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Environment Monitoring Technician: Job Description and Requirements

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become an environment monitoring technician. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about degree programs, job duties and certification to find out if this is the career for you.

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Environment monitoring technicians conduct tests to find pollutants in soil, gas and water, among other substances. They prepare reports to detail their findings, which can be used to achieve differing goals, such as discovering new pollutants or confirming the causes of harmful chemicals within an environment. Educational requirements for these positions can range from a high school diploma to a degree in a field related to environmental science.

Essential Information

An environment monitoring technician tests for pollutant materials in an environment and may work with gathered samples in a laboratory or directly on various sites such as landfills, factories, refineries or chemical plants. Educational requirements for this profession vary by employer, with some accepting a high school diploma while others require an associate's or bachelor's degree. Training and certification may also be required for this position.

Required Education Some employers require high school diploma or GED, while others prefer candidates with an associate's or bachelor's degree in environmental science or related field
Other Requirements Training or relevant experience may be necessary; certification for hazardous waste may also be required
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 5% (for biological technicians)
Mean Salary (2015)* $45,230 (for biological technicians)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Job Description for an Environment Monitoring Technician

An environment monitoring technician tests materials to check for pollutants at a specific site. The technician is responsible for recording the test data and making reports, charts and summaries on the results. An environment monitoring technician may be responsible for collecting samples for testing, such as gases, soils, asbestos products, wastes or water. The technician may be involved in controlling pollution or identifying sources of pollutants. Some work in laboratories and others in factories or warehouses. Technicians who work outdoors may need weather preparedness and navigation abilities and equipment.

Duties of an environment monitoring technician, besides testing samples and documenting results, may include responding to and investigating hazardous spills, calibrating test instruments, making recommendations to fix hazardous conditions, determining solutions to destroy harmful organisms and impurities and maintaining file databases on hazardous waste, chemical usage, personnel exposure and equipment location diagrams. An environment monitoring technician may work under an environmental scientist or specialist. The growth rate of employment for biological technicians is expected to be 5% between 2014 and 2024, which is about average compared with the projected national average for all occupations, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The BLS also reported the mean annual salary for biological technicians was $45,230 in May 2015 (www.bls.gov).

Education and Career Requirements for an Environment Monitoring Technician

Some employers require an associate's or bachelor's degree in a relevant field, such as environmental science, while others may just require a high school diploma or GED. Knowledge required for an environment monitoring technician position includes chemistry, physics, mathematics and statistics, relevant policies and procedures, government regulations, biology and data processing. Employers may require work experience, which can be acquired from an internship, training program or entry-level job. Employers may also require Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response (HAZWOPER) certification, administered by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which requires 40 hours of training, 3 days of field experience and annual refresher training.

In addition to conducting tests, environment monitoring technicians might need to provide solutions for rectifying the hazardous state of a site or for eliminating organisms that are considered harmful. Many of these professionals are also responsible for calibrating equipment and maintaining various databases about studies in chemical usage or hazardous wastes, so they should be knowledgeable in subjects such as math, chemistry, stats and data processing. Some employers require candidates to hold the Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response credential, which must be renewed annually.

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