Environmental Science Technician  What They Do

Just the Facts


Performs 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 or specialist, may collect samples of gases, soil, water, and other materials for testing, and take corrective actions as assigned.

This career is part of the Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources cluster Environmental Service Systems pathway.


A person in this career:

  • Collects samples of gases, soils, water, industrial wastewater, or asbestos products to conduct tests on pollutant levels or identify sources of pollution.
  • Records test data and prepares reports, summaries, or charts that interpret test results.
  • Develops or implements programs for monitoring of environmental pollution or radiation.
  • Discusses test results and analyses with customers.
  • Sets up equipment or stations to monitor and collect pollutants from sites, such as smoke stacks, manufacturing plants, or mechanical equipment.
  • Maintains files, such as hazardous waste databases, chemical usage data, personnel exposure information, or diagrams showing equipment locations.
  • Develops testing procedures or directs activities of workers in laboratory.
  • Prepares samples or photomicrographs for testing and analysis.
  • Calibrates microscopes or test instruments.
  • Examines and analyzes material for presence and concentration of contaminants, such as asbestos, using variety of microscopes.

Insider Info

Dig into the details and check out what people in this job have to say about their work.



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Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics

Working Conditions and Physical Demands

People who do this job report that:

  • You would often handle loads up to 10 lbs., sometimes up to 20 lbs. You might do a lot of walking or standing, or you might sit but use your arms and legs to control machines, equipment or tools.
  • Work in this occupation involves use of protective items such as safety shoes, glasses, gloves, hearing protection, a hard hat, or personal flotation devices
  • Exposure to pollutants, gases, dust, fumes, odors, poor ventilation, etc.
  • Lighting is either extremely bright or inadequate
  • Conditions are very hot (above 90 F) or very cold (under 32 F)
  • Work in this occupation involves using your hands to hold, control, and feel objects more than one-third of the time
  • Exposed to conditions such as high voltage electricity, combustibles, explosives, and chemicals more than once a month
  • Exposed to hazardous equipment such as saws, machinery, or vehicular traffic more than once a month
  • Work in this occupation requires being inside most of the time
  • Sound and noise levels are loud and distracting
  • Work in this occupation requires being outside most of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves standing more than one-third of the time

Working in this career involves (physical activities):

  • Seeing clearly up close
  • Speaking clearly enough to be able to be understood by others
  • Identifying and understanding the speech of another person

Work Hours and Travel

  • Regular working hours and limited travel

Specialty and Similar Careers

Careers that are more detailed or close to this career:

  • Hazardous Material Technician -- Identifies and disposes of asbestos, radioactive and nuclear waste, arsenic, lead, and other hazardous materials and clean up materials that are flammable, corrosive, reactive, or toxic.
  • Public Health Sanitarian Technician -- Promotes public health by conducting environmental health inspections and related activities for settings such as food service establishments, children's camps, hotels, campgrounds, swimming pools, bathing beaches, water and sewage treatment systems, hosp
  • Asbestos Abatement Technician --
  • Biological/Microbiological Lab Technician --
  • Ground Water Technician --
  • Infectious Waste Technician --
  • Radon Inspector --
  • Wastewater Treatment Plant Chemist --