How to Become an Environmental Engineering Technologist or Technician
Environmental engineering technologists and technicians perform indoor and outdoor environmental quality work.
Environmental engineering technologists and technicians typically need an associate’s degree in environmental engineering technology or a related field.
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.
Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations
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.
Environmental engineering technologists and technicians usually begin work as trainees in entry-level positions and are supervised by an environmental engineer or experienced technician. As they gain experience, technologists and technicians take on more responsibility. Some advance to become senior environmental technologists and technicians or lead environmental technologists and technicians, functioning as supervisors onsite.
Technicians with a bachelor’s degree may advance to become environmental engineers.
Communication skills. When working on teams, environmental engineering technologists and technicians must listen attentively and convey information to others.
Critical-thinking skills. Environmental engineers rely on technologists and technicians to help identify problems and solutions and to implement the engineers’ plans.
Observational skills. Environmental engineering technologists and technicians must be able to evaluate situations, recognize problems, and inform environmental engineers as quickly as possible.
Problem-solving skills. Environmental engineering technologists and technicians implement plans designed by environmental engineers. They must be able to resolve issues that arise, such as unexpected findings during fieldwork.
Reading skills. Environmental engineering technologists and technicians must be able to understand legal and technical documents in order to ensure that regulations are being met.