A gloved hand dipping a test tube into water

Environmental Technician

Combating the impact of pollution and keeping our surroundings clean

How this role makes a difference

Making sure we take care of the environment is something we all think about today. But did you know, environmental laws were first introduced in the UK over 150 years ago, through the Public Health Act 1848? This Act put controls on our sewers, water supply, and street cleaning, and environmental law has expanded ever since to address air quality, waste, and environmental protection.

Today, many different devices and equipment are used to help prevent, control and address environmental problems. These all need to be operated and have data collected from them, to ensure the right environmental standards are achieved. You could be the technician who helps to analyse data and drive higher standards of environmental performance.

Man in high vis jacket and gloves holding tube of polluted water

The kind of work you’ll do

  • Carrying out environmental tests at an outside location or in a laboratory
  • Collecting and analysing pollution samples
  • Recording test data, collecting photographs and making visual observations
  • Using scientific and data analytics software to analyse test results
  • Producing environmental assessment reports with charts, graphs and sketches
  • Presenting and sharing information with members of your team
  • Inspecting test equipment and making sure everything is operating correctly
Useful skills
Attention to detail
Useful skills
Useful skills
Technologically minded
Useful skills
Instructing others
Useful skills
Problem solving

What you can bring to the role

  • A passion for helping to improve environmental practices
  • A willingness to spend some of your time working outside
  • A precise approach to your work and the recording of detailed information
  • The natural ability to focus, make sound judgements and accurate decisions
  • The ability to work well in a team, share information and instruct others effectively
  • A knack for learning new software and creating things on computers
  • This role could also be right for you if you have any of the following interests:
    • Science
    • Sustainability
    • Exploring problems and finding answers
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Average salary per year *
£ 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 , 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
Average salary per month *

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*according to ONS

Future career opportunities

Early on in your career you may specialise in one area of environmental management, focussing for example on air, waste, or water. You could work for a consultancy that provides environmental services or for a local government organisation.

With experience, you could progress to becoming a team leader, overseeing the operation of equipment and data collection. Or you could progress to being an environmental inspector, making sure organisations meet the right environmental standards.

How to get into this role

There’s no perfect career path or ideal way into your dream job.

But if you’re interested in education and training options that could be relevant to this role, you might want to consider:  

Schools and colleges each have their own career guidance plan and can provide detailed information, advice, and guidance on options and next steps.

A little more about the role

Exciting features...

Scientific understanding of the impacts of pollution, buildings, and human activity, continues to grow, making this an exciting field of work to be part of. You could be involved in air quality control monitoring, assessing smoke, dust, and odour pollution, evaluating land contamination, as well as undertaking emergency pollution incident investigations.

Other job titles...

This role can also be known by some other job titles including:

Environmental engineering technician
Environmental engineering technologist
Environmental engineering assistant
Air quality instrument specialists

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