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Career and Education Opportunities for Hazardous Materials Handlers in Boise, Idaho

For those living in the Boise, Idaho area, there are many career and education opportunities for hazardous materials handlers. Currently, 170 people work as hazardous materials handlers in Idaho. This is expected to grow by 22% to 210 people by 2016. This is better than 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 $18 per hour or $38,300 per year on average in Idaho. In the U.S. as a whole, their income is about $17 per hour or $37,310 annually on average. Incomes for hazardous materials handlers are better than in the overall category of Waste Management in Idaho, and better than the overall Waste Management category nationally.

There are eleven schools of higher education in the Boise area, including one within twenty-five miles of Boise 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, 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.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Hazardous Materials Handler Training

Boise State University - Boise, ID

Boise State University, 1910 University Dr, Boise, ID 83725. Boise State University is a large university located in Boise, Idaho. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 19,667 students and an admission rate of 81%. Boise State University has a two to four year program in Construction Trades, Other Specialties which graduated three 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.


Boise, Idaho
Boise, Idaho photo by Dmharris26

Boise is situated in Ada County, Idaho. It has a population of over 205,314, which has grown by 10.5% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Boise, 90, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Boise are priced at $245,800 on average, which is far greater than the state average. In 2008, one hundred eighty-three new homes were built in Boise, down from four hundred twenty-six the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in Boise are health care, educational services, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is computer and electronic products, construction, and accommodation and food services. The average travel time to work is about 18 minutes. More than 33.6% of Boise residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 10.6%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Boise is 9.2%, which is greater than Idaho's average of 8.3%.

The percentage of Boise residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 44.5%, is less than both the national and state average. The most common religious groups are the LDS (Mormon) Church, the Catholic Church and the United Methodist Church.