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Career and Education Opportunities for Environmental Technicians in Columbia, Missouri

If you want to be an environmental technician, the Columbia, Missouri area offers many opportunities both for education and employment. The national trend for environmental technicians 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.

A person working as an environmental technician can expect to earn about $18 hourly or $38,440 annually on average in Missouri and about $19 hourly or $40,230 per year on average in the U.S. as a whole. Incomes for environmental technicians are better than in the overall category of Life Science Technical in Missouri, and better than the overall Life Science Technical category nationally. People working as environmental technicians can fill a number of jobs, such as: water quality analyst, solid waste technician, and mobile lab technician.

There are thirteen schools of higher education in the Columbia area, including three within twenty-five miles of Columbia where you can get a degree to start your career as an environmental technician. The most common level of education for environmental technicians is a Bachelor's degree. It will take about four years to learn 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 Columbia 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.
  • 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

Columbia College - Columbia, MO

Columbia College, 1001 Rogers, Columbia, MO 65216. Columbia College is a large college located in Columbia, Missouri. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 14,081 students and an admission rate of 53%. Columbia College has a bachelor's degree program in Environmental Studies.

Westminster College - Fulton, MO

Westminster College, 501 Westminster Ave, Fulton, MO 65251-1299. Westminster College is a small college located in Fulton, Missouri. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 992 students and an admission rate of 77%. Westminster College has 2 areas of study related to Environmental Technician. They are:

  • Environmental Studies, bachelor's degree.
  • Environmental Science, bachelor's degree.

Central Methodist University-College of Liberal Arts & Sciences - Fayette, MO

Central Methodist University-College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, 411 Central Methodist Square, Fayette, MO 65248-1198. Central Methodist University-College of Liberal Arts & Sciences is a small university located in Fayette, Missouri. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 1,031 students and an admission rate of 66%. Central Methodist University-College of Liberal Arts & Sciences has a bachelor's degree program in Environmental Science.

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: Columbia, Missouri

Columbia, Missouri
Columbia, Missouri photo by Grey_Wanderer

Columbia is situated in Boone County, Missouri. It has a population of over 100,733, which has grown by 19.2% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Columbia, 85, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Columbia are valued at $171,800 on average, which is below the state average. In 2008, three hundred thirty-five new homes were constructed in Columbia, down from six hundred fifty-three the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Columbia are educational services, health care, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is educational services, accommodation and food services, and health care. The average travel time to work is about 15 minutes. More than 50.5% of Columbia residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 24.0%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Columbia is 6.8%, which is less than Missouri's average of 8.9%.

The percentage of Columbia residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 40.9%, is less than both the national and state average. Sugar Grove Church, Fairview Church and Emmanuel Church are among the churches located in Columbia. The most common religious groups are the Southern Baptist Convention, the Catholic Church and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).

Columbia is home to the Columbia Country Club and the Columbia Plaza as well as Nickell Park and Stephens Park. Shopping centers in the area include Whitegate Shopping Center, North County Shopping Center and Biscayne Mall. Visitors to Columbia can choose from Churchill's, Columbia Super 8 Motel and Arrow Head Motel LLC for temporary stays in the area.