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Career and Education Opportunities for Hazardous Materials Handlers in Chicago, Illinois

There are many career and education opportunities for hazardous materials handlers in the Chicago, Illinois area. About 1,640 people are currently employed as hazardous materials handlers in Illinois. By 2016, this is expected to shrink 5% to about 1,550 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 about $31 per hour or $65,110 yearly on average in Illinois and about $17 hourly or $37,310 per year on average nationally. Earnings for hazardous materials handlers are better than earnings in the general category of Waste Management in Illinois and better than general Waste Management category earnings nationally.

There are three schools within twenty-five miles of Chicago where you can study to be a hazardous materials handler, among 180 schools of higher education total in the Chicago 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.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Chicago include:

  • 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

Triton College - River Grove, IL

Triton College, 2000 5th Ave, River Grove, IL 60171-1995. Triton College is a large college located in River Grove, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 15,547 students. Triton College has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Mechanic and Repair Technologies/Technicians, Other Specialties which graduated ten and nine students respectively in 2008.

Lincoln College of Technology - Melrose Park, IL

Lincoln College of Technology, 8317 W North Avenue, Melrose Park, IL 60160-1605. Lincoln College of Technology is a small college located in Melrose Park, Illinois. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 2-year programs. It has 803 students and an admission rate of 100%. Lincoln College of Technology has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Construction Trades, Other Specialties which graduated 124 and twenty-one students respectively in 2008.

Ivy Tech Community College-Northwest - Gary, IN

Ivy Tech Community College-Northwest, 1440 E 35th Ave, Gary, IN 46409-1499. Ivy Tech Community College-Northwest is a medium sized college located in Gary, Indiana. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 5,701 students. Ivy Tech Community College-Northwest has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Construction Trades, Other Specialties which graduated three and five 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.

LICENSES

ASBESTOS CONTRACTOR

Licensing agency: Illinois Department of Public Health Division of Environmental Health
Address: 535 W. Jefferson St., Springfield, IL 62761

Phone: (217) 782-3517
Website: Illinois Department of Public Health Division of Environmental Health

ASBESTOS PROJECT MANAGER

Licensing agency: Illinois Department of Public Health Division of Environmental Health
Address: 535 W. Jefferson St., Springfield, IL 62761

Phone: (217) 782-3517
Website: Illinois Department of Public Health Division of Environmental Health

ASBESTOS PROJECT SUPERVISOR

Licensing agency: Illinois Department of Public Health Division of Environmental Health
Address: 535 W. Jefferson St., Springfield, IL 62761

Phone: (217) 782-3517
Website: Illinois Department of Public Health Division of Environmental Health

ASBESTOS WORKER

Licensing agency: Illinois Department of Public Health Division of Environmental Health
Address: 535 W. Jefferson St., Springfield, IL 62761

Phone: (217) 782-3517
Website: Illinois Department of Public Health Division of Environmental Health

LABORATORY ANALYSIS OF RADON DEVICES

Licensing agency: Illinois Emergency Management Agency
Address: 110 East Adams Street, Springfield, IL 62701

Phone: (217) 785-0229
Website: Illinois Emergency Management Agency

LOCATION INFORMATION: Chicago, Illinois

Chicago, Illinois
Chicago, Illinois photo by Dschwen

Chicago is situated in Cook County, Illinois. It has a population of over 2,853,114, which has shrunk by 1.5% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Chicago, 114, is well above the national average. New single-family homes in Chicago are valued at $200,500 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, three hundred eighty-one new homes were built in Chicago, down from eight hundred seventy the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Chicago are health care, educational services, and professional, scientific, and technical services. For men, it is construction, professional, scientific, and technical services, and accommodation and food services. The average commute to work is about 35 minutes. More than 25.5% of Chicago residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 10.0%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Chicago is 11.6%, which is greater than Illinois's average of 10.5%.

The percentage of Chicago residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 57.6%, is more than both the national and state average. Southlawn United Methodist Church, Southern Missionary Baptist Church and Lakeside Evangelical Church are all churches located in Chicago. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Muslim Estimate and the Lutheran Church.

Chicago is home to the Five Crossings and the Wrigley Field as well as Monticello Park and Wilson Playground. Shopping centers in the area include Lincoln Village Shopping Center, Market Place at Six Corners Shopping Center and Kimbark Plaza Shopping Center. Visitors to Chicago can choose from Extended Stay America, Embassy Suites Lakefront and Cottage Inn for temporary stays in the area.