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Career and Education Opportunities for Environmental Technicians in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania provides a wide variety of opportunities, both career and educational, for environmental technicians. There are currently 1,450 working environmental technicians in Pennsylvania; this should grow by 13% to about 1,650 working environmental technicians in the state by 2016. This is not quite as good as 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.

Environmental technicians earn approximately $19 hourly or $39,580 annually on average in Pennsylvania. Nationally they average about $19 per hour or $40,230 yearly. Environmental technicians earn more than people working in the category of Life Science Technical generally in Pennsylvania and more than people in the Life Science Technical category nationally. People working as environmental technicians can fill a number of jobs, such as: asbestos microscopist, waste/materials exchange specialist, and environmental laboratory technician.

There are eighty-three schools of higher education in the Pittsburgh area, including nine within twenty-five miles of Pittsburgh 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 Pittsburgh include:

  • 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.
  • 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

California University of Pennsylvania - California, PA

California University of Pennsylvania, 250 University Ave, California, PA 15419-1394. California University of Pennsylvania is a medium sized university located in California, Pennsylvania. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 8,519 students and an admission rate of 61%. California University of Pennsylvania has a bachelor's degree program in Environmental Science which graduated twenty-one students in 2008.

Chatham University - Pittsburgh, PA

Chatham University, Woodland Rd, Pittsburgh, PA 15232. Chatham University is a small university located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 2,133 students and an admission rate of 71%. Chatham University 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 which graduated 1 student in 2008.

Carlow University - Pittsburgh, PA

Carlow University, 3333 Fifth Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3165. Carlow University is a small university located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 2,234 students and an admission rate of 60%. Carlow University has 2 areas of study related to Environmental Technician. They are:

  • Environmental Science, bachelor's degree.
  • Science Technologies/Technicians, Other Specialties, bachelor's degree.

Duquesne University - Pittsburgh, PA

Duquesne University, Administration Bldg 600 Forbes Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15282. Duquesne University is a large university located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 10,106 students and an admission rate of 76%. Duquesne University has bachelor's degree, postbaccalaureate certificate, and master's degree programs in Environmental Science which graduated one, one, and thirteen students respectively in 2008.

Robert Morris University - Moon Township, PA

Robert Morris University, 6001 University Boulevard, Moon Township, PA 15108-1189. Robert Morris University is a small university located in Moon Township, Pennsylvania. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 4,767 students and an admission rate of 75%. Robert Morris University has a bachelor's degree program in Environmental Science which graduated seven students in 2008.

Carnegie Mellon University - Pittsburgh, PA

Carnegie Mellon University, 5000 Forbes Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3890. Carnegie Mellon University is a large university located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 10,646 students and an admission rate of 29%. Carnegie Mellon University has 3 areas of study related to Environmental Technician. They are:

  • Environmental Studies, bachelor's degree.
  • Environmental Science, bachelor's degree.
  • Science Technologies/Technicians, Other Specialties, bachelor's degree.

Point Park University - Pittsburgh, PA

Point Park University, 201 Wood St, Pittsburgh, PA 15222-1984. Point Park University is a small university located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 3,846 students and an admission rate of 79%. Point Park University has an associate's degree and a bachelor's degree program in Environmental Science.

Washington & Jefferson College - Washington, PA

Washington & Jefferson College, 60 S Lincoln St, Washington, PA 15301. Washington & Jefferson College is a small college located in Washington, Pennsylvania. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 1,519 students and an admission rate of 38%. Washington & Jefferson College has a bachelor's degree program in Environmental Studies.

West Virginia Northern Community College - Wheeling, WV

West Virginia Northern Community College, 1704 Market St., Wheeling, WV 26003-3699. West Virginia Northern Community College is a small college located in Wheeling, West Virginia. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 2,924 students. West Virginia Northern Community College has an associate's degree program in Science Technologies/Technicians, Other Specialties which graduated five students 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: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania photo by Conk 9

Pittsburgh is located in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. It has a population of over 310,037, which has shrunk by 7.3% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Pittsburgh, 86, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Pittsburgh cost $196,700 on average, which is far greater than the state average. In 2008, one hundred eighty-five new homes were built in Pittsburgh, up from one hundred seventeen the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in Pittsburgh are health care, educational services, and finance and insurance. For men, it is educational services, health care, and accommodation and food services. The average travel time to work is about 23 minutes. More than 26.2% of Pittsburgh residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 12.5%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Pittsburgh is 7.8%, which is less than Pennsylvania's average of 8.4%.

The percentage of Pittsburgh residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 71.8%, is more than both the national and state average. Saint Pauls Cathedral, Saint Patrick Roman Cathlic Church and Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church are some of the churches located in Pittsburgh. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Presbyterian Church (USA) and the United Methodist Church.

Pittsburgh is home to the Mount Washington Overlook and the Golden Triangle as well as Magee Playground and Kennard Playground. Shopping centers in the area include Shadyside Shopping Center and Allegheny Center Mall. Visitors to Pittsburgh can choose from Best Western University Center, Avalon Motel and Four Points By Sheraton Pittsburgh Airport for temporary stays in the area.