Environmental Sciences Laboratory

December 19, 2019
Radiological and

Lab technicians run laboratory tests to identify and quantify substances. Environmental lab technicians test for contaminants that affect the environment and the health of humans and wildlife. Some lab technicians may collect samples from the field. They may work under other job titles like environmental technician, environmental specialist, laboratory specialist, and environmental health specialist.

What Does a Lab Technician Do?

Lab technicians prepare and test samples of gases, soils, water, industrial wastewater, and other materials to determine pollutant levels or identify sources of contamination. They usually specialize in either indoor lab testing work, or sample collection from the field. Technicians working in labs use a variety of testing methods and equipment that they must calibrate. They record, report, and summarize the data from test results, and discuss them with supervisors or customers. Some even develop testing procedures or direct other lab workers. Lab technicians working in the field may also design monitoring programs and set up monitoring equipment.

They usually do their work at the direction of environmental scientists or engineers, who review the work and use the results to develop cleanup procedures, make policy recommendations, or confirm that a site has been successfully remediated.

Where Does a Lab Technician Work?

Most environmental lab technicians work for state or local governments, testing laboratories, or consulting firms. Those specializing in lab work spend most of their time indoors in labs and offices, while those who work in field collection spend most of their time outdoors in all kinds of environments and all kinds of weather, investigating everything from urban factory sites to remote rivers and lakes. Fieldwork can involve a lot of walking, standing, carrying, and lifting.

Environmental lab technicians typically work full time. Technicians working in the field may sometimes need to work long or irregular hours.

What Is the Average Lab Technician Salary?

Environmental science and protection technicians earned an average of $41, 240 in May 2012. At $44, 720, those employed in local government earned the highest salaries, while those in state government earned $41, 390. Lab technicians providing management, scientific, and technical consulting services earned $40, 330, while those working in engineering services made $39, 040. Technicians working for testing laboratories earned an average of $36, 680.

State Total Employment Bottom 25% Median Salary Top 75%
Alabama 660 $32, 300 $39, 800 $52, 090
Alaska 220 $29, 610 $39, 610 $49, 570
Arizona 700 $38, 550 $44, 590 $53, 290
Arkansas 190 $30, 190 $36, 680 $49, 740
California 3, 690 $34, 760 $46, 110 $62, 920
Colorado 1, 050 $35, 730 $45, 190 $56, 870
Connecticut 350 $35, 580 $46, 070 $67, 320
Delaware $28, 850 $34, 750 $40, 090
District of Columbia 330 $22, 670 $27, 000 $51, 700
Florida 1, 780 $31, 330 $34, 520 $39, 640
Georgia 540 $34, 190 $41, 050 $54, 820
Hawaii $29, 940 $40, 410 $50, 450
Idaho $40, 840 $49, 180 $68, 140
Illinois 1, 170 $32, 190 $42, 730 $56, 790
Indiana 570 $30, 780 $36, 980 $47, 120
Iowa 320 $32, 220 $38, 820 $47, 220
Kansas $33, 970 $44, 450 $58, 680
Kentucky 450 $36, 910 $42, 610 $55, 460
Louisiana 390 $25, 090 $35, 970 $47, 680
Maine 160 $30, 630 $36, 470 $42, 520
Maryland 530 $40, 220 $51, 580 $61, 440
Massachusetts 1, 110 $30, 330 $36, 380 $45, 610
Michigan 920 $33, 480 $42, 260 $51, 470
Minnesota 440 $35, 540 $42, 880 $51, 900
Mississippi $33, 500 $37, 870 $46, 750
Missouri 300 $30, 470 $42, 410 $52, 400
Montana 130 $33, 570 $39, 870 $45, 320
Nebraska 170 $36, 030 $50, 140 $62, 870
Nevada $39, 580 $62, 630 $76, 460
New Hampshire 240 $32, 530 $37, 590 $45, 550
New Jersey $31, 790 $50, 610
New Mexico 230 $37, 150 $45, 640 $56, 250
New York 2, 470 $33, 410 $43, 810 $56, 090
North Carolina $29, 910 $38, 000 $47, 380
North Dakota 180 $29, 250 $37, 320 $47, 110
Ohio 1, 140 $32, 500 $40, 120 $48, 880
Oklahoma 480 $23, 110 $34, 600 $54, 360
Oregon 310 $41, 370 $51, 080 $58, 470
Pennsylvania 1, 620 $32, 880 $39, 540 $50, 960
Puerto Rico 120 $20, 750 $25, 790 $43, 670
Rhode Island 40 $46, 430 $56, 620 $61, 090
South Carolina 790 $40, 730 $63, 650 $69, 790
South Dakota 100 $24, 850 $26, 900 $28, 940
Tennessee 910 $38, 250 $45, 990 $57, 940
Texas 2, 820 $30, 840 $49, 280
Utah 420 $37, 140 $46, 050 $59, 760
Vermont 70 $37, 090 $43, 710 $50, 280
Virginia 610 $34, 810 $43, 230 $56, 480
Washington 1, 160 $38, 600 $53, 420 $72, 290
West Virginia 380 $28, 690 $36, 210 $45, 430
Wisconsin 670 $32, 810 $39, 960 $52, 800
Wyoming 140 $33, 270 $39, 210 $50, 940

Table data taken from BLS (

Lab Technician Jobs

Found across the various scientific disciplines, lab technician jobs require a solid foundation of scientific skills and a readiness to work in a methodical and disciplined manner in order to advance scientific knowledge. While jobs vary significantly, most lab technicians find these types of tasks within the scope of their duties:
Source: www.environmentalscience.org
RELATED VIDEO
Environmental Laboratory - U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Environmental Laboratory - U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Environmental Laboratory Equipment from TERMAKS
Environmental Laboratory Equipment from TERMAKS
Environmental Science 101 Lab Episode 1
Environmental Science 101 Lab Episode 1

RELATED FACTS
Share this Post