Similar Titles

Environmental Health and Safety Technician, Environmental Compliance Technician, Hazardous Materials Technician, Occupational Health and Safety Technician, Industrial Hygiene Technician, Environmental Monitoring Technician

Job Description

Some industries, like energy production, transportation, manufacturing, and agriculture, have a larger impact on the environment than others. At the same time, these industries are also among the most hazardous to work in.

Since the operations of these types of industries have the potential to harm workers and the environment, they have experts assigned to help ensure compliance with safety and environmental regulations.

Known as Environmental Safety Technicians, their job includes monitoring conditions, identifying hazards, assessing risks, and proposing solutions to mitigate risk. They also conduct inspections to make sure employers and employees follow the right procedures so that workers, communities, and ecosystems are as safe as possible. 

Rewarding Aspects of Career
  • Implement and monitor environmental safety programs
  • Contribute to pollution reduction and environmental protection
  • Ensure compliance with workplace safety and health regulations and policies
  • Play a key role in emergency preparedness and response
2023 Employment
2032 Projected Employment
The Inside Scoop
Job Responsibilities

Working Schedule

Environmental Safety Technicians typically work full-time. Overtime may be required for emergency response situations or to meet project deadlines. Some travel may be necessary for site evaluations.

Typical Duties

  • Monitor workplace environmental conditions; check for adherence to regulations
  • Apply codes, regulations, laws, and policies related to worker health and safety
  • Conduct inspections and audits to identify potential safety hazards and environmental risks. Ensure safe levels of air and water quality
  • Check emission control devices for proper functioning
  • Collect and analyze samples of soil, water, and gas for contaminants and pollutants, following Environmental Protection Agency guidelines
  • Analyze and interpret environmental data using modeling, simulation tools, and Geographic Information Systems
  • Assist in developing and implementing safety programs and emergency response plans to safeguard workers against hazardous practices and materials
  • Communicate safety-related information to employees, managers, and contractors
  • Provide workplace safety training; document training records, as needed
  • Ensure proper use of safety equipment and personal protective equipment
  • Research Safety Data Sheets, perform Toxic Substances Control Act assessments, authorize chemical use, and administer chemical tracking
  • Follow guidelines in the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act
  • Develop data-driven action/mitigation plans, including testing and treating Acid Mine Drainage water
  • Review Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plans to ensure compliance with Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards
  • Provide support in hazardous waste management labeling, storage, transport, and disposal
  • Assist in applying for environmental and health safety permits
  • Analyze incident data for trends in mishaps, injuries, and hazards

Additional Responsibilities

  • Calibrate test instrument
  • Cooperate with external inspections
  • Implement Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasures, as applicable
  • Conduct monitoring and reporting to government agencies as required
  • Maintain records related to waste characterization
  • Support investigations of incidents and accidents; determine root causes and recommend preventive measures
  • Prepare reports based on assessments, audits, inspections, and investigations
  • Train and supervise newer technicians
  • Participate in sustainability initiatives and meetings
  • Research trends, best practices, and regulatory changes 
Skills Needed on the Job

Soft Skills

  • Analytical
  • Attention to detail
  • Collaboration
  • Critical thinking
  • Deductive and inductive reasoning
  • Detail-oriented
  • Independent
  • Integrity
  • Monitoring
  • Objective
  • Organized
  • Perceptive
  • Problem-solving
  • Reading comprehension
  • Safety-oriented
  • Strength and stamina
  • Strong communication skills

Technical Skills

  • Emergency response planning
  • Environmental areas (e.g., air quality, water resources)
  • Environmental monitoring, sampling, data collection, and analysis tools and techniques
  • Environmental regulations and compliance measures
  • Environmental reporting tools
  • Environmental science and ecology
  • Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
  • Hazardous waste and materials regulations and handling procedures
  • Project management
  • Report writing and presentation
  • Safety and health assessment techniques
  • Statistical and data modeling tools
Different Types of Organizations
  • Chemical companies
  • Construction and infrastructure companies
  • Corporate environmental departments
  • Environmental consulting firms
  • Government regulatory agencies (federal, state, and local)
  • Healthcare facilities
  • Industrial and manufacturing plants
  • Mining and natural resource companies
  • Public and private educational institutions
  • Research organizations
  • Utilities (water, gas, and electric)
  • Waste management and recycling companies
Expectations and Sacrifices

Environmental Safety Technicians may work in various conditions, including industrial settings or outdoors facing environmental factors. The job may require being around hazardous materials, which demands strict adherence to safety protocols.

Workers sometimes face industry resistance or public concerns, requiring them to have strong communication skills. As advocates for workplace safety and environmental stewardship, they play a crucial role in promoting and implementing effective health and safety practices and policies. At the same time, they must engage in continuous learning to stay updated on changing regulations and safety practices.

Current Trends

The public is putting pressure on governmental agencies to do more for the environment and to have more oversight on what organizations are doing. This push for more sustainability and accountability is resulting in new laws and updated policies and regulations at national, state, and local levels.

Environmental Safety Technicians help to explain these changes and monitor organizational compliance with them. Technology like remote sensing and advanced analytical tools is enabling them to conduct more precise monitoring and better data collection.

The incorporation of AI, wearable smart devices, robotics, and electronic reporting systems is also being used to enhance safety—but these advancements require workers to keep up with the evolving technologies. 

What kinds of things did people in this career enjoy doing when they were younger…

Students who choose to become Environmental Safety Technicians often have an interest in the natural world and environmental conservation. They may have been involved in science clubs, outdoor activities, and community initiatives focused on sustainability from a young age. Their academic interests probably included subjects like biology, chemistry, and environmental studies.

Education and Training Needed
  • Environmental Safety Technicians typically require an associate degree, technical certification, or in some cases a bachelor’s degree
  1. Note, some entry-level positions may only require relevant work experience versus academic credentials
  • Common degrees include:
  1. Associate degree in Environmental Science
  2. Associate degree in Occupational Health and Safety
  3. Bachelor’s in Environmental Engineering
  4. Bachelor’s in Environmental Health and Safety
  5. Bachelor’s in Environmental Science
  6. Bachelor’s in Industrial Hygiene
  7. Bachelor’s in Occupational Health and Safety
  • Relevant coursework may include:
  1. Air Quality Management
  2. Climate Change and Global Warming
  3. Conservation Biology
  4. Ecology
  5. Environmental Health and Toxicology
  6. Environmental Impact Assessment
  7. Environmental Law and Legislation
  8. Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
  9. Hazardous Materials Handling
  10. Industrial Safety
  11. Natural Resource Management
  12. Occupational Health and Safety
  13. Renewable Energy Sources
  14. Soil Science
  15. Waste Management
  • Hands-on experience through internships, research assistant roles, or entry-level environmental health and safety jobs can be beneficial
  • In addition, expect a few months of on-the-job training
  • Optional industry certifications include:
  1. Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response certification
  2. Certified Hazardous Materials Manager
  3. Occupational Hygiene and Safety Technician
  4. Certified Environmental Professional
  • Workers may need a valid driver’s license to travel to job sites
  • Environmental Safety Technicians can receive training at community colleges, universities, or even at technical or vocational schools 
    that offers programs or certifications in environmental safety
  • Look for accredited schools offering programs in environmental science, environmental health and safety, occupational health and safety, industrial hygiene, or environmental engineering
  • Think about your schedule and flexibility when deciding whether to enroll in an on-campus, online, or hybrid program
  • Seek programs with fieldwork and internships opportunities
  • Consider the cost of tuition, discounts, and local scholarship opportunities (in addition to federal aid)
  • Look for programs that collaborate with external partners, which can augment your learning experience
  • Review graduation rates and post-graduate job placement statistics
Things to do in High School and College
  • Ask a seasoned Environmental Safety Technician to do an informational interview with you, or see if you can shadow them at work for a day
  • Watch videos and read online articles related to the career field to familiarize yourself with current environmental health and safety trends. Popular blogs include:
  1. EHS Daily Advisor
  2. EHS Today
  3. EPA Perspectives
  4. OSHA Quicktakes
  5. Safety+Health
  • Check out job descriptions posted on employment portals to determine the most current job qualifications and areas of specialization that might interest you
  • In high school, load up on biology, ecology, chemistry, environmental science, math (especially algebra and geometry), physics, health science, geography, English, writing, computer science, government, and shop classes
  • Engage in extracurricular activities to gain teamwork, leadership, and project management experience
  • Participate in relevant online forums like the National Safety Council’s Global Health, Safety & Environment Forum
  • Keep track of all your work and academic accomplishments for your resume and college applications
Environmental Safety Technician
Environmental Safety Technician Roadmap
How to Land your 1st job
  1. Accident Prevention
  2. Emergency Response
  3. Environmental Compliance
  4. Environmental Management Systems
  5. EPA Regulations
  6. Hazardous Materials Management
  7. Health and Safety Programs
  8. Incident Investigation
  9. Industrial Hygiene
  10. OSHA Standards
  11. Policy Development
  12. Risk Assessment
  13. Safety Audits
  14. Safety Regulations
  15. Safety Training
  16. Workplace Safety
  • Review Environmental Safety Technician resume templates and sample interview questions  
  • Ask your school to connect you with recruiters. Take advantage of chances to intern with environmental safety-related organizations
  • Reach out to your school’s career center to get resume help, do mock interviews, and learn about upcoming job fairs
  • Do your research on potential large employers, such as:
  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  2. Department of Defense
  3. Department of Energy
  4. Environmental Protection Agency
  5. Federal Emergency Management Agency
  6. National Aeronautics and Space Administration
  7. National Institutes of Health
  8. Occupational Safety and Health Administration
  9. United States Department of Agriculture
  10. United States Geological Survey
  • During interviews, demonstrate a keen awareness of trends in the industry
  • Dress professionally for job interviews
  • Ask previous professors and supervisors to write recommendation letters or request their consent (in advance) to list them as references
How to Climb the Ladder
  • Speak with your supervisor about advancement. Get advice and talk through options
  • Show your willingness to learn, follow procedures, and assume increased responsibilities
  • Set the bar high and ensure compliance with regulations to help protect workers, equipment, facilities, work sites, and surrounding areas
  • Stay proactive about professional development and taking continuing education courses
  • Knock out additional certifications when qualified to do so, like the Board of Certified Safety Professionals - Associate Safety Professional
  • If beneficial, consider doing a higher-level college degree
  • Try to gain diverse experience across different workplace environments. After working in different areas, consider specializing in a particular area such as:
  1. Accident Investigation
  2. Air Quality Management
  3. Biological Safety
  4. Chemical Safety
  5. Construction Safety
  6. Emergency Response Planning
  7. Environmental Compliance
  8. Ergonomics
  9. Fire Safety and Prevention
  10. Hazardous Waste Management
  11. Industrial Hygiene
  12. Noise Control and Hearing Conservation
  13. Occupational Health
  14. Radiation Safety
  15. Regulatory Compliance and Auditing
  16. Risk Assessment and Management
  17. Safety Engineering
  18. Sustainability and Environmental Protection
  19. Water Quality Management
  20. Workplace Safety Training
  • Be active in professional organizations such as the American Industrial Hygiene Association (see our list of Recommended Resources for more information)
  • Keep current on changes related to employer policies and local, state, or federal regulations 
Recommended Tools/Resources



  • Safety Risk Management: Preventing Injuries, Illnesses, and Environmental Damage, by Fred Fanning
  • Safety WALK Safety TALK: How small changes in what you THINK, SAY, and DO shape your safety culture, by David Allan Galloway
  • The Beginner’s Guide to the Environmental, Health and Safety Profession, by Chance Roberts  
Plan B

Environmental Safety Technicians play a crucial role in protecting our workers, communities, and natural environment. But this career isn’t the right fit, consider related fields that might interest you, such as:

  • Brownfield Redevelopment Specialist
  • Conservation Scientist
  • Construction and Building Inspector
  • Environmental Compliance Inspector
  • Environmental Engineering Technologist
  • Environmental Scientist
  • Fire Inspector
  • Geological Technicians
  • Hazardous Waste Technician
  • Health and Safety Engineer
  • Hydrologist    
  • Industrial Hygienist
  • Materials Scientist    
  • Microbiologist    
  • Mining and Geological Engineer
  • Occupational Health and Safety Specialist
  • Public Health Officer
  • Security Manager
  • Water/Wastewater Engineer
  • Water Resource Specialist
  • Wildlife Biologist


Online Courses and Tools