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

There is a wide variety of career and education opportunities for hazardous materials handlers in the Visalia, California area. There are currently 5,000 jobs for hazardous materials handlers in California and this is projected to grow by 6% to 5,300 jobs by 2016. 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.

Income for hazardous materials handlers is about $19 per hour or $40,050 yearly on average in California. Nationally, their income is about $17 hourly or $37,310 per year. 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 Visalia area is home to fifteen schools of higher education, including one within twenty-five miles of Visalia where you can get a degree as a hazardous materials handler. Hazardous materials handlers usually hold a high school diploma or GED, so 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

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.


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.


Visalia, California
Visalia, California photo by Capricorn90

Visalia is situated in Tulare County, California. It has a population of over 121,040, which has grown by 32.2% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Visalia, 87, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Visalia are valued at $200,400 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, five hundred seventy-four new homes were constructed in Visalia, down from nine hundred twenty-seven the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in Visalia are educational services, health care, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is public administration, construction, and educational services. The average travel time to work is about 19 minutes. More than 18.9% of Visalia residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 6.3%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Visalia is 10.0%, which is less than California's average of 12.3%.

The percentage of Visalia residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 51.8%, is more than both the national and state average. Parkside Chapel Christian and Missionary Alliance Church, Grace Lutheran Church and Holy Family Roman Catholic Church are some of the churches located in Visalia. The most prominent religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Assemblies of God and the Southern Baptist Convention.

Visalia is home to the Tulare County Juvenile Hall and the Visalia Community Center as well as Pinkham Park and Lincoln Park. Shopping centers in the area include Fairway Shopping Center, Visalia Mall Shopping Center and Towne and Country Village Shopping Center. Visitors to Visalia can choose from Best Western Visalia Inn and Blacklakecondo for temporary stays in the area.