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Environmental Lab Technician Certification and Certificate Programs

Environmental lab technicians help scientists analyze environmental materials and ensure that they meet government regulations. Certificate programs in environmental technology offer basic knowledge in this field through courses in science and lab procedures. Environmental lab technicians do not need to be certified. Read on for more information, including career options for graduates.

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Essential Information

Students enrolled in an environmental technology certificate program must first learn the basic skills and procedures involved in working in a laboratory setting and how to apply those techniques towards environmental research. Such programs often include preliminary training in general chemistry and laboratory science as well as environmental regulations and law. Students also spend practical, hands-on course hours learning how to collect and prepare environmental samples for lab analysis.

Students learn to compile test results, set up laboratories for environmental testing procedures, assist scientists in the analysis of natural materials, maintain a sterile workplace and meet environmental regulations. Most programs take about a year to complete. Graduates of an environmental lab technology program do not have to obtain certification in order to secure a position.

Education Prerequisites

Certificate programs in environmental technology and environmental laboratory science are most typically offered through community colleges and require incoming students to hold a high school diploma or GED. Students should also have a high school background in laboratory science, physical science and mathematics.

Program Coursework

Many of the courses found within a certificate program in environmental technology take place within a laboratory setting and cover practical procedures and regulations in the field. Some examples of those and other typical courses include:

  • Environmental laboratory procedures
  • Environmental regulations
  • Environmental law
  • Earth science
  • Sample analysis
  • Hazardous waste management
  • Geology
  • Chemistry

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

Environmental science and protection technicians held 29,600 jobs in 2010, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics ( The employment rate for these workers is predicted to rise by 24% between 2010 and 2020, which is faster than average growth for all occupations. The median annual wage in the field during 2012 was $41,240.

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Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics