Environmental Health Technician Job Description

Experience as a lab technician or public health worker may help prepare you for a career in environmental health. Keep reading to learn more about how to become an environmental health technician.

Career Definition

Environmental health technicians work with environmental scientists and others to identify, assess, treat and correct environmental problems. Environmental health technicians often work for local, county and state governments; public and private laboratories; and health departments. Common duties of environmental health technicians include collecting samples of water, soil, waste and animal matter; transporting and documenting samples; verifying code and regulatory compliance; investigating complaints; preparing and maintaining records; and other duties as needed.

How to Become an Environmental Health Technician

Required Education

To become an environmental health technician, you'll need a minimum of an associate's degree in a field like applied science, biological science, or public health. Common courses in a 2-year, associate's program that will prepare you for a career in environmental health include environmental science, public health, qualitative methods, biochemistry, social determinants of health and data analysis. Knowledge of local, state, and federal rules and regulations related to public health will be helpful in a career as an environmental health technician.

Skills Required

Environmental health technicians need to be precise and focused in their work; solid math and science skills are required for this type of career. A thorough understanding of laboratory, technical and field equipment will help you excel in a career in environmental health.

Employment and Economic Outlook

The employment outlook for environmental science and protection technicians, which includes environmental health technicians, is good; according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment in this field is predicted to grow 19% from 2012-2022. Median hourly earnings in this field as of May 2012 were $19.83.

Alternate Career Options

Biological Technician

With a bachelor's degree in biology or a similar field, these techs secure jobs assisting medical and biological scientists in their lab experiments and tests. The BLS predicted average employment growth of 10% for this occupation from 2012-2022. In 2012, the BLS also reported an annual median salary for biological technicians of $39,750, or $19.11 per hour.

Environmental Engineering Technician

Environmental engineering technicians follow environmental engineers' plans to test and modify the various types of equipment used in environmental pollution cleansing, in addition to collecting necessary samples for testing. Usually an associate's degree in environmental engineering is sufficient to seek employment in this field. According to the BLS in 2012, these techs earned a median wage of $45,350 per year, or $21.80 per hour, and could expect a faster than average increase in available jobs during the 2012-2022 decade, with 18% growth projected.

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