Summary Report for:
19-4091.00 - Environmental Science and Protection Technicians, Including Health
Perform laboratory and field tests to monitor the environment and investigate sources of pollution, including those that affect health, under the direction of an environmental scientist, engineer, or other specialist. May collect samples of gases, soil, water, and other materials for testing.
Sample of reported job titles: Environmental Health Specialist, Environmental Specialist, Environmental Technician, Industrial Pretreatment Program Specialist (IPP Specialist), Laboratory Specialist, Laboratory Technician, Process Laboratory Specialist, Public Health Sanitarian, Sanitarian, Sanitarian Specialist
Tasks | Tools & Technology | Knowledge | Skills | Abilities | Work Activities | Detailed Work Activities | Work Context | Job Zone | Education | Credentials | Interests | Work Styles | Work Values | Related Occupations | Wages & Employment | Job Openings | Additional Information
- Collect samples of gases, soils, water, industrial wastewater, or asbestos products to conduct tests on pollutant levels or identify sources of pollution.
- Record test data and prepare reports, summaries, or charts that interpret test results.
- Develop or implement programs for monitoring of environmental pollution or radiation.
- Discuss test results and analyses with customers.
- Set up equipment or stations to monitor and collect pollutants from sites, such as smoke stacks, manufacturing plants, or mechanical equipment.
- Maintain files, such as hazardous waste databases, chemical usage data, personnel exposure information, or diagrams showing equipment locations.
- Develop testing procedures or direct activities of workers in laboratory.
- Prepare samples or photomicrographs for testing and analysis.
- Calibrate microscopes or test instruments.
- Examine and analyze material for presence and concentration of contaminants, such as asbestos, using variety of microscopes.
- Calculate amount of pollutant in samples or compute air pollution or gas flow in industrial processes, using chemical and mathematical formulas.
- Make recommendations to control or eliminate unsafe conditions at workplaces or public facilities.
- Weigh, analyze, or measure collected sample particles, such as lead, coal dust, or rock to determine concentration of pollutants.
- Provide information or technical or program assistance to government representatives, employers, or the general public on the issues of public health, environmental protection, or workplace safety.
- Conduct standardized tests to ensure materials or supplies used throughout power supply systems meet processing and safety specifications.
- Perform statistical analysis of environmental data.
- Respond to and investigate hazardous conditions or spills, or outbreaks of disease or food poisoning, collecting samples for analysis.
- Determine amounts and kinds of chemicals to use in destroying harmful organisms or removing impurities from purification systems.
- Inspect sanitary conditions at public facilities.
- Inspect workplaces to ensure the absence of health and safety hazards, such as high noise levels, radiation, or potential lighting hazards.
- Distribute permits, closure plans, or cleanup plans.
- Initiate procedures to close down or fine establishments violating environmental or health regulations.
- Analyze potential environmental impacts of production process changes and recommend steps to mitigate negative impacts.
- Develop or implement site recycling or hazardous waste stream programs.
- Monitor emission control devices to ensure they are operating properly and are in compliance with state and federal regulations.
Tools & Technology
Tools used in this occupation:
- Air pollutant samplers — Digital hand meters; Handheld laser particle counters; Particulate monitors
- Air samplers or collectors — Air sampling impingers; Bioaerosol impactors; Indoor air quality IAQ monitors; Particulate samplers (see all 6 examples)
- Air sampling pumps — Air sampling primary flow calibrators; Area sampling pumps; Sequential air samplers
- Air velocity and temperature monitors — Air current test kits; Velometers
- Anemometers — Velocity meters
- Benchtop centrifuges — Centrifuges
- Binocular light compound microscopes
- Chemical absorption gas analyzers — Passive samplers for organic vapors
- Colorimeters — Colorimetric field sampling devices
- Darkfield microscopes — Phase contrast microscopes
- Digital camcorders or video cameras — Sewer surveillance cameras
- Digital cameras
- Flame ionization analyzers — Flame ionization detectors FID
- Flowmeters — Electronic pump calibrators; Flow monitoring equipment; Pilot tubes; Pump flowmeters
- Gas detector tubes — Detector tubes; Freon detectors; Halogen leak detectors
- Graphics tablets — Digitizing tablets
- Hydrocarbons analyzers or detectors — Chlorinated hydrocarbon testing equipment; Halide meters
- Hygrometers — Humidity sticks
- Ion analyzers — Photoionization detectors PID
- Laboratory bailers — Water sampling bailers
- Laboratory diluters — Dilution systems
- Laser printers
- Logging instruments for water wells — Interface probes; Water well depth meters
- Manometers — Micromanometers
- Microscope slides
- Moisture meters — Carpet sampling pump kits
- Multi gas monitors — Landfill gas collection systems; Landfill gas detection systems
- Notebook computers
- Ohmmeters — Volt-ohm meters VOM
- Open stream water level recorders — Water level recorders
- Oxygen generators — Zero air generators
- Ozone generator — Ozone generators
- Paint tester — Lead surface sampling kits
- Peristaltic pumps
- Permeability testing apparatus — Infiltrometers
- Personal computers — Pocket personal computers PC
- pH meters
- Plotter printers — Large-format plotters
- Polarizing microscopes — Polarized light microscopes
- Portable data input terminals — Field data collection computers
- Radon detectors — Radon detection devices
- Salinity meter — Salinity meters
- Sampling pumps — Centrifugal water sampling pumps; Low-flow pumps; Purge pumps; Water sample extraction pumps (see all 6 examples)
- Single gas monitors — Carbon monoxide monitors; CO2 monitors
- Soil core sampling apparatus — Soil augers
- Soil testing kits — Lead soil sampling kits; Soil vapor extraction units
- Sound measuring apparatus or decibel meter — Noise dosimeters; Noise logging analyzers; Noise monitoring instruments; Sound level meters
- Steam autoclaves or sterilizers — Autoclaves
- Still cameras — 35 millimeter cameras
- Vibration testers — Vibration monitors
- Water analyzers — Chloride test kits; Hach field kits; Water chemistry analysis equipment
- Water samplers — Lead water sampling kits; Water sample extraction tubes; Water sampling augers; Water sampling pumps
Technology used in this occupation:
- Analytical or scientific software — FishXing software; Flood modeling software; HEC RAS *; Visual OTTHYMO (see all 7 examples)
- Computer aided design CAD software — Autodesk AutoCAD software; Autodesk Softdesk
- Data base user interface and query software — Database software; Microsoft Access
- Document management software — Adobe Systems Adobe Acrobat software
- Electronic mail software — Email software; Microsoft Outlook
- Graphics or photo imaging software — Graphics software
- Internet browser software — Web browser software
- Map creation software — ESRI ArcInfo; ESRI ArcView; Geomechanical design analysis GDA software; Trimble GPS software (see all 6 examples)
- Office suite software — Microsoft Office software
- Spreadsheet software — Microsoft Excel
- Word processing software — Microsoft Word
* Software developed by a government agency and/or distributed as freeware or shareware.
- Chemistry — Knowledge of the chemical composition, structure, and properties of substances and of the chemical processes and transformations that they undergo. This includes uses of chemicals and their interactions, danger signs, production techniques, and disposal methods.
- Computers and Electronics — Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
- Public Safety and Security — Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.
- Customer and Personal Service — Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
- English Language — Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
- Mathematics — Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
- Engineering and Technology — Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.
- Law and Government — Knowledge of laws, legal codes, court procedures, precedents, government regulations, executive orders, agency rules, and the democratic political process.
- Biology — Knowledge of plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, interdependencies, and interactions with each other and the environment.
- Physics — Knowledge and prediction of physical principles, laws, their interrelationships, and applications to understanding fluid, material, and atmospheric dynamics, and mechanical, electrical, atomic and sub- atomic structures and processes.
- Administration and Management — Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
- Geography — Knowledge of principles and methods for describing the features of land, sea, and air masses, including their physical characteristics, locations, interrelationships, and distribution of plant, animal, and human life.
- Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
- Active Listening — Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
- Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
- Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively.
- Writing — Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
- Science — Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.
- Judgment and Decision Making — Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
- Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
- Time Management — Managing one's own time and the time of others.
- Complex Problem Solving — Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
- Operation Monitoring — Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
- Active Learning — Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
- Coordination — Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
- Mathematics — Using mathematics to solve problems.
- Operation and Control — Controlling operations of equipment or systems.
- Service Orientation — Actively looking for ways to help people.
- Social Perceptiveness — Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
- Systems Analysis — Determining how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect outcomes.
- Systems Evaluation — Identifying measures or indicators of system performance and the actions needed to improve or correct performance, relative to the goals of the system.
- Written Comprehension — The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
- Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
- Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
- Written Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
- Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
- Problem Sensitivity — The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
- Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
- Inductive Reasoning — The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
- Information Ordering — The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
- Speech Clarity — The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
- Speech Recognition — The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
- Flexibility of Closure — The ability to identify or detect a known pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) that is hidden in other distracting material.
- Mathematical Reasoning — The ability to choose the right mathematical methods or formulas to solve a problem.
- Selective Attention — The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
- Number Facility — The ability to add, subtract, multiply, or divide quickly and correctly.
- Perceptual Speed — The ability to quickly and accurately compare similarities and differences among sets of letters, numbers, objects, pictures, or patterns. The things to be compared may be presented at the same time or one after the other. This ability also includes comparing a presented object with a remembered object.
- Visualization — The ability to imagine how something will look after it is moved around or when its parts are moved or rearranged.
- Category Flexibility — The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
- Finger Dexterity — The ability to make precisely coordinated movements of the fingers of one or both hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble very small objects.
- Multilimb Coordination — The ability to coordinate two or more limbs (for example, two arms, two legs, or one leg and one arm) while sitting, standing, or lying down. It does not involve performing the activities while the whole body is in motion.
- Originality — The ability to come up with unusual or clever ideas about a given topic or situation, or to develop creative ways to solve a problem.
- Documenting/Recording Information — Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
- Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards — Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
- Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
- Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
- Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings — Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
- Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
- Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
- Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material — Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
- Analyzing Data or Information — Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
- Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
- Operating Vehicles, Mechanized Devices, or Equipment — Running, maneuvering, navigating, or driving vehicles or mechanized equipment, such as forklifts, passenger vehicles, aircraft, or water craft.
- Scheduling Work and Activities — Scheduling events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.
- Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
- Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work — Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
- Interacting With Computers — Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
- Estimating the Quantifiable Characteristics of Products, Events, or Information — Estimating sizes, distances, and quantities; or determining time, costs, resources, or materials needed to perform a work activity.
- Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others — Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.
- Controlling Machines and Processes — Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).
- Performing General Physical Activities — Performing physical activities that require considerable use of your arms and legs and moving your whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling of materials.
- Communicating with Persons Outside Organization — Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.
- Handling and Moving Objects — Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.
- Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships — Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
- Thinking Creatively — Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
- Performing for or Working Directly with the Public — Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.
- Performing Administrative Activities — Performing day-to-day administrative tasks such as maintaining information files and processing paperwork.
- Repairing and Maintaining Mechanical Equipment — Servicing, repairing, adjusting, and testing machines, devices, moving parts, and equipment that operate primarily on the basis of mechanical (not electronic) principles.
- Repairing and Maintaining Electronic Equipment — Servicing, repairing, calibrating, regulating, fine-tuning, or testing machines, devices, and equipment that operate primarily on the basis of electrical or electronic (not mechanical) principles.
- Provide Consultation and Advice to Others — Providing guidance and expert advice to management or other groups on technical, systems-, or process-related topics.
- Resolving Conflicts and Negotiating with Others — Handling complaints, settling disputes, and resolving grievances and conflicts, or otherwise negotiating with others.
Detailed Work Activities
- Record research or operational data.
- Prepare scientific or technical reports or presentations.
- Calibrate scientific or technical equipment.
- Inspect equipment to ensure proper functioning.
- Analyze chemical compounds or substances.
- Assess compliance with environmental laws.
- Confer with clients to exchange information.
- Test quality of materials or finished products.
- Collect environmental data or samples.
- Set up laboratory or field equipment.
- Analyze environmental data.
- Analyze geological samples.
- Supervise scientific or technical personnel.
- Advise others on business or operational matters.
- Develop environmental research methods.
- Advise others on matters of public policy.
- Prepare biological samples for testing or analysis.
- Inspect areas for compliance with sanitation standards.
- Direct natural resources management or conservation programs.
- Research environmental impact of industrial or development activities.
- Develop environmental sustainability plans or projects.
- Determine methods to minimize environmental impact of activities.
- Prepare documentation for permits or licenses.
- Face-to-Face Discussions — 85% responded “Every day.”
- Electronic Mail — 63% responded “Every day.”
- Telephone — 49% responded “Every day.”
- Contact With Others — 52% responded “Constant contact with others.”
- Freedom to Make Decisions — 48% responded “A lot of freedom.”
- Exposed to Contaminants — 42% responded “Every day.”
- Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 52% responded “Very important.”
- Work With Work Group or Team — 47% responded “Very important.”
- Indoors, Environmentally Controlled — 44% responded “Every day.”
- Outdoors, Exposed to Weather — 43% responded “Every day.”
- Wear Common Protective or Safety Equipment such as Safety Shoes, Glasses, Gloves, Hearing Protection, Hard Hats, or Life Jackets — 48% responded “Every day.”
- Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 37% responded “Very important results.”
- In an Enclosed Vehicle or Equipment — 47% responded “Every day.”
- Structured versus Unstructured Work — 36% responded “A lot of freedom.”
- Frequency of Decision Making — 41% responded “Every day.”
- Letters and Memos — 51% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Time Pressure — 38% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
- Very Hot or Cold Temperatures — 35% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
- Deal With External Customers — 33% responded “Extremely important.”
- Duration of Typical Work Week — 75% responded “40 hours.”
- Exposed to Hazardous Equipment — 27% responded “Every day.”
- Indoors, Not Environmentally Controlled — 43% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Exposed to Minor Burns, Cuts, Bites, or Stings — 44% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Spend Time Standing — 39% responded “More than half the time.”
- Coordinate or Lead Others — 40% responded “Very important.”
- Sounds, Noise Levels Are Distracting or Uncomfortable — 37% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
- Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls — 28% responded “More than half the time.”
- Responsibility for Outcomes and Results — 34% responded “High responsibility.”
- Physical Proximity — 64% responded “Slightly close (e.g., shared office).”
- Responsible for Others' Health and Safety — 42% responded “Moderate responsibility.”
- Exposed to Hazardous Conditions — 35% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Importance of Repeating Same Tasks — 29% responded “Important.”
- Extremely Bright or Inadequate Lighting — 44% responded “Once a year or more but not every month.”
|Title||Job Zone Four: Considerable Preparation Needed|
|Education||Most of these occupations require a four-year bachelor's degree, but some do not.|
|Related Experience||A considerable amount of work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is needed for these occupations. For example, an accountant must complete four years of college and work for several years in accounting to be considered qualified.|
|Job Training||Employees in these occupations usually need several years of work-related experience, on-the-job training, and/or vocational training.|
|Job Zone Examples||Many of these occupations involve coordinating, supervising, managing, or training others. Examples include accountants, sales managers, database administrators, teachers, chemists, art directors, and cost estimators.|
|SVP Range||(7.0 to < 8.0)|
Percentage of Respondents
|Education Level Required|
This occupation may require a background in the following science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) educational disciplines:
Interest code: IRC
- Investigative — Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.
- Realistic — Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
- Conventional — Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.
- Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
- Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
- Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
- Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
- Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
- Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
- Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
- Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
- Independence — Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
- Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
- Concern for Others — Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
- Leadership — Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
- Self Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
- Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.
- Innovation — Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.
- Achievement — Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment. Corresponding needs are Ability Utilization and Achievement.
- Support — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees. Corresponding needs are Company Policies, Supervision: Human Relations and Supervision: Technical.
- Relationships — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment. Corresponding needs are Co-workers, Moral Values and Social Service.
Wages & Employment Trends
|Median wages (2014)||$20.29 hourly, $42,190 annual|
|Employment (2012)||33,000 employees|
|Projected growth (2012-2022)||Faster than average (15% to 21%)|
|Projected job openings (2012-2022)||19,000|
|Top industries (2012)|
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2014 wage data and 2012-2022 employment projections . "Projected growth" represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2012-2022). "Projected job openings" represent openings due to growth and replacement.
Job Openings on the Web
Sources of Additional Information
Disclaimer: Sources are listed to provide additional information on related jobs, specialties, and/or industries. Links to non-DOL Internet sites are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement.
- Environmental Science and Protection Technicians . Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor. Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition.