How to Become an Environmental Engineering Technician
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.
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.
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.
Some environmental technician positions require training on working with hazardous materials in accordance with Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) standards.
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.