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Career and Education Opportunities for Hazardous Materials Handlers in San Diego, California

Many educational and employment opportunities exist for hazardous materials handlers in the San Diego, California area. There are currently 5,000 working hazardous materials handlers in California; this should grow 6% to 5,300 working hazardous materials handlers in the state 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.

A person working as a hazardous materials handler can expect to earn about $19 per hour or $40,050 yearly on average in California and about $17 per hour or $37,310 per year on average in the U.S. as a whole. 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.

There are four schools within twenty-five miles of San Diego where you can study to be a hazardous materials handler, among sixty schools of higher education total in the San Diego area. The most common level of education for hazardous materials handlers is a high school diploma or GED. You can expect to spend only a short time training to become 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

MiraCosta College - Oceanside, CA

MiraCosta College, One Barnard Drive, Oceanside, CA 92056-3899. MiraCosta College is a large college located in Oceanside, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 11,910 students. MiraCosta College has a two to four year program in Hazardous Materials Management & Waste Technology/Technician.

Southwestern College - Chula Vista, CA

Southwestern College, 900 Otay Lakes Rd, Chula Vista, CA 91910-7299. Southwestern College is a large college located in Chula Vista, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 19,997 students. Southwestern College has less than one year, associate's degree, and two to four year programs in Hazardous Materials Management & Waste Technology/Technician which graduated two, one, and zero students respectively in 2008.

Cuyamaca College - El Cajon, CA

Cuyamaca College, 900 Rancho San Diego Pky, El Cajon, CA 92019. Cuyamaca College is a medium sized college located in El Cajon, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 9,926 students. Cuyamaca College has one to two year, associate's degree, and two to four year programs in Hazardous Materials Management & Waste Technology/Technician which graduated twenty-three, twenty-five, and zero students respectively in 2008.

Palomar College - San Marcos, CA

Palomar College, 1140 W. Mission, San Marcos, CA 92069-1487. Palomar College is a large college located in San Marcos, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 28,093 students. Palomar College has 2 areas of study related to Hazardous Materials Handler. They are:

  • Hazardous Materials Management & Waste Technology/Technician, one to two year and associate's degree which graduated one and one students respectively in 2008.
  • Construction Trades, Other Specialties, associate's degree and two to four year.

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: San Diego, California

San Diego, California
San Diego, California photo by FlickreviewR

San Diego is situated in San Diego County, California. It has a population of over 1,279,329, which has grown by 4.6% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in San Diego, 141, is far greater than the national average. New single-family homes in San Diego are valued at $323,700 on average, which is well above the state average. In 2008, six hundred forty-one new homes were constructed in San Diego, down from seven hundred forty-eight the previous year.

The three big industries for women in San Diego are health care, educational services, and professional, scientific, and technical services. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, accommodation and food services, and construction. The average travel time to work is about 23 minutes. More than 35.0% of San Diego residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 13.4%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in San Diego is 10.5%, which is less than California's average of 12.3%.

The percentage of San Diego residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 43.7%, is less than both the national and state average. Penasquitos Nazarene Church, Peace Lutheran Church and Paul E Kidd African Methodist Episcopal Church are some of the churches located in San Diego. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the LDS (Mormon) Church and the Southern Baptist Convention.

San Diego is home to the Zlac Rowing Club and the Rancho Los Penasquitos Golf Course as well as Adobe Bluffs Park and John F Kennedy Park. Shopping malls in the area include San Diego Factory Outlet Shopping Center, San Carlos Shopping Center and Montgomery Plaza Shopping Center. Visitors to San Diego can choose from Best Western Posada at the Yac, Beachfront San Diego and Banana Bungalow Hostel San Diego for temporary stays in the area.