How Do I Become an Environmental Technician?

Misty Amber Brighton

An environmental technician checks areas for contaminants and recommends steps to clean up pollution. This is often done by collecting soil or water samples and then analyzing them in a laboratory. Before you become an environmental technician, it is important to have the right education. You may want to consider an internship so you can get on-the-job training in this field. Once you have the credentials for an environmental technician career, you may apply for positions with private companies or government agencies that use these workers.

An environmental technician may work at a waste management facility.
An environmental technician may work at a waste management facility.

Most employers require an associate’s degree in environmental science for one of these jobs. You may want to check with colleges in your area to find out if this degree program is offered locally. This could be better than taking online classes, as courses in the program may be taught by environmental technicians who are already working in the field within your area. As a result, you may be given networking opportunities that would not be available if you took classes via the Internet.

Some of the subjects you may want to study while you are in college include chemistry and statistics. You will often be asked to analyze various chemicals and calculate percentages of contaminants in a given location after you become an environmental technician. Spending time in a laboratory where you might learn about some of the equipment you will use after you become an environmental technician can also be very helpful. It can be important to know how much practical experience you could obtain in a laboratory before you choose a college to make sure you are getting training that will be useful in this line of work.

Obtaining work experience in this field is often challenging, which means an internship could provide a valuable opportunity for you. While you are checking out colleges, it can be a good idea to see if an internship program might be offered in exchange for college credit. This help you with your educational goals, and also give you on-the-job training that might be considered by future employers.

You can become an environmental technician by working in a waste management facility or a manufacturing plant. These organizations want to stay in compliance with environmental laws, and often hire technicians to help them with this. You might also find employment working for contractors who are engaged to clean up environmental spills. Government agencies are also a source of employment, and many of them list open positions on their websites.

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