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Career and Education Opportunities for Hazardous Materials Handlers in Westminster, Colorado

There are many career and education opportunities for hazardous materials handlers in the Westminster, Colorado area. There are currently 940 working hazardous materials handlers in Colorado; this should grow by 18% to 1,110 working hazardous materials handlers in the state by 2016. This is better than the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for hazardous materials handlers are expected to grow by about 14.8%. 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 $17 per hour or $35,670 yearly on average in Colorado and about $17 hourly or $37,310 yearly on average in the U.S. as a whole. Hazardous materials handlers earn less than people working in the category of Waste Management generally in Colorado and more than people in the Waste Management category nationally.

There is one school within twenty-five miles of Westminster where you can study to be a hazardous materials handler, among sixty-four schools of higher education total in the Westminster area. The most common level of education for hazardous materials handlers is a high school diploma or GED. It will take only a short time to learn 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.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Westminster include:

  • Glazier. Install glass in windows, skylights, and display cases, or on surfaces, such as building fronts, interior walls, and tabletops.
  • Mine Cutting and Channeling Machine Company Miner. Operate machinery--such as longwall shears, plows, and cutting machines--to cut or channel along the face or seams of coal mines, stone quarries, or other mining surfaces to facilitate blasting, separating, or removing minerals or materials from mines or from the earth's surface.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Hazardous Materials Handler Training

Emily Griffith Opportunity School - Denver, CO

Emily Griffith Opportunity School, 1250 Welton Street, Denver, CO 80204-2197. Emily Griffith Opportunity School is a small school located in Denver, Colorado. It is a public school with primarily less-than 2-year programs and has 2,148 students. Emily Griffith Opportunity School has a less than one year program in Construction Trades, Other Specialties which graduated seven students in 2008.


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.


Asbestos Worker

Licensing agency: Colorado Dept. of Public Health & Environment
Address: 4300 Cherry Creek South Drive, Denver, CO 80246-1530

Phone: (303) 692-3620
Website: Colorado Dept. of Public Health & Environment

LOCATION INFORMATION: Westminster, Colorado

Westminster, Colorado
Westminster, Colorado photo by Nyttend

Westminster is located in Adams County, Colorado. It has a population of over 107,056, which has grown by 6.1% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Westminster, 96, is near the national average. New single-family homes in Westminster are valued at $376,500 on average, which is far greater than the state average. In 2008, sixty-two new homes were built in Westminster, down from one hundred forty-six the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in Westminster are health care, educational services, and professional, scientific, and technical services. For men, it is construction, professional, scientific, and technical services, and computer and electronic products. The average travel time to work is about 27 minutes. More than 31.3% of Westminster residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 9.3%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Westminster is 6.2%, which is less than Colorado's average of 6.6%.

The percentage of Westminster residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 30.4%, is less than both the national and state average. The most prominent religious groups are the Catholic Church, the LDS (Mormon) Church and the Lutheran Church.

Westminster is home to the The Golf Courses at Hyland Hills and the The Plaza at Westminster. Visitors to Westminster can choose from Comfort Suites, LA Quinta - Inns- Westminster Mall and Doubletree Hotel Denver Boulder for temporary stays in the area.