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Career and Education Opportunities for Hazardous Materials Handlers in Fresno, California

Fresno, California provides a wide variety of opportunities, both career and educational, for hazardous materials handlers. Currently, 5,000 people work as hazardous materials handlers in California. This is expected to grow by 6% to about 5,300 people by 2016. This is not quite as good as the national trend for hazardous materials handlers, which sees this job pool growing by about 14.8% over the next eight years. Hazardous materials handlers generally identify, remove, or dispose of hazardous materials, including asbestos, lead-based paint, waste oil, fuel, transmission fluid, radioactive materials, contaminated soil, etc.

The income of a hazardous materials handler is about $19 hourly or $40,050 yearly on average in California. In the U.S. as a whole, their income is about $17 hourly or $37,310 yearly on average. Incomes for hazardous materials handlers are better than in the overall category of Waste Management in California, and better than the overall Waste Management category nationally.

The Fresno area is home to twenty-four schools of higher education, including one within twenty-five miles of Fresno where you can get a degree as a hazardous materials handler. Given that the most common education level for hazardous materials handlers is a high school diploma or GED, you can expect to spend only a short time studying to be a hazardous materials handler if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Hazardous Materials Handler

Hazardous Materials Handler video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, hazardous materials handlers identify, remove, or dispose of hazardous materials, including asbestos, lead-based paint, waste oil, fuel, transmission fluid, radioactive materials, contaminated soil, etc. They also specialized training and certification in hazardous materials handling or a confined entry permit are generally required.

Hazardous materials handlers follow prescribed safety procedures, and comply with federal laws regulating waste disposal methods. They also load and unload materials into containers and onto trucks, using hoists or forklifts. Equally important, hazardous materials handlers have to clean contaminated equipment or areas for re-use, using detergents and solvents and steam cleaners. Finally, hazardous materials handlers operate machines and apparatus to remove or transport loads of waste materials.

Every day, hazardous materials handlers are expected to be able to evaluate problems as they arise. They need to listen to and understand others in meetings. It is also important that they maintain precise control of objects and devices through a range of movements.

It is important for hazardous materials handlers to record numbers of containers stored at disposal sites, and specify amounts and types of equipment and waste disposed. They are often called upon to drive trucks or other heavy apparatus to convey contaminated waste to designated sea or ground locations. They also construct scaffolding or build containment areas before beginning abatement or decontamination work. They are sometimes expected to clear away asbestos and/or lead from surfaces, using hand and power tools such as scrapers and high-pressure sprayers. Somewhat less frequently, hazardous materials handlers are also expected to follow prescribed safety procedures, and comply with federal laws regulating waste disposal methods.

Hazardous materials handlers sometimes are asked to identify asbestos or other hazardous materials that need to be removed, using monitoring devices. and package and move irradiated fuel elements in the underwater storage basin of a nuclear reactor plant, using machines and equipment. And finally, they sometimes have to unload baskets of irradiated elements onto packaging machines that automatically insert fuel elements into canisters and secure lids.

Like many other jobs, hazardous materials handlers must be reliable and believe in cooperation and coordination.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Hazardous Materials Handler Training

Fresno City College - Fresno, CA

Fresno City College, 1101 E. University Ave, Fresno, CA 93741. Fresno City College is a large college located in Fresno, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 23,063 students. Fresno City College has an associate's degree program in Hazardous Materials Management & Waste Technology/Technician.

CERTIFICATIONS

Environmental Technician: NREP provides an Environmental Registry listing for individuals conducting environmental technician job functions.

For more information, see the National Registry of Environmental Professionals website.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Fresno, California

Fresno, California
Fresno, California photo by Cadking3

Fresno is situated in Fresno County, California. It has a population of over 476,050, which has grown by 11.3% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Fresno, 94, is below the national average. New single-family homes in Fresno are valued at $156,200 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, 1,230 new homes were constructed in Fresno, down from 2,016 the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Fresno are health care, educational services, and social assistance. For men, it is construction, accommodation and food services, and administrative and support and waste management services. The average travel time to work is about 22 minutes. More than 19.0% of Fresno residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 6.1%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Fresno is 14.8%, which is greater than California's average of 12.3%.

The percentage of Fresno residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 47.5%, is less than the national average but more than the state average. Pearlygrove Baptist Church, Peace Lutheran Church and Golden Harvest Church of God in Christ are all churches located in Fresno. The most prominent religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Assemblies of God and the Southern Baptist Convention.

Fresno is home to the Cribari Winery and the Aspen Hall as well as Beiden Field and Woodward Park. Shopping malls in the area include Figarden Shopping Center, First And Shaw Shopping Center and Fresno Fashion Fair Shopping Center. Visitors to Fresno can choose from Bedding & Fine Furniture, Best Budget Inn and Best Value Water Tree Inn for temporary stays in the area.