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Become An Environmentalist

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Working As An Environmentalist

  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Getting Information
  • Documenting/Recording Information
  • Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards
  • Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material
  • $80,000

    Average Salary

What Does An Environmentalist Do

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 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.

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How To Become An Environmentalist

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. Community colleges offer programs similar to those in vocational-technical schools but 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 be able to 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 be able to recognize problems so that the environmental engineers are informed as quickly as possible.

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.

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.

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Top Skills for An Environmentalist

  1. Food Safety
  2. Food Service Facilities
  3. Public Health
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Enforced all local, state, and federal ordinances regarding food safety, sanitation, and health matters.
  • Conduct preliminary inspections of new and remodeling food service facilities for the purpose of bringingthem into compliance with applicable regulations.
  • Participated field investigations relevant to environmental, flora/ fauna and public health of the proposed project roads under the feasibility study.
  • Expedited results of water samples by coordinating with local sheriff for pickup and delivery to laboratory.
  • Investigate allegations of illegal solid waste disposal, dumping, issue legal notices and citations.

Environmentalist Demographics

Gender

Male

50.9%

Female

36.6%

Unknown

12.5%
Ethnicity

White

62.0%

Black or African American

14.3%

Hispanic or Latino

12.1%

Asian

7.6%

Unknown

4.0%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

40.0%

French

20.0%

Cherokee

6.7%

Yoruba

6.7%

Kannada

6.7%

Hindi

6.7%

Russian

6.7%

Arabic

6.7%
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Environmentalist Education

Schools

Mississippi State University

9.9%

Central Georgia Technical College

8.8%

Grand Rapids Community College

6.6%

Eastern Kentucky University

6.6%

Jackson State University

6.6%

University of Kentucky

5.5%

University of Phoenix

5.5%

University of Southern Mississippi

5.5%

Mississippi Valley State University

5.5%

Butte College

5.5%

Jacksonville State University

4.4%

Auburn University

3.3%

Western Michigan University

3.3%

Grand Valley State University

3.3%

Indiana University Bloomington

3.3%

Troy University

3.3%

East Tennessee State University

3.3%

Indiana State University

3.3%

East Central Technical College

3.3%

Western Kentucky University

3.3%
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Majors

Business

16.5%

Biology

16.0%

Environmental Science

11.2%

Public Health

9.7%

Criminal Justice

4.9%

Nursing

4.4%

Geology

3.9%

General Studies

3.4%

Psychology

3.4%

Medical Assisting Services

3.4%

Environmental Control Technologies/Technicians

3.4%

Education

2.9%

Health Care Administration

2.9%

Marketing

2.4%

Microbiology

1.9%

Computer Science

1.9%

Interdisciplinary Studies

1.9%

Elementary Education

1.9%

Ecology, Population Biology, And Epidemiology

1.9%

Mathematics

1.9%
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Degrees

Bachelors

37.2%

Other

26.6%

Masters

18.6%

Associate

7.4%

Certificate

4.6%

Doctorate

2.9%

Diploma

2.3%

License

0.3%
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