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Job Outlook for:
Environmental Engineering Technicians

SOC: 17-3025        OOH: U086

Environmental Engineering Technicians
Quick Stats
Total Jobs in 2016 17,000
Expected Growth 13%    (Faster than average)
New Jobs To Be Added
from 2016 to 2026
Median Pay $35,000 to $54,999



Employment Outlook for Environmental Engineering Technicians

Employment of environmental engineering technicians is projected to grow 13 percent from 2016 to 2026, faster than the average for all occupations.

Employment in this occupation is typically tied to projects created by environmental engineers. State and local governments are expected to focus their efforts and resources on efficient water use, storm water management, and wastewater treatment over the next decade. The demand for more environmental technicians by consulting firms will arise as governments and larger firms look to reduce costs.




Typical Pay for Environmental Engineering Technicians

The median annual wage for environmental engineering technicians was $49,170 in May 2016. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $29,820, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $80,780.

In May 2016, the median annual wages for environmental engineering technicians in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:

Manufacturing $54,720
Government 52,050
Management, scientific, and technical consulting services 48,940
Engineering services 48,900
Waste management and remediation services 41,830

Most environmental engineering technicians work full time and typically have regular hours. However, they must sometimes work irregular hours in order to monitor operations or contain a major environmental threat.


What Environmental Engineering Technicians Do All Day

Environmental engineering technicians carry out the plans that environmental engineers develop.


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 samples of 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.



Work Environment for Environmental Engineering Technicians

Environmental engineering technicians held about 17,000 jobs in 2016. The largest employers of environmental engineering technicians were as follows:

Management, scientific, and technical consulting services 24%
Engineering services 23
Government 18
Waste management and remediation services 9
Manufacturing 5

Environmental engineering technicians work under the direction of engineers and as part of a team with other technicians. They must be able to work well with both supervisors and peers.

Environmental engineering technicians typically work indoors, usually in laboratories, and often have regular working hours. They also work outdoors, sometimes in remote locations.

Because environmental engineering technicians help out in environmental cleanup, they can be exposed to hazards from equipment, chemicals, or toxic materials. For this reason, they must follow proper safety procedures, such as wearing hazmat suits and sometimes respirators, even in warm weather. When they work in wet areas, environmental engineering technicians wear heavy rubber boots to keep their legs and feet dry.

Work Schedules

Most environmental engineering technicians work full time and typically have regular hours. However, they must sometimes work irregular hours in order to monitor operations or contain a major environmental threat.



How To Become an Environmental Engineering Technician

Environmental engineering technicians typically need an associate’s degree in environmental engineering technology or a related field.


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. Both types of school offer similar programs, but community colleges 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 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 recognize problems so that the environmental engineers are informed as quickly as possible.

Problem-solving skills. Environmental engineering technicians implement plans designed by engineers. They often operate and maintain complex machinery. They must devise solutions to problems, such as mechanical breakdowns or unexpected findings at a worksite.

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.


Some environmental technician positions require training on working with hazardous materials in accordance with Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) standards.


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.






"Environmental Engineering Technicians"   SOC:  17-3025     OOH Code: U086

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