In today’s economy, your job can make a huge different on every aspect of your life. That’s why it’s important to find one that you love. Entering the health field is a great option, and one that offers you a number of different choices in terms of where you want your career to go. Becoming an environmental health technician is one choice you may want to consider, and one that offers a lot of benefits to those who are well-suited for the position.
It’s not a job that is right for everyone, and it has certain challenges as well as certain rewards that other jobs don’t offer. It’s important to learn more about any career before you decide it’s right for you, so keep reading to find out more about what this position involves.
What Is an Environmental Health Technician?
An environmental health technician is someone who works in the public sector to identify and correct various environmental health issues. They examine the environment and its impact on the population, determine what issues may exist within it, and then work to find a way to combat those problems. Common job duties of an environmental health technician include the following things:
- Collecting samples from the environment. These include soil, water, and waste samples.
- Documenting those samples and examining them for contaminants or other health issues.
- Ensuring all regulatory codes are adhered to during construction or any activity in the environment.
- Investigation of complaints about different environmental infractions.
- Maintaining all records related to different environmental issues.
- Meeting with various policy makers or public officials and consulting about different issues within the environment
- Ensuring that all local and state codes are adhered to properly
In short, the main focus of an environmental health technician is to ensure that the local environment is fully protected and that any health risks posed by the environment are dealt with quickly and properly. It’s an important position and one that can have a direct impact on the health of an entire community.
There are a few different skillsets that can have a big impact on your ability to do the work required by an environmental health technician. Strength in the following areas is important.
- Good Self-Discipline – A large part of your work will be unsupervised, and it’s important that you have the discipline needed to do the job on your own.
- Good Math Skills – Handling numbers and data is a big portion of the job. You’ll need to have strong math skills in order to thrive.
- Strong Communication Skills – You’ll also need to be able to communicate well verbally and in the written form since that is a major part of your responsibilities.
Nature of the Work
An average day in this position will usually involve a combination of field work, lab work, and office work. Gathering samples in the field, analyzing them or sending them for analyzation, and then creating reports based on the findings is a normal work cycle. As such, you’ll want to be comfortable working in multiple environments at any given time.
Most environmental health technicians find work in the public sector, employed by government agencies. Some private companies have a need for these professionals as well, but in most instances you’ll be working for state, local, or federal governments.
Education and Training
To become an environmental health technician, you’ll need several years of training. While some employers will accept an associate’s degree in the field of applied science or public health, it’s better to consider enrolling in bachelor’s degree programs or even master’s degree programs. Usually, studies will focus on environmental science, biochemistry, health data analysis, public health, and more. You’ll need strong math and science skills in order to truly thrive in the position. The specific requirements for employment will vary depending on the employer and the type of position in question.
Salaries are about $20.00 per hour, or roughly $35,000 annually on average. However, the specific pay you earn will depend upon a number of factors including the location within the country, your specific job position, your employer, your experience, your training, and much more. The demand for environmental health technicians is expected to grow by 19% by the year 2022, according to the BLS, a rate that is well above the national average.