How to Become an Environmental Technician


Career Path Guide

To become an environmental technician, you need broad scientific knowledge and technical skills, as well as a desire to contribute to the conservation and protection of our natural resources.


To find out the details of what it take to get into this line of work, read on below. Included is an overview of the education, skills and traits you'll need, as well as helpful occupational information, such as a general job description, job duties, salary expectations, a list of possible employers and much more!



Education To Become an Environmental Technician

To qualify for work as an environmental technician (also known as environmental technologists), you'll need at least a diploma or associate's degree related to "environmental technology". Having a bachelor’s degree in "environmental science" is typically not a requirement, but is usually considered an asset in the eyes of employers.





Accreditation Needed

Depending on the state or province in which you plan to work as an environmental technician, you may need to obtain a license or certification. As these criteria can vary from region to region, speak with your local state or provincial government for more information.



General Job Description

Environmental technicians perform laboratory and field tests under the direction of environmental scientists in order to monitor the environment and investigate sources of pollution.



Environmental Technician Job Duties

• Use specialized equipment to test air, water and soil for levels of pollutants

• Manage the disposal of hazardous materials

• Ensure the proper clean up of polluted sites

• Ensure activities are compliant with environmental regulations and legislation

• Receive direction from environmental scientists



Who Employs Them?

There are many organizations representing a variety of industry sectors that are interested in acquiring and retaining individuals with the skills, knowledge and competencies possessed by environmental technicians; examples include:


• Conservation organizations

• Environmental advocacy organizations

• Federal, provincial, and municipal governments

• Local land-use organizations

• Oil, gas and mining companies

• Private consulting companies





Typical Salary Levels

According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary of Environmental Science and Protection Technicians was $41,380 USD in May 2010.


According to ECO Canada, Environmental technicians working in an entry-level job earn between $33,000 and $36,500 per year in Canada, and an environmental technician with a few years of experience and further education can make between $45,500 and $70,500 per year.


Please Note: The salary level for environmental technicians can vary widely depending on many factors, such as who the employer is, how much experience the technician has and others.



Career Advancement Possibilities

With a few years of working experience, environmental technicians may be able to advance into roles of greater responsibility, such as supervisory or management positions. If they demonstrate sufficient competence and the right attitude, they may also be able to pursue roles such as environmental compliance inspector.


After earning a masters or doctorate degree, environmental technicians may be able to advance to environmental scientist or analyst positions. 



Working Conditions

Work Environment: Environmental technicians typically perform their jobs in a combination of settings; including laboratories, offices and fieldwork. Fieldwork typically offers a variety of work settings for environmental technicians; for example, a technician may have to investigate a chemical spill inside a manufacturing facility or perform water quality testing in lakes and rivers.


While performing fieldwork, environmental technicians must remain standing or crouching for long periods of time. They must also carry, assemble and utilize equipment, which involves lights duty lifting and frequent movement.


Working Hours: Environmental technicians often work regular office weekday hours, although their hours may extend into evenings and weekends on occasion to perform certain job duties, such as performing fieldwork or meeting with clients.



Environmental Technician Jobs

Our job board below has "environmental technician" postings in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia.




Similar Career Profiles in Our Database

Listed below are jobs that are similar in nature to "environmental technician", as they may involve many of the same skills, competencies and responsibilities.


Biological Technologist

Environmental Auditor

Forest Technician

Geoscience Technician




Please use the references below to find more information on the various aspects of a career as an environmental technician.


Life, Physical, and Social Science:Environmental Science and Protection Technicians.” (September 4, 2019. Occupational Outlook Handbook - United States Bureau of Labor Statistics website. Retrieved November 17, 2019.

Career Profiles:Environmental Technician.” (n.d.). ECO Canada website. Retrieved November 17, 2019.

Faculty of Applied Science & Technology:Environmental Technician.” (February, 2019.). Sheridan College website. Retrieved November 17, 2019.



Scholarships for Becoming an Environmental Technician

Scholarships in our system that are relevant for becoming an environmental technician are all of those that are found on our Botany Scholarships, Environmental Science Scholarships and Geology Scholarships pages.


Success Tip: Be sure to apply for any scholarships that you even barely qualify for, as there are millions of dollars of scholarships that go unused every year due to a lack of applicants!



Applicable Majors

Studying one of the university majors listed below is an excellent starting point for getting into this line of work. Click on the links to find out what else you can do with these majors!


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