Make Green Living Your Career as an Environmental Protection Technician
The focus on green living is shifting from just reuse, reduce, recycle to the use of solar energy, electric cars and motorbikes and entire environmentally friendly neighbourhoods. Adding to that, disasters such as the recent Gulf Coast oil spill are making the job of an Environmental Protection Technician vital. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for environmental technicians is excellent. This occupation is projected to expand faster, through 2018, than other occupations that require post-secondary training or an associate degree.
As a technician, you are responsible for performing laboratory and field tests to analyze environmental resources and determine the contaminants that are causing pollution. You will also take samples for testing and generally have a hand in reducing or managing the causes of pollution. In order to pursue this field of work you should have good organizational, analytic thinking, communication and interpersonal skills. You must be well versed in using computers, particularly in computer modeling.
A typical day in the life of an Environmental Protection Technician would include a wide range of tasks. He or she might start the day by collecting samples of gases, soils, water, industrial wastewater and asbestos products, on which tests will be conducted to determine pollutant levels and identify sources of the pollution. A technician will also record test data, prepare reports and summaries and charts that interpret the test results. As a conclusion to the testing, he or she might work on developing and implementing programs of environmental pollution and radiation. Lastly, he or she will discuss the results with customers then set up equipment or stations to further monitor and collect pollutants from the sites. However, Environmental Protection Technicians are not limited to these duties. Technicians are also involved in the regulation of waste products, managing hazardous material, affecting compliance with environmental regulations, and the clean up of polluted sites. Work is found in laboratories, with government agencies and with environmental firms.
To get your foot in the door of this field, you will need to complete a college program such as Centennial College’s Environmental Programs undertaking. The School expects applicants to present at minimum an Ontario Secondary School Diploma or equivalent or be 19 years of age or older. You also need to possess compulsory English 12C or U or skills assessment, or equivalent and Math 11M or U, or 12C or U or skills assessment, or equivalent. Once requirements have been met, you will embark on an exciting two-year program that features practical training in the three foundation disciplines of biology, chemistry and civil engineering, which are used to help you understand and manage complex environmental issues. You’ll work with the tools and equipment that professionals use in the field and have laboratory practice in water quality testing, groundwater movement and the chemistry of pollutants. Upon graduation, you’ll be qualified to write the Ontario Ministry of the Environment Water Quality Analyst exam. There are even more exciting benefits to the Environmental Protection Technician program that you can check out by viewing the benefits page.