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ENVIRONMENTAL TECHNOLOGY

Can you imagine if the kitchen in your house never got cleaned? Eventually the rotting food and dirty dishes would create a very unpleasant and physically unsafe environment in which to live. It is the job of environmental technologists and technicians to ensure that we live in as clean an environment as possible. This involves collecting information regarding the presence and effects of pollutants in our air, water and soil.

Environmental technologists and technicians have a comprehensive knowledge of waste reduction, management methods and issues. They are capable of data handling and acquisition using computer software.

Some specific duties of technologists and technicians would include:

  • Field sampling: air, water and soil
  • Solid, liquid and air treatment methods and waste minimization
  • Hazardous goods and waste handling methods
  • WHMIS (Workplace Hazardous Management Information Systems) implementation and compliance evaluation
  • Emergency planning and spill response methods
  • Recycling and waste minimization program design
  • Environmental issue analysis and environmental law and ethics
  • Developing and implementing air, water or soil quality measurement plans
  • Taking inventory of and quantifying sources of locally-generated pollution
  • Using different laboratory techniques and instruments to prepare and analyze samples
  • Preparing reports of lab results for internal and external use
  • Responding to complaints about air, water or soil quality from community members

Where Will You Work?

As an environmental technologist or technician, you might find yourself working for the provincial or federal government, or for private industry. If you work for private industry, you may find yourself working for environmental labs, consulting firms, pulp and paper mills, chemical refineries or utility companies.

You will work both indoors and outdoors, and normally work a regular Monday to Friday work week, with occasional overtime. You will work in lab environments and be exposed to toxic materials so you must be trained and knowledgeable in safety measures.

How Much Will You Earn?

Technologist: $55,000 - $70,000/yr
Technician: $54,000 - $60,000/yr

How Does the Future Look?

Public and government awareness of environmental issues has greatly expanded the roles of environmental technologists and technicians. The job prospects for this field are expected to remain good-to-excellent over the next 10 years.

How Can You Get Started?

In high school, be sure to take courses in English, math, physics, chemistry and biology.

What Will You Need?

To be a successful environmental technologist or technician you should enjoy the outdoors and have a passion to improve the quality of the environment. You need to be analytical, efficient, research oriented and be skilled at presentations, written communications and time or priority management.

Post Secondary Possibilities

College
Program
Accredited Status
Discipline
Kwantlen University College
Environmental Protection
Technologist
Environmental
  • Programs listed are those accredited by the Applied Science Technologists & Technicians of British Columbia (ASTTBC); check www.asttbc.org for updates on accredited programs.
  • Check with your career facilitator or counsellor for other sources of information applicable to education options for this technology.
  • Salary figures indicated in the 'How Much Will You Earn?' section are extracted from ASTTBC's Member Compensation Survey or other Canadian sources applicable to the specific technology discipline. These figures are representative only; actual figures will vary depending on academic training, practical experience, job responsibilities and location of employment.
  • The TechWORKS! web site is an important online resource and provides links to career information that will be of interest to students pursuing a career in technology.

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