An environmental health technician is a public health professional who works with scientists, engineers, architects, business owners, government agencies, and the public to identify, inspect, and investigate environmental problems that may affect the health of people in the area. She may also enforce the regulations and rules regarding environmental health and work with others to correct the problem. In most cases, an environmental health technician may be employed by a national, regional, or local government agency or a private or public laboratory. Although the duties may vary significantly depending on the specific employer’s needs, some general duties include collecting samples of animal waste, soil, or water, documenting data, examining complaints, and maintaining accurate records.
Depending on the employer and the specific area of employment, an environmental health technician generally has a wide range of duties. For example, she may inspect and investigate whether an abundance of rodents, mosquitoes, roaches, snakes, feral cats or other animals are present in an area through collecting waste samples. Next, she may analyze the information collected through the samples and on-site observations and submit her recommendations for correction based on her findings. Sometimes she may discover the infestation after a routine inspection of an area. Other times, she may be following up on a complaint by a member of the public.
An environmental health technician may also be responsible for inspecting, evaluating, and correcting health concerns that arise out of violations from licensed, public establishments. For example, most licensed establishments are required to follow environmental health regulations and rules set by regional or national government agencies. These establishments include swimming pools, motels, food retail stores, pet stores, and trailer parks. For example, she may be responsible for inspecting swimming pool pumps and making sure the appropriate chemicals have been added to the pool system for the health of the public.
Other job duties of an environmental health technician can include responding to the public’s complaints regarding sewage, solid waste, and hazardous materials as well. She may monitor clean-up of waste or work at collection events to ensure the materials are handled properly. She may also work to inform the public regarding various environmental health programs.
In most cases, to become an environmental health technician, a person must typically earn a bachelor's degree in biology, chemistry, environmental health or a related field. Occasionally, entry-level jobs may be available to people who have only a high school diploma or its equivalent. Generally, the technician may be asked to understand the importance of controlling pests, breeding habits and life cycles of certain insects, rodents, and animals. She may also be asked to understand and be able to apply laws on public health, pesticides, and other practices.