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Career and Education Opportunities for Hazardous Materials Handlers in Detroit, Michigan

Many educational and employment opportunities exist for hazardous materials handlers in the Detroit, Michigan area. There are currently 870 jobs for hazardous materials handlers in Michigan and this is projected to grow 8% to 940 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.

The income of a hazardous materials handler is about $20 per hour or $42,830 per year on average in Michigan. In the U.S. as a whole, their income is about $17 hourly or $37,310 yearly on average. Hazardous materials handlers earn more than people working in the category of Waste Management generally in Michigan and more than people in the Waste Management category nationally.

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

Henry Ford Community College - Dearborn, MI

Henry Ford Community College, 5101 Evergreen Rd, Dearborn, MI 48128-1495. Henry Ford Community College is a large college located in Dearborn, Michigan. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 15,571 students. Henry Ford Community College has a less than one year program in Mechanic and Repair Technologies/Technicians, Other Specialties which graduated one student in 2008.

Wayne State University - Detroit, MI

Wayne State University, 656 West Kirby Street, Detroit, MI 48202. Wayne State University is a large university located in Detroit, Michigan. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 31,025 students and an admission rate of 79%. Wayne State University has a master's degree program in Hazardous Materials Management & Waste Technology/Technician which graduated three students 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

Hazardous Waste Transporter

Licensing agency: Michigan Department of Environmental Quality
Address: Waste Management Division, PO Box 30241, Lansing, MI 48909

Phone: (517) 373-2730
Website: Michigan Department of Environmental Quality Waste Management Division

Lead Abatement Worker

Licensing agency: Michigan Department of Community Health
Address: Lead Hazard Remediation Program, 1001 Terminal Drive, Lansing, MI 48906

Phone: (517) 335-9390
Website: Michigan Department of Community Health Lead Hazard Remediation Program

LOCATION INFORMATION: Detroit, Michigan

Detroit, Michigan
Detroit, Michigan photo by Durova

Detroit is located in Wayne County, Michigan. It has a population of over 912,062, which has shrunk by 4.1% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Detroit, 86, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Detroit are priced at $108,900 on average, which is well below the state average. In 2008, eighty-five new homes were built in Detroit, down from one hundred fifty-four the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Detroit are health care, educational services, and transportation equipment. For men, it is transportation equipment, construction, and administrative and support and waste management services. The average commute to work is about 28 minutes. More than 11.0% of Detroit residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 4.2%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Detroit is 27.0%, which is greater than Michigan's average of 14.3%.

The percentage of Detroit residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 37.7%, is less than both the national and state average. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Muslim Estimate and the Lutheran Church.

Detroit is home to the Memorial Park Marina and the Detroit Golf Club as well as Chene Park and Mallett Playground. Visitors to Detroit can choose from Corktown Inn, Clark's Motel and Days Inn of Downtown Detroit for temporary stays in the area.