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environmental engineering technicians: With new job creation on the horizon and a chance to make a difference, students should consider looking into a career as an environmental engineering technician.

Environmental engineering technicians work in laboratories and out in the field recording observations (both written and via photograph) and test results (BLS, 2018). These skilled workers conduct pollution surveys, testing the water, soil, and even air to help monitor and find find ways to combat the negative effects of pollution (BLS, 2018; Science Buddies, 2018). Their job includes testing, operating, and sometimes even customizing different technologies (BLS, 2018; Science Buddies, 2018).

Due to the nature of their work, EETs must have strong observational, critical-thinking, and problem-solving skills; they are the "eyes and ears of environmental engineers," and the engineers rely on them to help identify both problems (for example unexpected findings or a mechanical breakdown) and solutions in the work they do (BLS, 2018). Because they work on a team, environmental engineering technicians must have good communication skills, too. It's also important that environmental engineering technicians have an eye for detail--for both data collection and the legal and technical documents that define regulatory requirements. All these skills are built during an environmental engineering technician's education. Environmental engineering technicians usually have at least an associate's degree in environmental engineering technology or a related field (BLS, 2018; Science Buddies, 2018).

By working toward a career in environmental engineering, students can feel good knowing their future work will make a difference for the community and potentially society at large. Pairing that with a 13-percent increase expected in job growth by 2026 that's faster than average, and median pay of over $50,000 a year, this may be a strong job prospect to explore for those interested in science and nature.

references

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor. (2018). Occupational outlook handbook, Environmental engineering technicians, www.bls.gov/ooh/architecture-and-engineering/environmental-engineering-technicians.htm

Science Buddies. (2018). Environmental engineering technician. www.sciencebuddies.org/science-engineeringcareers/engineering/environmental-engineering- technician#keyfactsinformation

Bryanne Peterson, Ph.D., has a decade of classroom experience and now works with educators to improve STEM education and career development in their classrooms. She can be reached at brvanne@vt.edu.

Quick Facts: Environmental Engineering Technicians

2017 Median Pay                  $50,230 per year $24.15 per hour
Typical Entry-Level Education    Associate's degree
Work Experience in a Related     None
 Occupation
On-the-Job Training              None
Number of Jobs, 2016             17,000
Job Outlook, 2016-26             13% (Faster than average)
Employment Change, 2016-26       2,200
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Author:Peterson, Bryanne
Publication:Children's Technology and Engineering
Article Type:Occupation overview
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 1, 2018
Words:387
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