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Environmental Science and Protection Technicians, Including Health
SOC Code: 19-4091.00

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, Laboratory Specialist, Laboratory Technician, Process Laboratory Specialist, Public Health Sanitarian, Sanitarian, Water Quality Analyst, Water Quality Specialist

Tasks

  • Discuss test results and analyses with customers.
  • Record test data and prepare reports, summaries, or charts that interpret test results.
  • Develop or implement programs for monitoring of environmental pollution or radiation.
  • Investigate hazardous conditions or spills or outbreaks of disease or food poisoning, collecting samples for analysis.
  • Calibrate microscopes or test instruments.
  • 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.
  • Collect samples of gases, soils, water, industrial wastewater, or asbestos products to conduct tests on pollutant levels or identify sources of pollution.
  • Monitor emission control devices to ensure they are operating properly and comply with state and federal regulations.
  • Inspect sanitary conditions at public facilities.
  • Examine and analyze material for presence and concentration of contaminants, such as asbestos, using variety of microscopes.
  • Inspect workplaces to ensure the absence of health and safety hazards, such as high noise levels, radiation, or potential lighting hazards.
  • Develop or implement site recycling or hazardous waste stream programs.
  • Perform statistical analysis of environmental data.
  • Analyze potential environmental impacts of production process changes and recommend steps to mitigate negative impacts.
  • Set up equipment or stations to monitor and collect pollutants from sites, such as smoke stacks, manufacturing plants, or mechanical equipment.
  • Make recommendations to control or eliminate unsafe conditions at workplaces or public facilities.
  • Distribute permits, closure plans, or cleanup plans.
  • Maintain files, such as hazardous waste databases, chemical usage data, personnel exposure information, or diagrams showing equipment locations.
  • Calculate amount of pollutant in samples or compute air pollution or gas flow in industrial processes, using chemical and mathematical formulas.
  • Direct activities of workers in laboratory.
  • Weigh, analyze, or measure collected sample particles, such as lead, coal dust, or rock, to determine concentration of pollutants.
  • Initiate procedures to close down or fine establishments violating environmental or health regulations.
  • Prepare samples or photomicrographs for testing and analysis.
  • Determine amounts and kinds of chemicals to use in destroying harmful organisms or removing impurities from purification systems.
  • Develop testing procedures.

Technology Skills

  • Analytical or scientific software - FishXing; Flood modeling software; HEC RAS; Visual OTTHYMO (see all 7 examples)
  • Computer aided design CAD software - Autodesk AutoCAD ; Autodesk Softdesk
  • Data base user interface and query software - Database software; Microsoft Access
  • Document management software - Adobe Systems Adobe Acrobat
  • Electronic mail software - Email software; Microsoft Outlook
  • Enterprise resource planning ERP software - SAP
  • Graphics or photo imaging software - Graphics software
  • Internet browser software - Web browser software
  • Map creation software - ESRI ArcGIS software ; ESRI ArcView; Geomechanical design analysis GDA software; Trimble GPS Pathfinder Office (see all 7 examples)
  • Office suite software - Microsoft Office
  • Presentation software - Microsoft PowerPoint
  • Project management software - Microsoft Project
  • Spreadsheet software - Microsoft Excel
  • Word processing software - Microsoft Word

Tools Used

  • 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
  • Luxmeters
  • Manometers - Micromanometers
  • Microscope slides
  • Moisture meters - Carpet sampling pump kits
  • Multi gas monitors - Explosive gas monitors; Landfill gas collection systems; Landfill gas detection systems
  • Nephelometers
  • 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
  • Spectrophotometers
  • 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

Knowledge

  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Biology - Knowledge of plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, interdependencies, and interactions with each other and the environment.
  • Law and Government - Knowledge of laws, legal codes, court procedures, precedents, government regulations, executive orders, agency rules, and the democratic political process.
  • Mathematics - Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Computers and Electronics - Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
  • Communications and Media - Knowledge of media production, communication, and dissemination techniques and methods. This includes alternative ways to inform and entertain via written, oral, and visual media.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Building and Construction - Knowledge of materials, methods, and the tools involved in the construction or repair of houses, buildings, or other structures such as highways and roads.
  • Education and Training - Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.

Skills

  • 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.
  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Science - Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.
  • Writing - Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
  • Complex Problem Solving - Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
  • 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.
  • Social Perceptiveness - Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
  • Time Management - Managing one's own time and the time of others.
  • Active Learning - Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
  • Mathematics - Using mathematics to solve problems.
  • Operation Monitoring - Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
  • Service Orientation - Actively looking for ways to help people.
  • Coordination - Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
  • Instructing - Teaching others how to do something.
  • Learning Strategies - Selecting and using training/instructional methods and procedures appropriate for the situation when learning or teaching new things.
  • Persuasion - Persuading others to change their minds or behavior.
  • Systems Analysis - Determining how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect outcomes.

Abilities

  • Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Written Comprehension - The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
  • Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • 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.
  • Written Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
  • Inductive Reasoning - The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
  • Near Vision - The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
  • Speech Clarity - The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
  • 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 Recognition - The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
  • Category Flexibility - The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
  • Mathematical Reasoning - The ability to choose the right mathematical methods or formulas to solve a problem.
  • Number Facility - The ability to add, subtract, multiply, or divide quickly and correctly.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Arm-Hand Steadiness - The ability to keep your hand and arm steady while moving your arm or while holding your arm and hand in one position.
  • Far Vision - The ability to see details at a distance.
  • 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.
  • Selective Attention - The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
  • Visual Color Discrimination - The ability to match or detect differences between colors, including shades of color and brightness.

Interests

  • 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.

Work Context

  • Electronic Mail - 91% responded “Every day.”
  • Face-to-Face Discussions - 86% responded “Every day.”
  • Telephone - 86% responded “Every day.”
  • Importance of Being Exact or Accurate - 45% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Indoors, Environmentally Controlled - 52% responded “Every day.”
  • In an Enclosed Vehicle or Equipment - 50% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
  • Contact With Others - 50% responded “Contact with others most of the time.”
  • Outdoors, Exposed to Weather - 57% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
  • Time Pressure - 64% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
  • Work With Work Group or Team - 41% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Duration of Typical Work Week - 50% responded “More than 40 hours.”
  • Letters and Memos - 41% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
  • Deal With External Customers - 41% responded “Very important.”
  • Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results - 45% responded “Important results.”
  • Wear Common Protective or Safety Equipment such as Safety Shoes, Glasses, Gloves, Hearing Protection, Hard Hats, or Life Jackets - 32% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
  • Indoors, Not Environmentally Controlled - 33% responded “Every day.”
  • Freedom to Make Decisions - 55% responded “Some freedom.”
  • Frequency of Decision Making - 32% responded “Every day.”
  • Responsible for Others' Health and Safety - 32% responded “Moderate responsibility.”
  • Exposed to Contaminants - 41% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
  • Structured versus Unstructured Work - 45% responded “Some freedom.”
  • Consequence of Error - 32% responded “Fairly serious.”
  • Outdoors, Under Cover - 32% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
  • Responsibility for Outcomes and Results - 32% responded “High responsibility.”
  • Coordinate or Lead Others - 41% responded “Important.”
  • Sounds, Noise Levels Are Distracting or Uncomfortable - 55% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
  • Level of Competition - 32% responded “Highly competitive.”
  • Very Hot or Cold Temperatures - 38% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
  • Physical Proximity - 50% responded “Slightly close (e.g., shared office).”
  • Spend Time Sitting - 41% responded “About half the time.”
  • Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls - 41% responded “Less than half the time.”

Education

Percentage of RespondentsEducation Level Required
55%Bachelor's degree
14%Associate's degree
14%Master's degree

Work Styles

  • Integrity - Job requires being honest and ethical.
  • Dependability - Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
  • Attention to Detail - Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
  • Analytical Thinking - Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
  • Initiative - Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
  • Adaptability/Flexibility - Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
  • Cooperation - Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
  • Self Control - Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
  • Achievement/Effort - Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
  • Persistence - Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
  • 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.
  • Concern for Others - Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
  • Stress Tolerance - Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.
  • Leadership - Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
  • Innovation - Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.

Work Values

  • 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 & Trends

  • Median wages (2017)
    • $21.87 hourly, $45,490 annual
  • Employment (2016)
    • 35,000 employees
  • Projected growth (2016-2026)
    • Faster than average (10% to 14%)
  • Projected job openings (2016-2026)
    • 4,600

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