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Details for Environmental Science and Protection Technicians, Including Health


Performs laboratory and field tests to monitor the environment and investigate sources of pollution, including those that affect health. Under direction of an environmental scientist or specialist, may collect samples of gases, soil, water, and other materials for testing and take corrective actions as assigned.


  • Record test data and prepare reports, summaries, and charts that interpret test results.
  • Collect samples of gases, soils, water, industrial wastewater, and asbestos products to conduct tests on pollutant levels and identify sources of pollution.
  • Respond to and investigate hazardous conditions or spills, or outbreaks of disease or food poisoning, collecting samples for analysis.
  • Provide information and technical and program assistance to government representatives, employers and the general public on the issues of public health, environmental protection or workplace safety.
  • Calibrate microscopes and test instruments.
  • Make recommendations to control or eliminate unsafe conditions at workplaces or public facilities.
  • Inspect sanitary conditions at public facilities.
  • Prepare samples or photomicrographs for testing and analysis.
  • Calculate amount of pollutant in samples or compute air pollution or gas flow in industrial processes, using chemical and mathematical formulas.
  • Initiate procedures to close down or fine establishments violating environmental or health regulations.
  • Determine amounts and kinds of chemicals to use in destroying harmful organisms and removing impurities from purification systems.
  • Discuss test results and analyses with customers.
  • Maintain files such as hazardous waste databases, chemical usage data, personnel exposure information and diagrams showing equipment locations.
  • Perform statistical analysis of environmental data.
  • Set up equipment or stations to monitor and collect pollutants from sites, such as smoke stacks, manufacturing plants, or mechanical equipment.
  • Distribute permits, closure plans and cleanup plans.
  • Inspect workplaces to ensure the absence of health and safety hazards such as high noise levels, radiation or potential lighting hazards.
  • Weigh, analyze, and measure collected sample particles, such as lead, coal dust, or rock, to determine concentration of pollutants.
  • Examine and analyze material for presence and concentration of contaminants such as asbestos, using variety of microscopes.
  • Develop testing procedures or direct activities of workers in laboratory.
  • Conduct standardized tests to ensure materials and supplies used throughout power supply systems meet processing and safety specifications.
  • Develop and implement programs for monitoring of environmental pollution and radiation.


  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Education, Training, Experience

  • Education - Most of these occupations require a four-year bachelor's degree, but some do not.
  • Training - Employees in these occupations usually need several years of work-related experience, on-the-job training, and/or vocational training.
  • 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.



  • 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.
  • Writing - Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Monitoring - Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.

Related Careers

  • Chemical Equipment Operators and Tenders
  • Chemical Technicians
  • Chemists
  • Environmental Compliance Inspectors
  • Food Science Technicians
  • Forensic Science Technicians
  • Occupational Health and Safety Specialists
  • Soil and Plant Scientists
Wages for this career
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