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.
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.
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.