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Career and Education Opportunities for Environmental Technicians in Los Angeles, California

If you want to be an environmental technician, the Los Angeles, California area offers many opportunities both for education and employment. There are currently 3,400 working environmental technicians in California; this should grow 29% to 4,400 working environmental technicians in the state by 2016. This is better than the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for environmental technicians are expected to grow by about 28.9%. In general, environmental technicians perform laboratory and field tests to monitor the environment and investigate sources of pollution, including those that affect health.

A person working as an environmental technician can expect to earn about $24 hourly or $51,940 yearly on average in California and about $19 hourly or $40,230 annually on average in the U.S. as a whole. Environmental technicians earn more than people working in the category of Life Science Technical generally in California and more than people in the Life Science Technical category nationally. People working as environmental technicians can fill a number of jobs, such as: process laboratory specialist, emergency spill response technician, and remediation technician.

The Los Angeles area is home to 274 schools of higher education, including thirteen within twenty-five miles of Los Angeles where you can get a degree as an environmental technician. Environmental technicians usually hold a Bachelor's degree, so you can expect to spend about four years studying to be 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 Los Angeles include:

  • Agricultural Technician. Set up and maintain laboratory equipment and collect samples from crops or animals. Prepare specimens and record data to assist scientist in biology or related science experiments.
  • Biological Sciences Technician. Assist biological and medical scientists in laboratories. Set up, operate, and maintain laboratory instruments and equipment, monitor experiments, and calculate and record results. May analyze organic substances, such as blood, food, and drugs.
  • Chemical Laboratory Technician. Conduct chemical and physical laboratory tests to assist scientists in making qualitative and quantitative analyses of solids, liquids, and gaseous materials for purposes, such as research and development of new products or processes, quality control, maintenance of environmental standards, and other work involving experimental, theoretical, or practical application of chemistry and related sciences.
  • Chemist. Conduct qualitative and quantitative chemical analyses or chemical experiments in laboratories for quality or process control or to develop new products or knowledge.
  • Food Science Technician. Perform standardized qualitative and quantitative tests to determine physical or chemical properties of food or beverage products.
  • 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.
  • Forestry and Wildlife Manager. Compile data pertaining to size, content, and other characteristics of forest tracts, under direction of foresters; train and lead forest workers in forest propagation, fire prevention and suppression. May assist conservation scientists in managing, improving, and protecting rangelands and wildlife habitats, and help provide technical assistance regarding the conservation of soil, water, and related natural resources.
  • Soil Scientist. Conduct research in breeding, physiology, and management of crops and agricultural plants, their growth in soils, and control of pests; or study the chemical, physical, and mineralogical composition of soils as they relate to plant or crop growth. May classify and map soils and investigate effects of alternative practices on soil and crop productivity.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Environmental Technician Training

East Los Angeles College - Monterey Park, CA

East Los Angeles College, 1301 Avenida Cesar Chavez, Monterey Park, CA 91754-6099. East Los Angeles College is a large college located in Monterey Park, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 25,475 students. East Los Angeles College has a less than one year and an associate's degree program in Science Technologies/Technicians, Other Specialties which graduated one and zero students respectively in 2008.

Pomona College - Claremont, CA

Pomona College, 550 N College Ave Alexander Hall, Claremont, CA 91711-6319. Pomona College is a small college located in Claremont, California. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 1,532 students and an admission rate of 16%. Pomona College has a bachelor's degree program in Environmental Science which graduated thirteen students in 2008.

Whittier College - Whittier, CA

Whittier College, 13406 E Philadelphia Street, Whittier, CA 90601. Whittier College is a small college located in Whittier, California. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 1,895 students and an admission rate of 72%. Whittier College has a bachelor's degree program in Environmental Science.

Claremont McKenna College - Claremont, CA

Claremont McKenna College, 500 E 9th St, Claremont, CA 91711-6400. Claremont McKenna College is a small college located in Claremont, California. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 1,212 students and an admission rate of 19%. Claremont McKenna College has a bachelor's degree program in Environmental Studies.

California State University-Fullerton - Fullerton, CA

California State University-Fullerton, 800 N State College Blvd, Fullerton, CA 92831-3599. California State University-Fullerton is a large university located in Fullerton, California. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 36,990 students and an admission rate of 60%. California State University-Fullerton has a master's degree program in Environmental Studies which graduated thirty students in 2008.

University of California-Los Angeles - Los Angeles, CA

University of California-Los Angeles, 405 Hilgard Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1405. University of California-Los Angeles is a large university located in Los Angeles, California. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 37,782 students and an admission rate of 24%. University of California-Los Angeles has a bachelor's degree and a doctor's degree program in Environmental Science which graduated six and one students respectively in 2008.

Pitzer College - Claremont, CA

Pitzer College, 1050 North Mills Avenue, Claremont, CA 91711-6101. Pitzer College is a small college located in Claremont, California. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 1,025 students and an admission rate of 22%. Pitzer College has 2 areas of study related to Environmental Technician. They are:

  • Environmental Studies, bachelor's degree which graduated 1 student in 2008.
  • Environmental Science, bachelor's degree.

Fullerton College - Fullerton, CA

Fullerton College, 321 E Chapman Avenue, Fullerton, CA 92832-2095. Fullerton College is a large college located in Fullerton, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 22,500 students. Fullerton College has an associate's degree program in Environmental Science which graduated one student in 2008.

Golden West College - Huntington Beach, CA

Golden West College, 15744 Golden West, Huntington Beach, CA 92647-2710. Golden West College is a large college located in Huntington Beach, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 14,000 students. Golden West College has an associate's degree program in Environmental Science.

California State University-Long Beach - Long Beach, CA

California State University-Long Beach, 1250 Bellflower Blvd, Long Beach, CA 90840-0115. California State University-Long Beach is a large university located in Long Beach, California. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 37,891 students and an admission rate of 47%. California State University-Long Beach has a bachelor's degree program in Environmental Studies which graduated two students in 2008.

University of Southern California - Los Angeles, CA

University of Southern California, University Park, Los Angeles, CA 90089. University of Southern California is a large university located in Los Angeles, California. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 33,747 students and an admission rate of 22%. University of Southern California has 2 areas of study related to Environmental Technician. They are:

  • Environmental Studies, bachelor's degree, master's degree, and post-master's certificate which graduated six, zero, and zero students respectively in 2008.
  • Environmental Science, bachelor's degree which graduated 1 student in 2008.

University of California-Irvine - Irvine, CA

University of California-Irvine, , Irvine, CA 92697. University of California-Irvine is a large university located in Irvine, California. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 25,899 students and an admission rate of 56%. University of California-Irvine has a master's degree and a doctor's degree program in Environmental Studies which graduated one and five students respectively in 2008.

Occidental College - Los Angeles, CA

Occidental College, 1600 Campus Rd, Los Angeles, CA 90041-3392. Occidental College is a small college located in Los Angeles, California. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 1,868 students and an admission rate of 39%. Occidental College has a bachelor's degree program in Environmental Studies.

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.

LICENSES

Asbestos Consultant Certification

Licensing agency: Department of Industrial Relations
Address: Division of Occupational Safety and Health, Asbestos Consultant Certification Unit, 2211 Park Towne Circle, Suite 1, Sacramento, CA 95825-0414

Phone: (916) 574-2993
Website: Department of Industrial Relations Division of Occupational Safety and Health Asbestos Consultant Certification Unit

LOCATION INFORMATION: Los Angeles, California

Los Angeles, California
Los Angeles, California photo by Diliff

Los Angeles is located in Los Angeles County, California. It has a population of over 3,833,995, which has grown by 3.8% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Los Angeles, 166, is far greater than the national average. New single-family homes in Los Angeles are valued at $361,500 on average, which is far greater than the state average. In 2008, seven hundred twelve new homes were built in Los Angeles, down from 1,551 the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Los Angeles are health care, educational services, and professional, scientific, and technical services. For men, it is construction, accommodation and food services, and professional, scientific, and technical services. The average travel time to work is about 30 minutes. More than 25.5% of Los Angeles residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 9.1%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Los Angeles is 13.9%, which is greater than California's average of 12.3%.

The percentage of Los Angeles residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 58.1%, is more than both the national and state average. All Peoples Christian Church, All Saints Episcopal Church and All Saints Roman Catholic Church are some of the churches located in Los Angeles. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Southern Baptist Convention and the LDS (Mormon) Church.

Los Angeles is home to the Balboa Municipal Golf Course and the Angels Flight Railway as well as Hazard Park and State Street Recreation Center. Shopping centers in the area include Encino Junior Shopping Center, Encino Oaks Shopping Center and Encino Town Center Shopping Center. Visitors to Los Angeles can choose from Best Western Mid-Wilshire Plaza, Best Western Westwood Pacific and Alma Lodge for temporary stays in the area.