Environmental science and protection technicians monitor the environment and investigate sources of pollution and contamination, including those affecting health.
Environmental science and protection technicians typically inspect establishments, including public places and businesses, to ensure that there are no environmental, health, or safety hazards; set up and maintain equipment used to monitor pollution levels, such as remote sensors that measure emissions from smokestacks; collect samples of air, soil, water, and other materials for laboratory analysis; and perform scientific tests to identify and measure levels of pollutants in samples.
Many environmental science and protection technicians work under the supervision of environmental scientists and specialists, who direct the technicians’ work and evaluate their results. In addition, they often work on teams with scientists, engineers, and technicians in other fields to solve complex problems related to environmental degradation and public health. For example, they may work on teams with geoscientists and hydrologists to manage the cleanup of contaminated soils and ground water around an abandoned bomb manufacturing site.
Most environmental science and protection technicians work for state or local governments, testing laboratories, or consulting firms. They usually specialize in either laboratory testing or in fieldwork and sample collection. However, it is common for laboratory technicians to occasionally collect samples from the field, and for fieldworkers to do some work in a laboratory.
Other titles include: Environmental Technician, Environmental Specialist, Laboratory Specialist, Process Laboratory Specialist, Environmental Health Specialist, Laboratory Technician, Sanitarian, Public Health Sanitarian, Industrial Pretreatment Program Specialist (IPP Specialist), and Sanitarian Specialist.