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Job Description of a Preventive Medicine Technician

by Tony Guerra

Over the years, a focus on preventing disease and illness has led to an increase in employment opportunities in this field. Numerous health-care professional and technician occupations are involved in this effort, including positions in the public health sector. Additionally, preventive medicine is now a recognized physician specialty, as well as a part of industrial hygiene, safety and occupational health activities. Trained preventive medicine technicians, for example, can work in clinical, occupational and public and industrial health environments.

Preventive Medicine Technicians

Also known as environmental health technicians, preventive medicine technicians (PMTs) typically receive training in everything from food-service sanitation inspections to water sanitation testing. But PMTs also work with professional entomologists to battle insect-borne and animal-borne diseases and illnesses that can devastate human populations. Other PMTs work in factory or manufacturing settings with industrial hygienists, monitoring heat and noise levels, possible contaminants and even company safety programs.

Preventive Medicine Technician Responsibilities

The responsibilities assigned to PMTs depends on the focus of their employer. Government public health programs, for example, may use PMTs or environmental health technicians to inspect local eateries for sanitation or to monitor water supplies. PMTs working in public health may also support physician epidemiologists searching for patterns of disease and likely causes. Other PMTs may work with occupational health professionals to monitor workplace hazards such as lead or carbon monoxide exposure as well as hazardous-materials handling compliance.

Preventive Medicine Technician Duties

PMTs are frequently the foot soldiers in the battle to prevent disease and illness. PMTs must also be good record keepers and have a degree of analytical ability. As a PMT you're expected to be able to operate a wide variety of monitoring and detection equipment such as carbon monoxide and mercury vapor analyzers used in industrial hygiene. PMTs frequently conduct compliance investigations, help conduct mass immunization events, write reports and brief their superiors on progress and results.

PMT Education and Salary

PMTs are trained at the two-year college level in environmental health technology programs or through military training. The U.S. Navy, for example, offers preventive medicine technician training as a subspecialty within its Hospital Corpsman career field. The National Environmental Health Association also offers certification as an environmental health technician. PMTs' salaries vary by the employer, with government agencies typically employing them. PMTs working for Riverside County, Calif., for example may earn salaries ranging from $31,569 to $44,522 annually.

About the Author

Tony Guerra served more than 20 years in the U.S. Navy. He also spent seven years as an airline operations manager. Guerra is a former realtor, real-estate salesperson, associate broker and real-estate education instructor. He holds a master's degree in management and a bachelor's degree in interdisciplinary studies.

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