Posts Tagged ‘Environmental Sciences’

Environmental Engineering Makes the “Best Careers” List

Friday, June 18th, 2010

US News BlogThis week, we heard from students and educators in the Environmental Technology/Environmental Science program at Cape Cod Community College, who are excited about the future of the field. And guess what? So is U.S. News & World Report!

In the magazine’s annual listing of the 50 best careers of 2010, “Environmental Engineering Technician” made the cut. Here’s what U.S. News had to say: “Demand for environmental engineering technicians is expected to increase significantly, with employment jumping 30 percent from 2008 to 2018.” And they note that a growing number of these “foot soldiers in the war against environmental hazards” will be needed to ensure compliance with environmental regulations.

Okay, this is interesting, but how can you learn more about the environment in general, the day-to-day responsibilities of an environmental technician and where, exactly, the jobs are?

Start with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for a comprehensive overview of environmental issues, including water, air, climate, waste and pollution and green living.

Then, once you’ve got the “big picture” check out the website of the Occupational Outlook Handbook on the website of the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Here, you’ll find in-depth descriptions of various “environmental technicians” jobs, including overviews describing the work environment (will you be working indoors or outdoors?) the nature of the work,(examples of day-to-day responsibilities — setting up, operating and maintaining laboratory instruments or gathering and analyzing samples), education and training requirements, opportunities for advancement, and a breakdown of the projected jobs and earnings. The site also provides comparisons of related occupations and resources for additional information.

Finally, you can check out websites like the Green Collar Association and EcoOrg, both of which feature listings of “green collar jobs,” defined as those that provide a positive environmental impact.

Seems like what’s good for the environment is also good for the economy — that’s a win-win situation!

ATETV Episode 30: Looking at the Future from a New Angle

Tuesday, April 13th, 2010

This week, we look at the ways that ATE programs are helping community college students to see themselves in new roles, and the way that one program is looking at the future from a 3-D perspective!

In our first segment, we talk with Julia Mitchell, a student at Central Piedmont Community College, who has used her interest in maps as a jumping-off point toward a new career.

“I had always worked in administrative office management, and I was looking for a change in jobs,” explains Julia.”Being able to work with maps is something I’d always found interesting.”

And through the Geographical Information Systems [GIS] program at Central Piedmont, Julia is transitioning from a one-dimensional office position to a three-dimensional career perspective. “I’ve taken a variety of other college classes but never completed a full degree program. Now, I’m doing 3-D work with mapping and it’s very interesting.” Julia is currently working as a trainee in the field, and can look ahead to other fields where 3-D mapping is used, including architecture, engineering, drafting and design.

All of these fields emphasize CAD. So, what, exactly, is CAD? In our second segment, we answer that question.

“CAD stands for Computer Aided Design,” explains Laura Lemire of the Community College of Baltimore County. And through CAD, technicians are able to create three-dimensional models to build the likeness of a product, enabling them to look at the model from all angles.

“With CAD, companies benefit from lower product development costs and a shortened design cycle,” adds Laura. CAD is just one example of a high-tech application that’s in demand and that is being taught at community colleges.

In our third segment, we visit with Mike Poitras, a student at Bristol Community College. Like Julia, Mike decided that it was time for a career change.

“I drove trucks,” says Mike. “I thought that’s what I was going to do for the rest of my life.” But then, at age 38, Mike decided that he was looking for more than a job — he wanted to pursue a career that he would truly enjoy.

So, he entered the Environmental Sciences program at Bristol Community College, where he discovered that studying Water Treatment Technology offered him a world of career opportunities. “Water is depleting all over the world and we just have more and more need for fresh drinking water,” says Mike. And although it had been 20 years since Mike studied math and chemistry, he found that with the tutoring and other support provided through Bristol, he was able to quickly get up to speed.

Fast forward four years, and today Mike is working at a desalination plant, an opportunity that emerged through Bristol’s internship program. And, as Mike told us, he was expecting to get his water treatment license within a couple of weeks of our meeting.

“My father always used to tell me that if you like what you do, you won’t work a day in your life. Well [since switching careers], I haven’t worked a day yet.”