Environmental Engineering Technicians

Summary

environmental engineering technicians image
Environmental engineering technicians conduct pollution surveys, for which they collect and analyze samples such as air and ground water.
Quick Facts: Environmental Engineering Technicians
2019 Median Pay $qf_median_annual_wage_html $qf_median_hourly_wage_html
Typical Entry-Level Education $qf_education_html
Work Experience in a Related Occupation $qf_experience_html
On-the-job Training $qf_training_html
Number of Jobs, 2018 $qf_number_jobs_html
Job Outlook, 2018-28 $qf_outlook_html
Employment Change, 2018-28 $qf_openings_html

What Environmental Engineering Technicians Do

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

Work Environment

Most environmental engineering technicians work full time. They typically work indoors, usually in laboratories, and often have regular working hours. However, they must sometimes work irregular hours in order to monitor operations.

How to Become an Environmental Engineering Technician

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

Pay

Job Outlook

Employment of environmental engineering technicians is projected to grow 9 percent from 2018 to 2028, faster than the average for all occupations. Employment in this occupation typically is tied to projects created by environmental engineers. State and local governments’ concerns regarding water availability and quality should lead to efforts to increase the efficiency of water use.

State & Area Data

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

Similar Occupations

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

More Information, Including Links to O*NET

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

What Environmental Engineering Technicians Do

Environmental engineering technicians
Environmental engineering technicians collect water samples.

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

Duties

Environmental engineering 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
  • Conduct pollution surveys, for which they collect and analyze samples, such as samples of air and ground water
  • Perform indoor and outdoor work on environmental quality
  • Work to mitigate sources of environmental pollution
  • Review technical documents to ensure their completeness and conformance to requirements
  • Review work plans to schedule activities
  • Arrange for the disposal of lead, asbestos, and other hazardous materials

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

Environmental engineering technicians help environmental engineers develop devices used to clean up environmental pollution. They also inspect facilities for compliance with the regulations that govern substances such as asbestos, lead, and wastewater.

Work Environment

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

Environmental engineering technicians work under the direction of engineers and as part of a team with other technicians. They must be able to work well with both supervisors and peers.

Environmental engineering technicians typically work indoors, usually in laboratories, and often have regular working hours. They also work outdoors, sometimes in remote locations.

Because environmental engineering technicians help out in environmental cleanup, they can 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 sometimes respirators, even in warm weather. When they work in wet areas, environmental engineering technicians wear heavy rubber boots to keep their legs and feet dry.

Work Schedules

Most environmental engineering 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.

How to Become an Environmental Engineering Technician

Environmental engineering technicians
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.

Education

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.

Important Qualities

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.

Training

Some environmental technician positions require training on working with hazardous materials in accordance with Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) standards.

Advancement

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.

Pay

Environmental Engineering Technicians

Median annual wages, May 2019

Drafters, engineering technicians, and mapping technicians

$58,900

Environmental engineering technologists and technicians

$51,630

Total, all occupations

$41,950

 

Most environmental engineering 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 Technicians

Percent change in employment, projected 2018-28

Environmental engineering technologists and technicians

7%

Total, all occupations

4%

Drafters, engineering technicians, and mapping technicians

1%

 

Employment of environmental engineering technicians is projected to grow 9 percent from 2018 to 2028, 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 technicians by consulting firms will arise as governments and larger firms look to reduce costs.

Employment projections data for environmental engineering technicians, 2018-28
Occupational Title SOC Code Employment, 2018 Projected Employment, 2028 Change, 2018-28 Employment by Industry
Percent Numeric

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

Environmental engineering technologists and technicians

17-3025 18,500 19,900 7 1,400 Get 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.

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 technicians.

Occupation Job Duties ENTRY-LEVEL EDUCATION 2019 MEDIAN PAY
Environmental engineers Environmental Engineers

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

$qf_education_html $qf_median_annual_wage_html
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.

$qf_education_html $qf_median_annual_wage_html
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.

$qf_education_html $qf_median_annual_wage_html
Hazardous materials removal workers Hazardous Materials Removal Workers

Hazardous materials removal workers identify and dispose of asbestos, lead, radioactive waste, and other hazardous materials.

$qf_education_html $qf_median_annual_wage_html
Suggested citation:

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Environmental Engineering Technicians,
at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/architecture-and-engineering/environmental-engineering-technicians.htm (visited July 28, 2021).

Last Modified Date: Wednesday, September 4, 2019