Popular Careers

Career Development

Career development resources for aspiring professionals.

Career Change Center

Career change guides, tutorials and resources for professionals in transition.

Job Search Resources

Job search resources, websites, guides and directories for job seekers.


Career and Education Opportunities for Hazardous Materials Handlers in Santa Clara, California

Hazardous materials handler career and educational opportunities abound in Santa Clara, California. About 5,000 people are currently employed as hazardous materials handlers in California. By 2016, this is expected to grow 6% to 5,300 people employed. This is not quite as good as the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for hazardous materials handlers are expected to grow by about 14.8%. 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.

Hazardous materials handlers earn approximately $19 per hour or $40,050 annually on average in California. Nationally they average about $17 per hour or $37,310 per year. Earnings for hazardous materials handlers are better than earnings in the general category of Waste Management in California and better than general Waste Management category earnings nationally.

There are thirty-five schools of higher education in the Santa Clara area, including four within twenty-five miles of Santa Clara where you can get a degree to start your career 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 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.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Santa Clara include:

  • Glazier. Install glass in windows, skylights, and display cases, or on surfaces, such as building fronts, interior walls, and tabletops.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Hazardous Materials Handler Training

CET-Watsonville - Watsonville, CA

CET-Watsonville, 10 Blanca Lane, Watsonville, CA 95076. CET-Watsonville is a small school located in Watsonville, California. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily less-than 2-year programs and has 151 students. CET-Watsonville has a less than one year program in Construction Trades, Other Specialties which graduated forty-nine students in 2008.

CET-Sobrato - San Jose, CA

CET-Sobrato, 701 Vine St, San Jose, CA 95110. CET-Sobrato is a small school located in San Jose, California. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily less-than 2-year programs and has 497 students. CET-Sobrato has a less than one year program in Mechanic and Repair Technologies/Technicians, Other Specialties which graduated thirty-two students in 2008.

Mission College - Santa Clara, CA

Mission College, 3000 Mission College Blvd, Santa Clara, CA 95054-1897. Mission College is a large college located in Santa Clara, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 10,154 students. Mission College has an associate's degree and a two to four year program in Hazardous Materials Management & Waste Technology/Technician.

De Anza College - Cupertino, CA

De Anza College, 21250 Stevens Creek Blvd., Cupertino, CA 95014. De Anza College is a large college located in Cupertino, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 24,677 students. De Anza College has less than one year, one to two year, associate's degree, and two to four year programs in Hazardous Materials Management & Waste Technology/Technician which graduated four, two, one, and zero students respectively in 2008.

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: Santa Clara, California

Santa Clara, California
Santa Clara, California photo by Coolcaesar

Santa Clara is located in Santa Clara County, California. It has a population of over 110,200, which has grown by 7.7% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Santa Clara, 158, is far greater than the national average. New single-family homes in Santa Clara cost $196,500 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, forty-three new homes were constructed in Santa Clara, down from eighty-five the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Santa Clara are computer and electronic products, professional, scientific, and technical services, and educational services. For men, it is computer and electronic products, professional, scientific, and technical services, and construction. The average commute to work is about 22 minutes. More than 42.4% of Santa Clara residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 16.6%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Santa Clara is 10.9%, which is less than California's average of 12.3%.

The percentage of Santa Clara residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 43.2%, is less than both the national and state average. Peace Lutheran Church, Good News Community Church and Universal Church of the Master are some of the churches located in Santa Clara. The most prominent religious groups are the Catholic Church, the LDS (Mormon) Church and the Muslim Estimate.

Santa Clara is home to the Santa Clara Unified School District Office and the Santa Clara Municipal Golf Course as well as Westwood Acres Park and Washington Park. Shopping centers in the area include Moonlite Shopping Center, Fairway Glen Shopping Center and Youth Shopping Center.