they can be exposed to hazards from equipment, chemicals, or toxic materials. For this reason, they must follow proper safety procedures, such as wearing hazmat suits and sometimes respirators, even in warm weather. When they work in wet areas, environmental engineering technicians wear heavy rubber boots to keep their legs and feet dry.
How to become an Environmental Engineering Technician
Environmental engineering technicians typically need an associate degree in environmental engineering technology or a related field.
Environmental engineering technicians typically need an associate degree in environmental engineering technology or a related field. Programs in environmental engineering technology generally include courses in mathematics, chemistry, hazardous-waste management, and environmental assessment, among others.
Programs can be found in vocational–technical schools and community colleges. Both types of school offer similar programs, but community colleges include more theory-based and liberal arts coursework. Some environmental engineering technicians enter the occupation with a bachelor’s degree in a natural science, such as biology or chemistry.
ABET accredits engineering and engineering technology programs at the associate’s level and above.
Prospective engineering technicians should take as many high school science and math courses as possible to prepare for programs in engineering technology after high school.
The median annual wage for environmental engineering technicians was $50,620 in May 2019. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $32,610, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $82,930.
Employment of environmental engineering technicians is projected to grow 7 percent from 2019 to 2029, faster than the average for all occupations.
Employment in this occupation is typically tied to projects created by environmental engineers. State and local governments are expected to focus their efforts and resources on efficient water use, storm water management, and wastewater treatment over the next decade. The demand for more environmental technicians by consulting firms will arise as governments and larger firms look to reduce costs.
Similar Job Titles
Air Quality Instrument Specialist, Engineer Technician, Environmental Engineering Assistant, Environmental Engineering Technician, Environmental Field Technician, Environmental Specialist, Environmental Technician, Haz Tech (Hazardous Technician), Industrial Waste Inspector, Senior Environmental Technician
Robotics Technician, Mechanical Engineering Technician, Geological Sample Test Technician, Environmental Science and Protection Technician (including Health), Precision Agriculture Technician
The trade associations listed below represent organizations made up of people (members) who work and promote advancement in the field. Members are very interested in telling others about their work and about careers in those areas. As well, trade associations provide opportunities for organizational networking and learning more about the field’s trends and directions.
- Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology
- Air and Waste Management Association
- American Academy of Environmental Engineers and Scientists
- American Society of Civil Engineers
- American Water Works Association
- National Association of Environmental Professionals
- National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies
- National Registry of Environmental Professionals
- National Society of Professional Engineers
Magazines and Publications
- EM Magazine
- Environmental Science and Engineering Magazine
- National Society of Black Engineers Magazine
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 degree in environmental engineering technology or a related field is required to enter the field. High school science and math courses are helpful.
Content retrieved from: US Bureau of Labor Statistics-OOH www.bls.gov/ooh,
CareerOneStop www.careeronestop.org, O*Net Online www.onetonline.org