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What Does an Environmental Field Technician Do?

It’s unusual for a job to combine time in the field with time in the laboratory, but this one does. Environmental field technicians — also known as environmental science and protection technicians — monitor the environment for pollution. They take samples of air, soil and water and conduct field and laboratory tests. If those samples include contaminants, they help determine and monitor the source of contamination.

These technicians often work alongside scientists and engineers to investigate environmental problems or to comply with environmental regulations. They also may respond to emergencies that may impact human health. They primarily work for local governments and consulting firms for a wide variety of industries.

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$ 27,000 - $ 81,000
$ 47,000
4,350+
An environmental field technician collects a water sample
Environmental field technicians often take samples in the field to test water or air quality or other factors that affect public health. (Credit: Pearl PhotoPix/Shutterstock)
A Day In the Life
Image
Julio Dejesus, environmental technician ambassador
A Day In the Life

Julio Dejesus was a forklift driver at a warehouse — a job he didn’t find rewarding — until a friend introduced him to a different line of work. As an environmental field technician, he was able to learn on the job and before long, he was promoted. Now he runs a crew of 10 technicians, including drivers.

“From the first day, I knew this was the job for me,” says Julio.

He gets satisfaction from his job by solving the puzzle that each new project presents — and making customers happy in the process.

Job Responsibilities
  • Collect samples to assess pollution of air, water and soil 
  • Set up instruments for data collection
  • Monitor pollutants from specific sites, such as a smoke stack or runoff from a stream
  • Follow safety regulations
  • Operate equipment such as pumps, vacuums, booms and generators
  • Prepare reports and keep records
  • Discuss testing results
Environmental Field Technician Education + Training

This job typically requires two years of specialized training or an associate degree, but education requirements may vary. Some positions don’t require as much post-secondary training while others require a bachelor’s degree. Technical schools and community colleges offer programs in environmental health, public health or a related field. In some states, environmental field technicians may need a license. Certifications are required for technicians who work with hazardous waste or radon.

You May Be a Good Fit To Become An Environmental Field Technician If You
  • Work well in a team 
  • Have excellent observation skills
  • Like to identify problems and come up with solutions
  • Are able to think critically and logically
  • Strong interest in the natural sciences such as biology and chemistry

Environmental Field Technician Training in Your Area

Coordinates

Natural Science, A.S.

Haskell Indian Nations University
Lawrence (130.4 Miles)
Three Rivers College logo

Environmental Health and Safety Technology, A.A.S.

Three Rivers College
Poplar Bluff (292.5 Miles)
Three Rivers College logo

Environmental Health and Safety Technology, Certificate

Three Rivers College
Poplar Bluff (292.5 Miles)
Three Rivers College logo

Environmental/Occupational Safety & Health Technology, Certificate

Three Rivers College
Poplar Bluff (292.5 Miles)
Lewis and Clark Community College logo

Environmental Science, A.A.S.

Lewis and Clark Community College
Godfrey (326.6 Miles)
Lewis and Clark Community College logo

Environmental Technician Certificate of Proficiency

Lewis and Clark Community College
Godfrey (326.6 Miles)
Austin Community College District logo

Environmental Technology Advanced Technical Certificate

Austin Community College District
Austin (481.5 Miles)
Austin Community College District logo

Environmental Technology, A.A.S.

Austin Community College District
Austin (481.5 Miles)
Austin Community College District logo

Environmental Technology Level 1 Certificate

Austin Community College District
Austin (481.5 Miles)
Austin Community College District logo

Environmental Technology Level 2 Certificate

Austin Community College District
Austin (481.5 Miles)
Eastern New Mexico University - Roswell Campus logo

Occupational Safety Engineering and Environmental Management Technologies, A.A.S.

Eastern New Mexico University - Roswell Campus
Roswell (561.5 Miles)
Milwaukee Area Technical College logo

Environmental Health and Water Quality Technology Associate Degree

Milwaukee Area Technical College
Milwaukee (581.7 Miles)

Find Environmental Field Technician Jobs in Your Area

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Environmental Field Technician