The Job title of Environmental Technician really encompasses many different occupations. It means different things in different industries. for example:
In industry, (as opposed to consulting) the environmental technician is primarily responsible for tasks such as proper disposal of the company's waste, and ensuring that the company is in compliance with all federal, state, and local environmental regulations. This can involve inspections, filling out government paperwork, sampling wastes and materials, and hagling with different contractors on the phone. If the company purchases new land, or plans changes in its facilities or processes, the Environmental Technician may be called upon for advice. Often the job of Environmental Technician may involve doing double duty as an Enviromental Health and Safety Manager.
In the Environmental Service field, (also known as the Consulting field), the Term Environmental Technician likewise covers a wide range of areas, however, in many areas the job descriptions of the two are very similar. However there are some key differences.
One of the duties of an Environmental Service firm is to provide many of the services described in the Environmental Technician, section above to smaller firms who either don't need, or can't afford a full-time technician of their own.
Environmental Service firms also provide many services such as:
i. ) Environmental Site Assessments (ESAs) of property being purchased
ii. ) Industrial Hygiene services
iii. )"Third Party" services, where required by law**
iv. ) legal assistance such as 'investigations' for attorneys
v. ) groundwater monitoring in areas where long-term monitoring wells have been installed
vi. ) Classification of wastes for RCRA approved disposal
vii. ) Stack Testing for air emission compliance
viii.) Soil and surface water sampling and monitoring.
ix. )Under Ground Storage Tank (UST) evaluation.
x. )permit writing and consulting for air and water discharges, hazardous waste paperwork
xi. )and many more.
**Third Party services refer to instances where for legal reasons a company cannot peform audits or testing on itself and is required to hire a "third party" contractor to perform those services.
When applying for a job, always read and understand the job descriptions in order to avoid confusion. In a hospital for example, an "Environmental Technician" may often refer to a specially trained custodian who is certified to handle special biological and radioactive wastes. Also, some cities refer to their sanitation workers as "environmental technicians".
Preparing for a job as an Environmental Technician is not as easy as it sounds. You really have to know a little bit about everything. The more areas you know, the better you chances of landing a job. Education generally includes a four-year degree program in Environmental Science perhaps with a minor in a science of your choice.
More often you will find candidates with degrees in chemistry or geology who have taken additional courses or a two-year degree in environmental science. Some positions require engineering degrees. All positions require good math skills. Biology degrees are also useful if you are seeking employment as an environmental technician, but for more specialized and less common positions (for example in the health field) If you want to be an environmental technician (as described above) you might consider majoring in Natural Sciences and specializing in biology or chemistry, environmental science etc.
The course of study should include classes that deal with ecology, environmental law, occupational safety, sampling procedures and math, particularly college algebra and statistis. Good computer skills are a must. Take time in college to learn as much as you can about different word processors and spreadsheets, and explore other technical software such as environmental modeling software, emergency response software (for hazardous materials), network software etc. It all adds up.
When applying for a job as an Environmental Technician It is very important to understand the focus of the company that you are applying to. If that company does groundwater monitoring, then your resume and cover letter should reflect some qualification and interest in that particular position. Often this can be gleaned right from the yellow pages. If the ad says that the company handles groundwater, state in your letter that you are interested in a job as a field technician in ground water.
Various certifications will come into play with these jobs. going out on our own and seeking a certification will greatly enhance you chances of landing a job. Here's some information about
Also, an Intern Position is highly recommended.