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Career and Education Opportunities for Hazardous Materials Handlers in Lewiston, Maine

If you want to be a hazardous materials handler, the Lewiston, Maine area offers many opportunities both for education and employment. The national trend for hazardous materials handlers 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.

Hazardous materials handlers earn about $13 per hour or $28,380 annually on average in Maine and about $17 per hour or $37,310 yearly on average nationally. Earnings for hazardous materials handlers are not quite as good as earnings in the general category of Waste Management in Maine and better than general Waste Management category earnings nationally.

The Lewiston area is home to ten schools of higher education, including one within twenty-five miles of Lewiston where you can get a degree as a hazardous materials handler. Hazardous materials handlers usually hold a high school diploma or GED, so 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

Central Maine Community College - Auburn, ME

Central Maine Community College, 1250 Turner Street, Auburn, ME 04210-6498. Central Maine Community College is a small college located in Auburn, Maine. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 2,426 students. Central Maine Community College has an associate's degree program in Construction Trades, Other Specialties which graduated two 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.


Lewiston, Maine
Lewiston, Maine photo by Jonrouellette

Lewiston is located in Androscoggin County, Maine. It has a population of over 35,131, which has shrunk by 1.6% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Lewiston, 93, is below the national average. New single-family homes in Lewiston are valued at $166,000 on average, which is below the state average. In 2008, thirty-two new homes were constructed in Lewiston, up from twenty-five the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Lewiston are health care, educational services, and finance and insurance. For men, it is construction, educational services, and accommodation and food services. The average travel time to work is about 19 minutes. More than 12.6% of Lewiston residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 4.0%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Lewiston is 8.5%, which is greater than Maine's average of 7.6%. About 15.5% of Lewiston's residents are below the poverty line, which is worse than the state average.

The percentage of Lewiston residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 49.8%, is less than the national average but more than the state average. Holy Cross Catholic Church, Spirit of Fire Evangelistic Church and Amazing Grace Mission are some of the churches located in Lewiston. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the American Baptist Churches in the USA and the United Methodist Church.

Lewiston is home to the Lewiston City Hall and the Stanton Museum as well as Thorncrag Bird Sanctuary and Elliot Little League Ball Fields. Shopping centers in the area include Shaws Plaza Center Shopping Center, North Wood Park Shopping Center and The Market Place Shopping Center. Visitors to Lewiston can choose from Motel 6, Maine Motel And Cabins and Dudley's for temporary stays in the area.