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Environmental Science Technician

Career Overview

Environmental science technicians work in the field frequently, collecting samples in order to monitor contaminants in the air, water or soil. These samples are analyzed by the technician for pollution levels and for the type of pollutant. The other primary task for an environmental science technician is to help identify the source of the pollution. They generally work under the supervision of an environmental scientist. Because their work may become evidence in a court action against a polluter, their work must be careful and precise.

Education

Some environmental science technicians are trained on the job. However they are generally hired because of an educational background in environmental science, biology, health and safety, or a related field. An associate's degree is acceptable for many employers, but may limit advancement after some time on the job.

Employment

There were about 37,000 environmental science and protection technicians working in the U.S. in 2006. Most worked for federal, state or local government agencies or for private service firms that contract environmental assessment services to businesses, developers and builders.

Job Outlook

The growth rate for environmental science technicians over the next several years is expected to be much faster than the projected average rate for overall job growth. Increased monitoring of existing pollution control laws and tightening of them in some areas will lead to the need for environmental science technicians both in the private sector and in regulatory agencies.

Salary

Lowest 10% $25,830

Median Salary $40,230

Highest 10% $64,580

Source: U.S. Department of Labor

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