Environmental Engineering Technicians

Summary

environmental engineering technicians image
Environmental engineering technicians conduct pollution surveys, for which they collect and analyze samples such as air and ground water.
Quick Facts: Environmental Engineering Technicians
2016 Median Pay $49,170 per year
$23.64 per hour
Typical Entry-Level Education Associate's degree
Work Experience in a Related Occupation None
On-the-job Training None
Number of Jobs, 2016 17,000
Job Outlook, 2016-26 13% (Faster than average)
Employment Change, 2016-26 2,200

What Environmental Engineering Technicians Do

Environmental engineering technicians carry out the plans that environmental engineers develop. They test, operate, and, if necessary, modify equipment used to prevent or clean up environmental pollution. They may collect samples for testing, or they may work to mitigate sources of environmental pollution.

Work Environment

Most environmental engineering technicians work full time. They typically work indoors, usually in laboratories, and often have regular working hours. However, they must sometimes work irregular hours in order to monitor operations.

How to Become an Environmental Engineering Technician

Environmental engineering technicians typically need an associate’s degree in environmental engineering technology or a related field.

Pay

The median annual wage for environmental engineering technicians was $49,170 in May 2016.

Job Outlook

Employment of environmental engineering technicians is projected to grow 13 percent from 2016 to 2026, faster than the average for all occupations. Employment in this occupation typically is tied to projects created by environmental engineers. State and local governments’ concerns regarding water availability and quality should lead to efforts to increase the efficiency of water use.

State & Area Data

Explore resources for employment and wages by state and area for environmental engineering technicians.

Similar Occupations

Compare the job duties, education, job growth, and pay of environmental engineering technicians with similar occupations.

More Information, Including Links to O*NET

Learn more about environmental engineering technicians by visiting additional resources, including O*NET, a source on key characteristics of workers and occupations.

What Environmental Engineering Technicians Do About this section

Environmental engineering technicians
Environmental engineering technicians collect water samples.

Environmental engineering technicians carry out the plans that environmental engineers develop.

Duties

Environmental engineering technicians typically do the following:

  • Set up, test, operate, and modify equipment used to prevent or clean up environmental pollution
  • Maintain project records and computer program files
  • Conduct pollution surveys, for which they collect and analyze samples, such as samples of air and ground water
  • Perform indoor and outdoor work on environmental quality
  • Work to mitigate sources of environmental pollution
  • Review technical documents to ensure their completeness and conformance to requirements
  • Review work plans to schedule activities
  • Arrange for the disposal of lead, asbestos, and other hazardous materials

In laboratories, environmental engineering technicians record observations, test results, and document photographs. To keep laboratories supplied, they also may gather product information, identify vendors and suppliers, and order materials and equipment.

Environmental engineering technicians help environmental engineers develop devices used to clean up environmental pollution. They also inspect facilities for compliance with the regulations that govern substances such as asbestos, lead, and wastewater.

Work Environment About this section

Environmental engineering technicians
Environmental engineering technicians must wear protective gear when they are working outdoors on environmental remediation.

Environmental engineering technicians held about 17,000 jobs in 2016. The largest employers of environmental engineering technicians were as follows:

Management, scientific, and technical consulting services 24%
Engineering services 23
Government 18
Waste management and remediation services 9
Manufacturing 5

Environmental engineering technicians work under the direction of engineers and as part of a team with other technicians. They must be able to work well with both supervisors and peers.

Environmental engineering technicians typically work indoors, usually in laboratories, and often have regular working hours. They also work outdoors, sometimes in remote locations.

Because environmental engineering technicians help out in environmental cleanup, they can be exposed to hazards from equipment, chemicals, or toxic materials. For this reason, they must follow proper safety procedures, such as wearing hazmat suits and sometimes respirators, even in warm weather. When they work in wet areas, environmental engineering technicians wear heavy rubber boots to keep their legs and feet dry.

Work Schedules

Most environmental engineering technicians work full time and typically have regular hours. However, they must sometimes work irregular hours in order to monitor operations or contain a major environmental threat.

How to Become an Environmental Engineering Technician About this section

Environmental engineering technicians
Environmental engineering technicians perform indoor and outdoor environmental quality work.

Environmental engineering technicians typically need an associate’s degree in environmental engineering technology or a related field.

Education

Environmental engineering technicians typically need an associate’s degree in environmental engineering technology or a related field. Programs in environmental engineering technology generally include courses in mathematics, chemistry, hazardous-waste management, and environmental assessment, among others.

Programs can be found in vocational–technical schools and community colleges. Both types of school offer similar programs, but community colleges include more theory-based and liberal arts coursework. Some environmental engineering technicians enter the occupation with a bachelor’s degree in a natural science, such as biology or chemistry.

ABET accredits engineering and engineering technology programs at the associate’s level and above.

Prospective engineering technicians should take as many high school science and math courses as possible to prepare for programs in engineering technology after high school.

Important Qualities

Communication skills. When working on teams, environmental engineering technicians must listen well and report back to their group or team leader.

Critical-thinking skills. Environmental engineers rely on environmental engineering technicians to help identify problems and solutions and to implement the engineers’ plans. To do these tasks, technicians must be able to think critically and logically.

Observational skills. Environmental engineering technicians are the eyes and ears of environmental engineers and must assume responsibility for properly evaluating situations onsite. These technicians must recognize problems so that the environmental engineers are informed as quickly as possible.

Problem-solving skills. Environmental engineering technicians implement plans designed by engineers. They often operate and maintain complex machinery. They must devise solutions to problems, such as mechanical breakdowns or unexpected findings at a worksite.

Reading skills. Environmental engineering technicians must be able to read and understand legal and technical documents in order to ensure that regulatory requirements are being met.

Training

Some environmental technician positions require training on working with hazardous materials in accordance with Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) standards.

Advancement

Environmental engineering technicians usually begin work as trainees in entry-level positions supervised by an environmental engineer or a more experienced technician. As they gain experience, technicians take on more responsibility and carry out assignments under general supervision. Some eventually enter positions as senior environmental technicians or lead environmental technicians, who function as supervisors when onsite.

Technicians with a bachelor’s degree often are able to advance to become environmental engineers.

Pay About this section

Environmental Engineering Technicians

Median annual wages, May 2016

Drafters, engineering technicians, and mapping technicians

$54,940

Environmental engineering technicians

$49,170

Total, all occupations

$37,040

 

The median annual wage for environmental engineering technicians was $49,170 in May 2016. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $29,820, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $80,780.

In May 2016, the median annual wages for environmental engineering technicians in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:

Manufacturing $54,720
Government 52,050
Management, scientific, and technical consulting services 48,940
Engineering services 48,900
Waste management and remediation services 41,830

Most environmental engineering technicians work full time and typically have regular hours. However, they must sometimes work irregular hours in order to monitor operations or contain a major environmental threat.

Job Outlook About this section

Environmental Engineering Technicians

Percent change in employment, projected 2016-26

Environmental engineering technicians

13%

Total, all occupations

7%

Drafters, engineering technicians, and mapping technicians

6%

 

Employment of environmental engineering technicians is projected to grow 13 percent from 2016 to 2026, faster than the average for all occupations.

Employment in this occupation is typically tied to projects created by environmental engineers. State and local governments are expected to focus their efforts and resources on efficient water use, storm water management, and wastewater treatment over the next decade. The demand for more environmental technicians by consulting firms will arise as governments and larger firms look to reduce costs.

Employment projections data for environmental engineering technicians, 2016-26
Occupational Title SOC Code Employment, 2016 Projected Employment, 2026 Change, 2016-26 Employment by Industry
Percent Numeric

SOURCE: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections program

Environmental engineering technicians

17-3025 17,000 19,100 13 2,200 employment projections excel document xlsx

State & Area Data About this section

Occupational Employment Statistics (OES)

The Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) program produces employment and wage estimates annually for over 800 occupations. These estimates are available for the nation as a whole, for individual states, and for metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas. The link(s) below go to OES data maps for employment and wages by state and area.

Projections Central

Occupational employment projections are developed for all states by Labor Market Information (LMI) or individual state Employment Projections offices. All state projections data are available at www.projectionscentral.com. Information on this site allows projected employment growth for an occupation to be compared among states or to be compared within one state. In addition, states may produce projections for areas; there are links to each state’s websites where these data may be retrieved.

CareerOneStop

CareerOneStop includes hundreds of occupational profiles with data available by state and metro area. There are links in the left-hand side menu to compare occupational employment by state and occupational wages by local area or metro area. There is also a salary info tool to search for wages by zip code.

Similar Occupations About this section

This table shows a list of occupations with job duties that are similar to those of environmental engineering technicians.

Occupation Job Duties ENTRY-LEVEL EDUCATION Help 2016 MEDIAN PAY Help
Environmental engineers

Environmental Engineers

Environmental engineers use the principles of engineering, soil science, biology, and chemistry to develop solutions to environmental problems. They are involved in efforts to improve recycling, waste disposal, public health, and water and air pollution control.

Bachelor's degree $84,890
Environmental science and protection technicians

Environmental Science and Protection Technicians

Environmental science and protection technicians monitor the environment and investigate sources of pollution and contamination, including those affecting public health.

Associate's degree $44,190
Environmental scientists and specialists

Environmental Scientists and Specialists

Environmental scientists and specialists use their knowledge of the natural sciences to protect the environment and human health. They may clean up polluted areas, advise policymakers, or work with industry to reduce waste.

Bachelor's degree $68,910
Hazardous materials removal workers

Hazardous Materials Removal Workers

Hazardous materials (hazmat) removal workers identify and dispose of asbestos, lead, radioactive waste, and other hazardous materials. They also neutralize and clean up materials that are flammable, corrosive, or toxic.

High school diploma or equivalent $40,640
Suggested citation:

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Environmental Engineering Technicians,
on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/architecture-and-engineering/environmental-engineering-technicians.htm (visited November 01, 2017).

Last Modified Date: Tuesday, October 24, 2017

What They Do

The What They Do tab describes the typical duties and responsibilities of workers in the occupation, including what tools and equipment they use and how closely they are supervised. This tab also covers different types of occupational specialties.

Work Environment

The Work Environment tab includes the number of jobs held in the occupation and describes the workplace, the level of physical activity expected, and typical hours worked. It may also discuss the major industries that employed the occupation. This tab may also describe opportunities for part-time work, the amount and type of travel required, any safety equipment that is used, and the risk of injury that workers may face.

How to Become One

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Pay

The Pay tab describes typical earnings and how workers in the occupation are compensated—annual salaries, hourly wages, commissions, tips, or bonuses. Within every occupation, earnings vary by experience, responsibility, performance, tenure, and geographic area. For most profiles, this tab has a table with wages in the major industries employing the occupation. It does not include pay for self-employed workers, agriculture workers, or workers in private households because these data are not collected by the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) survey, the source of BLS wage data in the OOH.

State & Area Data

The State and Area Data tab provides links to state and area occupational data from the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) program, state projections data from Projections Central, and occupational information from the Department of Labor's CareerOneStop.

Job Outlook

The Job Outlook tab describes the factors that affect employment growth or decline in the occupation, and in some instances, describes the relationship between the number of job seekers and the number of job openings.

Similar Occupations

The Similar Occupations tab describes occupations that share similar duties, skills, interests, education, or training with the occupation covered in the profile.

Contacts for More Information

The More Information tab provides the Internet addresses of associations, government agencies, unions, and other organizations that can provide additional information on the occupation. This tab also includes links to relevant occupational information from the Occupational Information Network (O*NET).

2016 Median Pay

The wage at which half of the workers in the occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. Median wage data are from the BLS Occupational Employment Statistics survey. In May 2016, the median annual wage for all workers was $37,040.

On-the-job Training

Additional training needed (postemployment) to attain competency in the skills needed in this occupation.

Entry-level Education

Typical level of education that most workers need to enter this occupation.

Work experience in a related occupation

Work experience that is commonly considered necessary by employers, or is a commonly accepted substitute for more formal types of training or education.

Number of Jobs, 2016

The employment, or size, of this occupation in 2016, which is the base year of the 2016-26 employment projections.

Job Outlook, 2016-26

The projected percent change in employment from 2016 to 2026. The average growth rate for all occupations is 7 percent.

Employment Change, 2016-26

The projected numeric change in employment from 2016 to 2026.

Entry-level Education

Typical level of education that most workers need to enter this occupation.

On-the-job Training

Additional training needed (postemployment) to attain competency in the skills needed in this occupation.

Employment Change, projected 2016-26

The projected numeric change in employment from 2016 to 2026.

Growth Rate (Projected)

The percent change of employment for each occupation from 2016 to 2026.

Projected Number of New Jobs

The projected numeric change in employment from 2016 to 2026.

Projected Growth Rate

The projected percent change in employment from 2016 to 2026.

2016 Median Pay

The wage at which half of the workers in the occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. Median wage data are from the BLS Occupational Employment Statistics survey. In May 2016, the median annual wage for all workers was $37,040.