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Career and Education Opportunities for Environmental Technicians in Birmingham, Alabama

For those living in the Birmingham, Alabama area, there are many career and education opportunities for environmental technicians. Currently, 280 people work as environmental technicians in Alabama. This is expected to grow by 8% to about 310 people by 2016. This is not quite as good as the national trend for environmental technicians, which sees this job pool growing by about 28.9% over the next eight years. Environmental technicians generally perform laboratory and field tests to monitor the environment and investigate sources of pollution, including those that affect health.

Environmental technicians earn approximately $17 per hour or $36,180 per year on average in Alabama. Nationally they average about $19 hourly or $40,230 per year. Compared with people working in the overall category of Life Science Technical, people working as environmental technicians in Alabama earn less. They earn more than people working in the overall category of Life Science Technical nationally. People working as environmental technicians can fill a number of jobs, such as: smog technician, environmental property assessor, and emergency spill response technician.

There are fifteen schools of higher education in the Birmingham area, including two within twenty-five miles of Birmingham where you can get a degree to start your career as an environmental technician. Environmental technicians usually hold a Bachelor's degree, so you can expect to spend about four years training to become an environmental technician if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Environmental Technician

In general, environmental technicians perform laboratory and field tests to monitor the environment and investigate sources of pollution, including those that affect health. They also under direction of an environmental scientist or specialist, may collect samples of gases, soil, and other materials for testing and take corrective actions as assigned.

Every day, environmental technicians are expected to be able to listen to and understand others in meetings. They need to read and understand documents and reports.

It is important for environmental technicians to record test data and ready reports, summaries, and charts that interpret test results. They are often called upon to collect samples of gases and asbestos products to conduct tests on pollutant levels and identify sources of pollution. They also assemble equipment or stations to track and collect pollutants from sites, such as smoke stacks or mechanical equipment. They are sometimes expected to design and implement programs for monitoring of environmental pollution and radiation. Somewhat less frequently, environmental technicians are also expected to ready samples or photomicrographs for testing and analysis.

Environmental technicians sometimes are asked to calculate amount of pollutant in samples or compute air pollution or gas flow in industrial processes, using chemical and mathematical formulas. They also have to be able to distribute permits, closure plans and cleanup plans and make recommendations to control or eliminate unsafe conditions at workplaces or public facilities. And finally, they sometimes have to design and implement programs for monitoring of environmental pollution and radiation.

Like many other jobs, environmental technicians must have exceptional integrity and be thorough and dependable.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Birmingham include:

  • Chemist. Conduct qualitative and quantitative chemical analyses or chemical experiments in laboratories for quality or process control or to develop new products or knowledge.
  • Forensic Investigator. Collect, identify, and analyze physical evidence related to criminal investigations. Perform tests on weapons or substances, such as fiber, hair, and tissue to determine significance to investigation. May testify as expert witnesses on evidence or crime laboratory techniques. May serve as specialists in area of expertise, such as ballistics, fingerprinting, or biochemistry.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Environmental Technician Training

Samford University - Birmingham, AL

Samford University, 800 Lakeshore Drive, Birmingham, AL 35229-2240. Samford University is a small university located in Birmingham, Alabama. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 4,469 students and an admission rate of 89%. Samford University has a bachelor's degree program in Environmental Studies which graduated two students in 2008.

Miles College - Fairfield, AL

Miles College, 5500 Myron Massey Blvd, Fairfield, AL 35064. Miles College is a small college located in Fairfield, Alabama. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 1,773 students. Miles College has a bachelor's degree program in Environmental Science which graduated one student in 2008.

CERTIFICATIONS

Associate Safety Professional: The Associate Safety Professional (ASP) designation is the start of the process toward achieving the CSP certification.

For more information, see the Board of Certified Safety Professionals website.

Electron Microscopy Technologist: The Microscopy Society of America (MSA), the world's largest professional association of microscopists, provides the only certification of technologists in biological transmission electron microscopy available in the Americas.

For more information, see the Microscopy Society of America website.

Ventilation System Mold Remediator: Ventilation System Mold Remediator (VSMR) Certification ensures an understanding of basic microbiological contamination, project assessment, and how to apply NADCA and other industry standards.

For more information, see the National Air Ducts Cleaning Association website.

Registered Environmental Health Specialist/Registered Sanitarian: The REHS/RS is the premiere NEHA credential.

For more information, see the National Environmental Health Association website.

Certified Environmental Health Technician: CEHT is for individuals who are interested in field intensive environmental health activities--such as testing, sampling, and inspections, and who are required to provide information on safe environmental health practices and to eliminate environmental health hazards.

For more information, see the National Environmental Health Association website.

Registered Hazardous Substances Specialist: A Registered Hazardous Substances Specialist is an individual who, in support of and under the direcion of, Registered Hazardous Substances Professionals, environmental professionals and scientists, carries out in a responsible manner proven techniques of a technical nature in a particular hazardous materials/waste management field.

For more information, see the National Environmental Health Association website.

Registered Environmental Technician: A Registered Environmental Technician is an individual who, in support of and under the direction of Registered Hazardous Substances Professionals, environmental pofessionals and scientists, carries out in a responsible manner proven techniques of a technical nature in a particular hazardous materials/waste management field.

For more information, see the National Environmental Health Association website.

Water/Wastewater Plants Certification: This certification program is designed for engineering technicians who perform the inspection during construction of water/wastewater treatment plants, pumping stations and related buildings and structures.

For more information, see the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies website.

Associate Environmental Professional: Associate Environmental Professional is the entry level program of professional environmental certification.

For more information, see the National Registry of Environmental Professionals website.

Registered Environmental Laboratory Technologist: RELT -- Registered Environmental Laboratory Technologist is a special registration/certification for persons engaged in the laboratory management and/or analysis of environmental samples.

For more information, see the National Registry of Environmental Professionals website.

Environmental Technician: NREP provides an Environmental Registry listing for individuals conducting environmental technician job functions.

For more information, see the National Registry of Environmental Professionals website.

Registered Radiation Protection Technologist: A Radiation Protection Technologist is a person engaged in providing radiation protection to the radiation worker, the general public, and the environment from the effects of ionizing radiation.

For more information, see the National Registry of Radiation Protection Technologists website.

Certified Mold Professional: The Certified Mold Professional (CMP) Program is a course of study which includes a series of three mold courses.

For more information, see the Restoration Industry Association website.

Certified Collection Systems Professional: SWANA Certification is recognized by numerous states as the standard for solid waste employees.

For more information, see the Solid Waste Association of North America website.

Certified Collection Systems Technical Associate: By earning this certification, you will demonstrate knowledge and proficiency in designing and implementing efficient and effective collection systems.

For more information, see the Solid Waste Association of North America website.

Certified Municipal Solid Waste Management Technical Associate: By earning this certification, you will demonstrate knowledge and proficiency that only the top in a field can show.

For more information, see the Solid Waste Association of North America website.

Certified Construction & Demolition Materials Technical Associate: Professionals who have earned their C&D Certification have shown proficiency in all aspects of the disposal and reuse of C&D materials.

For more information, see the Solid Waste Association of North America website.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Birmingham, Alabama

Birmingham, Alabama
Birmingham, Alabama photo by Eric_in_SF

Birmingham is located in Jefferson County, Alabama. It has a population of over 228,798, which has shrunk by 5.8% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Birmingham, 81, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Birmingham cost $187,300 on average, which is well above the state average. In 2008, one hundred thirty-two new homes were built in Birmingham, down from two hundred thirty-two the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Birmingham are health care, educational services, and finance and insurance. For men, it is construction, accommodation and food services, and health care. The average travel time to work is about 24 minutes. More than 18.5% of Birmingham residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 6.6%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Birmingham is 12.5%, which is greater than Alabama's average of 10.7%.

The percentage of Birmingham residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 60.1%, is more than both the national and state average. Williams Chapel Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, Westminister Presbyterian Church and West End Methodist Church are all churches located in Birmingham. The most common religious groups are the Southern Baptist Convention, the United Methodist Church and the Catholic Church.

Birmingham is home to the Mineral Park Municipal Golf Course and the Cooper Green Golf Course as well as Avondale Mills Park and Smithfield Historic District. Shopping malls in the area include Acipco Shopping Center, Altadena Square Shopping Center and Parkway East Huffman Shopping Center. Visitors to Birmingham can choose from Marriott Hotel Birmingham, Rime Garden Extended Stay Suites and Studioplus for temporary stays in the area.