ACS Online Training | Over 500 courses available to study online now!
Scope of Work
Environmental consulting businesses, industries, universities, non-governmental organizations, government agencies may employ technicians to manage, for example, the quality of industry effluents, of water supply, of air in the workplace, and so on.
With advances in technology, more accurate and real time monitoring sensors are becoming more accessible and at a low cost, which is positively correlated to the number of jobs in air-water quality management.
As a water/air quality technician-officer you will be involved in activities such as:
sampling air and water (natural systems: freshwater, brackish or seawater; effluent; wastewater);
choosing the proper device to measure air particles, presence or the amount of organic and inorganic pollutants in the air and/or water;
using the appropriate storage techniques for each variable and using an universal protocol of analyses;
working in the laboratory and in a computer;
data analyses and data visualization;
report the results and maintain a project management routine.
What You Need to Learn
These are examples of things you can benefit from learning about:
Water Science - physical, chemical and biological characteristics of the water;
Environmental Science - ecology, climatology, geophysics, pollution, global warming
Chemistry - chemistry of the air, water, pollutants, quality standards
Environmental Legislation & Ethics - air and water quality regulation
Environmental Assessment - surveying, writing reports, environmental impact statement, etc
Waste management - liquids, gasses in particular,
Equipment & Materials -pumps, filters, environmentally friendly products, cleaning equipment and products
Land Management -erosion control, horticulture, agriculture, biophilic landscaping
Health - environmental quality impact, human/animal/plant biology
Communication skills - verbal, nonverbal, written, spoken, listening
Laboratory skills - good laboratory practices, reagent's storage, glassware, equipment maintenance
Project Management - develop, conduct and monitor projects, time management.
Starting a Career
Ways of getting started may include:
Volunteering at the local council to work in air/water quality projects;
Volunteering at non-profit organizations or consulting businesses that are developing air - water monitoring projects;
Becoming an active member of environmental non-profit organizations or associations;
Running your own Monitoring Program at your local waterways;
Working as an assistant in shops specialized in equipment for water and air measurements;
Working as an assistant in a environmental consulting business;
Studying environmental science or any related subject at the same time as gaining experience working in any area of Water and Air Quality available to you.
Volunteer positions in local water/air monitoring projects are available in the council webpage, non-profit organizations, consulting businesses, etc. A good way to start is to do a research online and find out the projects that are being carried out in your local area that you are interested in collaborating with. The second step is contact the organization/government by expressing your interest in volunteering for that specific project for a few months. Most of the time, initial experience will not be required but your will to work on the field, laboratory or in your computer.
Once you have gained enough experience you may be able to approach the organization to take an entry level job. If you can demonstrate enthusiasm and a willingness to learn, many employers will be willing to give you a start providing they have vacancies.
Progressing a Career
Pathways to progress in Air and Water Quality Management - Pollution Control careers include:
Networking: This is the key to a successful career. Join and be active in environmental science or environmental engineering associations. Get to meet people in other pollution remediation businesses, organizations, universities, and familiarize with what they are doing both regionally and nationally. Subscribe to newsletters on the subject, contact businesses and professionals.
Positive attitude: Having a positive attitude is another key ingredient to SUCCESS. It doesn't matter what qualifications you have in water science, for example, if you lack emotional intelligence. If you have a positive mindset, open to constructive feedback, and commitment to high quality, there is no way you will not progress in your career.
Professional Development: Invest on your professional development by enrolling in courses that are reliable and of great reputation within the water/air quality "technical/scientific community". Another way to identify what areas you need to seek personal development is to be aware of your weaknesses are and dedicate some time to improve or gain new skills in those areas; allow yourself to learn new methods, management strategies, concepts and techniques.
Experience: You may start as an entry level position at a non-profit organization, specialized equipment retailer or an environmental consulting business. Once you develop your abilities in the job, you will progress on your career by applying for higher positions, such as environmental officer for an urban development business, automotive design, meteorology, flood mitigation, landscaping, government, or consulting business.