Bureau of Labor Statistics

Environmental Engineering Technologists and Technicians

environmental engineering technicians image
Environmental engineering technologists and technicians conduct pollution surveys, for which they collect and analyze samples such as air and ground water.
Quick Facts: Environmental Engineering Technologists and Technicians
2020 Median Pay $51,630 per year
$24.82 per hour
Typical Entry-Level Education Associate's degree
Work Experience in a Related Occupation None
On-the-job Training None
Number of Jobs, 2019 18,500
Job Outlook, 2019-29 7% (Faster than average)
Employment Change, 2019-29 1,400

Summary

What Environmental Engineering Technologists and Technicians Do

Environmental engineering technologists and technicians implement the plans that environmental engineers develop.

Work Environment

Most environmental engineering technologists and technicians work full time. They may work both indoors and outside and often have regular working hours.

How to Become an Environmental Engineering Technologist or Technician

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

Pay

The median annual wage for environmental engineering technologists and technicians was $51,630 in May 2020.

Job Outlook

Employment of environmental engineering technologists and technicians is projected to grow 7 percent from 2019 to 2029, faster than the average for all occupations. Employment in this occupation typically is tied to projects created by environmental engineers.

State & Area Data

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

Similar Occupations

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

More Information, Including Links to O*NET

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

What Environmental Engineering Technologists and Technicians Do

Environmental engineering technicians
Environmental engineering technologists and technicians collect water samples.

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

Duties

Environmental engineering technologists and 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
  • Collect and analyze samples, such as of ground water, for monitoring pollution or treatment
  • Review documents to ensure that they are complete and conform to reporting requirements
  • Review work plans to schedule activities
  • Arrange for the disposal of asbestos, lead, and other hazardous materials

Environmental engineering technologists and technicians work both indoors and outdoors help to ensure environmental quality. Their tasks aid environmental engineers in developing solutions to control, prevent, and mitigate damage caused by pollution and other environmental problems.

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

In the field, environmental engineering technologists and technicians may collect air, soil, or ground and surface water samples of an area. They also prepare and clean equipment, operate field sampling pumps, and monitor instruments.

They also may inspect facilities for compliance with regulations governing substances such as asbestos, lead, and wastewater.

Work Environment

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

Environmental engineering technologists and technicians held about 18,500 jobs in 2019. The largest employers of environmental engineering technologists and technicians were as follows:

Engineering services 25%
Management, scientific, and technical consulting services 19
Government 14
Waste management and remediation services 13
Manufacturing 7

Environmental engineering technologists and technicians work under the direction of environmental engineers and as part of a team with other technicians. Environmental engineering technologists and technicians may work indoors, often in laboratories. They also work outdoors, sometimes in remote locations.

Because environmental engineering technologists and technicians help with environmental cleanup, they may 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 respirators as needed. When they work in wet areas, environmental engineering technologists and technicians wear rubber boots to keep their legs and feet dry.

Work Schedules

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

How to Become an Environmental Engineering Technologist or Technician

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

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

Education

Prospective environmental engineering technologists and technicians should take science and math courses in high school to prepare for postsecondary programs in engineering technology.

Employers usually prefer to hire candidates who have completed ABET-accredited postsecondary programs. Although some candidates may be hired with a high school diploma and postsecondary coursework, environmental engineering technologists and technicians typically need an associate’s degree in environmental engineering technology or a related field to enter the occupation.

Associate degree programs in environmental engineering technology are available in community colleges and vocational–technical schools. These programs generally include courses in chemistry, environmental assessment, hazardous-waste management, and mathematics. Some environmental engineering technologists and technicians enter the occupation with a bachelor’s degree.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Some states require environmental technologists and technicians to have permits or licenses to remove hazardous waste. Workers also may be required to have Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response Standard (HAZWOPER) certification. HAZWOPER certification includes training in health hazards, personal protective equipment, site safety, recognizing and identifying hazards, and decontamination. Refresher training may be required to maintain certification.

Advancement

Environmental engineering technologists and technicians usually begin work as trainees in entry-level positions and are supervised by an environmental engineer or experienced technician. As they gain experience, technologists and technicians take on more responsibility. Some advance to become senior environmental technologists and technicians or lead environmental technologists and technicians, functioning as supervisors onsite.

Technicians with a bachelor’s degree may advance to become environmental engineers.

Important Qualities

Communication skills. When working on teams, environmental engineering technologists and technicians must listen attentively and convey information to others.

Critical-thinking skills. Environmental engineers rely on technologists and technicians to help identify problems and solutions and to implement the engineers’ plans.

Observational skills. Environmental engineering technologists and technicians must be able to evaluate situations, recognize problems, and inform environmental engineers as quickly as possible.

Problem-solving skills. Environmental engineering technologists and technicians implement plans designed by environmental engineers. They must be able to resolve issues that arise, such as unexpected findings during fieldwork.

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

Pay

Environmental Engineering Technologists and Technicians

Median annual wages, May 2020

Drafters, engineering technicians, and mapping technicians

$58,900

Environmental engineering technologists and technicians

$51,630

Total, all occupations

$41,950

 

The median annual wage for environmental engineering technologists and technicians was $51,630 in May 2020. 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 $32,850, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $87,730.

In May 2020, the median annual wages for environmental engineering technologists and technicians in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:

Manufacturing $57,820
Government 57,210
Management, scientific, and technical consulting services 51,940
Engineering services 49,970
Waste management and remediation services 41,900

Most environmental engineering technologists and 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

Environmental Engineering Technologists and Technicians

Percent change in employment, projected 2019-29

Environmental engineering technologists and technicians

7%

Total, all occupations

4%

Drafters, engineering technicians, and mapping technicians

1%

 

Employment of environmental engineering technologists and technicians is projected to grow 7 percent from 2019 to 2029, 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 technologists and technicians by consulting firms will arise as governments and larger firms look to reduce costs.

Job Prospects

About 1,700 openings for environmental engineering technologists and technicians are projected each year, on average, over the decade.

Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.

Employment projections data for environmental engineering technologists and technicians, 2019-29

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

Occupational Title

Environmental engineering technologists and technicians

SOC Code17-3025
Employment, 201918,500
Projected Employment, 202919,900
Percent Change, 2019-297
Numeric Change, 2019-291,400
Employment by IndustryGet data

State & Area Data

Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS)

The Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS) 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 OEWS 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

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

Occupation Job Duties ENTRY-LEVEL EDUCATION 2020 MEDIAN PAY
Environmental engineers

Environmental Engineers

Environmental engineers use the principles of engineering, soil science, biology, and chemistry to develop solutions to environmental problems.

Bachelor's degree $92,120
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.

Associate's degree $46,850
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.

Bachelor's degree $73,230
Hazardous materials removal workers

Hazardous Materials Removal Workers

Hazardous materials removal workers identify and dispose of harmful substances such as asbestos, lead, and radioactive waste.

High school diploma or equivalent $45,270

Contacts for More Info

Last Modified Date: Friday, April 9, 2021

Suggested citation:

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Environmental Engineering Technologists and Technicians,
at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/architecture-and-engineering/environmental-engineering-technicians.htm (visited May 20, 2021).

Telephone: 1-202-691-5700 www.bls.gov/ooh Contact OOH

View this page on regular www.bls.gov

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