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Career and Education Opportunities for Environmental Technicians in Charleston, West Virginia

There is a wide variety of career and education opportunities for environmental technicians in the Charleston, West Virginia area. There are currently 350 jobs for environmental technicians in West Virginia and this is projected to grow 16% to about 410 jobs 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%. 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 $13 hourly or $28,150 annually on average in West Virginia and about $19 per hour or $40,230 per year on average in the U.S. as a whole. Incomes for environmental technicians are not quite as good as in the overall category of Life Science Technical in West Virginia, and better than the overall Life Science Technical category nationally. Jobs in this field include: hazardous material technician, water quality technician, and environmental safety specialist.

The Charleston area is home to seventeen schools of higher education, including two within twenty-five miles of Charleston where you can get a degree as an environmental technician. The most common level of education for environmental technicians is a Bachelor's degree. 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 Charleston include:

  • 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.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Environmental Technician Training

University of Charleston - Charleston, WV

University of Charleston, 2300 MacCorkle Avenue, SE, Charleston, WV 25304. University of Charleston is a small university located in Charleston, West Virginia. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 1,431 students and an admission rate of 66%. University of Charleston has a bachelor's degree program in Environmental Science.

West Virginia State Community and Technical College - Institute, WV

West Virginia State Community and Technical College, 103 Cole Complex, Institute, WV 25112-1000. West Virginia State Community and Technical College is a small college located in Institute, West Virginia. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 1,741 students. West Virginia State Community and Technical College has 2 areas of study related to Environmental Technician. They are:

  • Physical Science Technologies/Technicians, Other Specialties, associate's degree.
  • Science Technologies/Technicians, Other Specialties, one to two year and associate's degree which graduated one and four students respectively 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: Charleston, West Virginia

Charleston, West Virginia
Charleston, West Virginia photo by Malepheasant

Charleston is situated in Kanawha County, West Virginia. It has a population of over 50,302, which has shrunk by 5.8% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Charleston, 84, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Charleston are priced at $268,400 on average, which is far greater than the state average. In 2008, thirty-four new homes were constructed in Charleston, up from twenty-seven the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in Charleston are health care, educational services, and public administration. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, health care, and public administration. The average travel time to work is about 16 minutes. More than 32.6% of Charleston residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 15.0%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Charleston is 7.7%, which is the same as West Virginia's average of 7.7%. About 16.7% of Charleston's residents are below the poverty line, which is better than the state average.

The percentage of Charleston residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 34.5%, is less than both the national and state average. Starcher Baptist Church, Southeast Church of the Nazarene and South Ruffner Presbyterian Church are among the churches located in Charleston. The largest religious groups are the American Baptist Churches in the USA, the United Methodist Church and the Catholic Church.

Charleston is home to the John F Kennedy Center and the Kanawha County Courthouse as well as Watt Powell Stadium and Ruffner Memorial Park. Shopping centers in the area include Patrick Street Plaza Shopping Center, Laidley Court Shopping Center and Plaza East Shopping Center. Visitors to Charleston can choose from Days Inn Charleston East WV, Motel 6 and Fairfield Inn Charleston for temporary stays in the area.