Environmental Science Careers
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The average value of the Associate degree needed to become a Environmental science and protection technicians, including health is $1,077,645.00.
Points of Interest
- A career in the field of environmental science and protection is projected to grow significantly in the next ten years.
- These careers require advanced or specialized training following high school.
- The more time spent in the field, the faster employees will advance. Those who have graduate degrees in this field can advance faster and receive higher pay as well.
- Students who wish to pursue this career should take science and math courses beyond the minimum required for graduation.
- It is important that prospective employees in this field learn as much as they can about how to operate and maintain laboratory equipment.
- According to U.S. News and World Report, this career was listed as one of the 50 best for 2010.
Nature of the Work
In general, science technicians use their training in scientific and mathematical principles for a variety of purposes. They often use their knowledge of these principles to assist researchers in creating new products or medicines that can improve the population’s quality of life. Their expertise may be used to make improvements on existing products or ways of doing things. It is important to distinguish their work from that of scientists, who tend to work more with theoretical concepts. Science technicians tend to do much more pragmatic work, which may involve product testing, conducting experiments, operating laboratory equipment, and maintaining the laboratory environment. They may even be responsible for setting up and monitoring laboratory protocols to make sure that experiments are conducted properly and lead to accurate results.
There are many different kinds of science technicians, but one field in which they can be found is the field of environmental science and protection. It is very important to have science technicians that can take on work in this field because it is vital to make sure that minimal damage is being done to the surrounding environment. Environmental science and protection technicians work to evaluate the environment and monitor its pollution levels. They may test the soil, the water, and the air, or other substances to evaluate them for contaminants. They usually are familiar with operating and reading the results generated by complex testing equipment. Normally, they are supervised by an environmental scientist and work with local governments and business leaders to get rid of the pollutants that they may find.
These types of science technicians may also be in charge of proper disposal of hazardous materials and may be called on to clean up sites of environmental disasters, such as oil spills. They may also be influential in making sure that companies abide by regulations having to do with the environment. It is very important that they have knowledge of a wide range of equipment so that their tests are accurate, including testing instruments and computing programs. Environmental science and protection technicians may find themselves frequently working outdoors in order to gather samples from the local environment.
Employment in this field can be found in both the public and private sectors. Environmental science and protection technicians may be employed by states and cities, or by scientific firms, or even by hospitals and medical schools, where they are needed to maintain and dispose of biological hazards.
Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement
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In order to become an environmental science and protection technician, it is important to have at least some training in the field after high school. For many aspiring technicians, this will mean a bachelor’s degree in environmental science, or one of the other hard sciences that includes a number of math courses as well. Some students will be able to gain entry-level employment simply by completing an associate’s degree program in environmental science; however, these requirements for entry into the field will be inconsistent from employer to employer. Because of the need to become familiar with complex and specialized laboratory equipment, it is a good idea for students to take applied science courses in order to learn how to operate these instruments. These courses are available in the curriculums of many colleges and universities. Students may also earn a bachelor’s degree in the natural sciences and then take specialized courses in environmental science at a local technical or community college. Many of these colleges offer opportunities for students to break into the field through internships with technological firms, clinics, health organizations, and branches of government institutions, giving them hands-on experience and broadening their prospects for employment.
Environmental science and protection technicians need to be good communicators in order to perform their jobs well. They need to be able to report the results of their experiments in a clear manner, providing detail when necessary. They must be able to perform computer modeling to predict what their findings may mean for the long-term health of the environment, so advanced computer skills are a must. They also must be able and willing to work as part of a cooperative team. Those environmental science and protection technicians that are responsible for environmental cleanup must be able to function as part of a team in order not only to complete the cleanup task but also to help prevent their teams from being exposed to dangerous chemicals or toxins in the course of doing their jobs. They must be able to abide by elaborate safety precautions and follow precise instructions in order to maintain their own safety and health and that of those around them. They should be detail-oriented, analytical thinkers, and must be able to draw conclusions from scientific experiments and results.
Like many others in science technician positions, environmental science and protection technicians usually begin their careers supervised by a senior-level technician or a scientist that provides them directives for their work. Spending time in the field and increasing the amount of experience they have is the surest way for people in this field to advance. It is likely they will advance to supervisory positions, which will carry more responsibility, and then perhaps to scientists, where they will often combine practical job duties with theoretical work.
In 2008, there were 35,000 environmental science and protection technician jobs, including those in the health sector. These jobs are typically found at the level of civic and state government, but can also be found in private firms specializing in scientific research and development or technical services.
The job outlook for environmental science and protection technicians is very good for the near future. Predictions are that the need for these types of science technicians will grow by nearly thirty percent in the next decade. Typically, new environmental science and protection technicians will be needed to dispose of waste materials, to test air, water, and soil quality, and to evaluate the compliance of companies and agencies with laws and regulations protecting the environment. Concerns over climate change and contaminated waterways may help fuel the need for these types of workers. Technicians specializing in environmental protection are likely to be hired by companies that assist firms with environmental cleanup or who help manage environmental risk. Projections
Data projections for environmental science and protection technician jobs indicates that by 2018, the number of jobs in this field will increase by more than 10,000, from 35,000 jobs to about 45,000, an overall increase of 29 percent.
In 2008, the average hourly wage for environmental science and protection technicians, including those in the health sector, was $19.34. This translates to a general yearly salary of $40,227, assuming the positions are full-time and require 40-hour work weeks. There may be some differential between public and private sector salaries, however.
Other statistics involving wages for this occupation show that the mean hourly wage is $20.92, raising the yearly wage to $43,520. Compensation will vary across states, industries, and according to expertise and performance. Statistics have shown that the lowest ten percent of the people working in this field receive $12.78 per hour or $26,570 per year, twenty-five percent receive $15.61 per hour or $32,460 per year, and the medial salary group receives $19.61 per hour or $40,790.
Those in the upper seventy-fifth percentile receive $25.29 per hour or $52,610, and those in the upper ninetieth percentile receive $31.34 per hour or $65,190. The industry in which environmental science and protection technicians are employed has an impact on their compensation, as well. Those who work in local and state government typically make between $20 and $23 per hour, or between $45,000 and $47,000 a year. In general, it appears that the more jobs there are available for these types of technicians in a given industry, the lower the median wage seems to be. Local government jobs number 6,800, while state government jobs number 4,410.
The jobs available in management, scientific, and consulting services, architectural and engineering services, and scientific research services pay somewhat less, between $18 and $21 an hour, or between $38,000 and $43,000 a year. The higher paying jobs for environmental science and protection technicians are found in the petroleum industry. Those who are employed in petroleum products manufacturing are compensated at a rate of $25.67 an hour, or $53,400 a year, for instance, though there are only 40 jobs available. Natural gas distribution technicians receive $42.89 per hour, or $89,220, though there are only 60 jobs available.
Wage Information by State
Analyzing the occupation per state can offer valuable information for environmental science and protection technician employment. The states with the highest concentration of employees in this industry include South Carolina, West Virginia, Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming. The wages in these states for environmental science and protection technicians range from $15.28 per hour to $19.47 per hour, or $31,770 per year to $40,490 per year. The states that pay the highest wages in this field include California, Tennessee, Nevada, Nebraska, and Iowa. Wages range from $23.36 per hour to $26.05 per hour, or $48,590 per year to $54,190 per year.
It is also important to look at the metropolitan areas that offer employment in this industry. The metropolitan areas that offer the highest paying environmental science and protection technician jobs include the Lowell-Billerica-Chelmsford area of Massachusetts, the Kenwick-Pasco-Richland area of Washington, the San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, Oakland-Fremont-Hayward, and the San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles areas of California. The wage range in these metropolitan areas is $30.45 per hour to $36.28 per hour, or $63,330 per year to $75,470 per year.
There are many occupations that are related to the environmental science and protection technician occupation. These occupations sometimes call for the same kinds of training or can be useful in the same industries, and thus some of the requirements for entry may overlap. In general, these occupations at the very least require formal education after high school and involve scientific measurements and principles include the following:
- Broadcast and sound engineers
- Drafters Clinical laboratory technicians
- Medical sonographers
- Engineering technicians Radiology technicians
Sources of Additional Information
More information can be found about this occupation using the following links. UsNews.Com
People with the educational background, skills, and desire to become a Environmental science and protection technicians, including health might be well suited to work in one of the following fields as well: