a dark blue TraitLab logo
Pricing Sign up

Have an account? Sign in

Career profile Environmental Technician

Also known as Environmental Technician, Laboratory Technician, Public Health Sanitarian, Sanitarian, Water Quality Analyst, Water Quality Specialist

Environmental Technician

Also known as Environmental Technician, Laboratory Technician, Public Health Sanitarian

Interests Profile
  • Investigative
  • Realistic
  • Conventional
Pay Range
$29,280 - $80,530 (annual)
Required Skills
  • Active Listening
  • Reading Comprehension
  • Critical Thinking
Knowledge Areas
  • Biology
  • Law and Government
  • Mathematics
Core tasks
  • Discuss test results and analyses with customers.
  • Record test data and prepare reports, summaries, or charts that interpret test results.
  • Develop or implement programs for monitoring of environmental pollution or radiation.
Is Environmental Technician the right career path for you?

Would Environmental Technician be a good fit for you?

Explore how your personality fits with Environmental Technician and hundreds of other career paths.

Create your free account

What does an Environmental Technician do?

Environmental Technicians perform laboratory and field tests to monitor the environment and investigate sources of pollution, including those that affect health, under the direction of an environmental scientist, engineer, or other specialist.

In addition, Environmental Technicians may collect samples of gases, soil, water, and other materials for testing.

What kind of tasks does an Environmental Technician perform regularly?

Environmental Technicians are often responsible for overseeing or executing some or all of the following tasks:

  • Discuss test results and analyses with customers.
  • Record test data and prepare reports, summaries, or charts that interpret test results.
  • Develop or implement programs for monitoring of environmental pollution or radiation.
  • Investigate hazardous conditions or spills or outbreaks of disease or food poisoning, collecting samples for analysis.
  • Calibrate microscopes or test instruments.
  • Provide information or technical or program assistance to government representatives, employers, or the general public on the issues of public health, environmental protection, or workplace safety.
  • Monitor emission control devices to ensure they are operating properly and comply with state and federal regulations.
  • Collect samples of gases, soils, water, industrial wastewater, or asbestos products to conduct tests on pollutant levels or identify sources of pollution.
  • Inspect sanitary conditions at public facilities.
  • Examine and analyze material for presence and concentration of contaminants, such as asbestos, using variety of microscopes.
  • Inspect workplaces to ensure the absence of health and safety hazards, such as high noise levels, radiation, or potential lighting hazards.
  • Develop or implement site recycling or hazardous waste stream programs.
  • Perform statistical analysis of environmental data.
  • Analyze potential environmental impacts of production process changes, and recommend steps to mitigate negative impacts.
  • Set up equipment or stations to monitor and collect pollutants from sites, such as smoke stacks, manufacturing plants, or mechanical equipment.
  • Distribute permits, closure plans, or cleanup plans.
  • Make recommendations to control or eliminate unsafe conditions at workplaces or public facilities.
  • Maintain files, such as hazardous waste databases, chemical usage data, personnel exposure information, or diagrams showing equipment locations.
  • Calculate amount of pollutant in samples or compute air pollution or gas flow in industrial processes, using chemical and mathematical formulas.

The above responsibilities are specific to Environmental Technicians. More generally, Environmental Technicians are involved in several broader types of activities:

Documenting/Recording Information
Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
Getting Information
Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Working with Computers
Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards
Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.

What is an Environmental Technician salary?

The median salary for an Environmental Technician is $46,850, and the average salary is $50,960. Both the median and average roughly describe the middle of the Environmental Technician salary range, but the average is more easily affected by extremely high or low salaries.

Many Environmental Technicians earn significantly more or less than the average, due to several factors. About 10% of Environmental Technicians earn less than $29,280 per year, 25% earn less than $35,900, 75% earn less than $60,960, and 90% earn less than $80,530.

Between the years of 2020 and 2030, the number of Environmental Technicians is expected to change by 10.5%, and there should be roughly 4,700 open positions for Environmental Technicians every year.

Median annual salary
$46,850
Typical salary range
$29,280 - $80,530
Projected growth (2020 - 2030)
10.5%

What personality traits are common among Environmental Technicians?

Interests

Career interests describe a person's preferences for different types of working environments and activities. When a person's interest match the demands of an occupation, people are usually more engaged and satisfied in that role.

Compared to most occupations, those who work as an Environmental Technician are usually higher in their Investigative and Realistic interests.

Environmental Technicians typically have very strong Investigative interests. Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.

Also, Environmental Technicians typically have strong Realistic interests. Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.

Values

People differ in their values, or what is most important to them for building job satisfaction and fulfillment.

Compared to most people, those working as an Environmental Technician tend to value Achievement, Support, and Relationships.

Most importantly, Environmental Technicians moderately value Achievement. Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment.

Second, Environmental Technicians moderately value Support. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees.

Lastly, Environmental Technicians moderately value Relationships. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment.

Psychological Demands

Each occupation brings its own set of psychological demands, which describe the characteristics necessary to perform the job well.

In order to perform their job successfully, people who work as Environmental Technicians must consistently demonstrate qualities such as integrity, dependability, and attention to detail.

Below, you'll find a list of qualities typically required of Environmental Technicians, ranked by importance:

Integrity
Job requires being honest and ethical.
Dependability
Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Attention to Detail
Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
Analytical Thinking
Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
Initiative
Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.

What education and training do Environmental Technicians need?

Many Environmental Technicians will have a four-year bachelor's degree, but some do not.

Environmental Technicians usually need several years of work-related experience, on-the-job training, and/or vocational training.

Educational degrees among Environmental Technicians

  • 2.3% did not complete high school or secondary school
  • 20.6% completed high school or secondary school
  • 21.4% completed some college coursework
  • 12.5% earned a Associate's degree
  • 34.0% earned a Bachelor's degree
  • 7.8% earned a Master's degree
  • 1.5% earned a doctorate or professional degree

Knowledge and expertise required by Environmental Technicians

Environmental Technicians may benefit from understanding of specialized subject areas, such as biology, law and government, or mathematics knowledge.

The list below shows several areas in which most Environmental Technicians might want to build proficiency, ranked by importance.

Biology
Knowledge of plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, interdependencies, and interactions with each other and the environment.
Law and Government
Knowledge of laws, legal codes, court procedures, precedents, government regulations, executive orders, agency rules, and the democratic political process.
Mathematics
Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
Customer and Personal Service
Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
Chemistry
Knowledge of the chemical composition, structure, and properties of substances and of the chemical processes and transformations that they undergo. This includes uses of chemicals and their interactions, danger signs, production techniques, and disposal methods.

Important Abilities needed by Environmental Technicians

Environmental Technicians must develop a particular set of abilities to perform their job well. Abilities are individual capacities that influence a person's information processing, sensory perception, motor coordination, and physical strength or endurance. Individuals may naturally have certain abilities without explicit training, but most abilities can be sharpened somewhat through practice.

For example, Environmental Technicians need abilities such as oral comprehension, written comprehension, and oral expression in order to perform their job at a high level. The list below shows several important abilities for Environmental Technicians, ranked by their relative importance.

Oral Comprehension
The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
Written Comprehension
The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
Oral Expression
The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
Problem Sensitivity
The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing that there is a problem.
Written Expression
The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.

Critical Skills needed by Environmental Technicians

Skills are developed capacities that enable people to function effectively in real-world settings. Unlike abilities, skills are typically easier to build through practice and experience. Skills influence effectiveness in areas such as learning, working with others, design, troubleshooting, and more.

Environmental Technicians frequently use skills like active listening, reading comprehension, and critical thinking to perform their job effectively. The list below shows several critical skills for Environmental Technicians, ranked by their relative importance.

Active Listening
Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Reading Comprehension
Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work-related documents.
Critical Thinking
Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
Speaking
Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Writing
Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.

What is the source of this information?

The information provided on this page is adapted from data and descriptions published by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration under the CC BY 4.0 license. TraitLab has modified some information for ease of use and reading, and the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment, and Training Administration has not approved, endorsed, or tested these modifications.

If you have any questions or suggestions about this information, please send a message.