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Career and Education Opportunities for Hazardous Materials Handlers in Grand Rapids, Michigan

Grand Rapids, Michigan provides a wide variety of opportunities, both career and educational, for hazardous materials handlers. About 870 people are currently employed as hazardous materials handlers in Michigan. By 2016, this is expected to grow by 8% to 940 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.

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. Compared with people working in the overall category of Waste Management, people working as hazardous materials handlers in Michigan earn more. They earn more than people working in the overall category of Waste Management nationally.

There are nineteen schools of higher education in the Grand Rapids area, including one within twenty-five miles of Grand Rapids where you can get a degree to start your career 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

Muskegon Community College - Muskegon, MI

Muskegon Community College, 221 S Quarterline Rd, Muskegon, MI 49442-1432. Muskegon Community College is a small college located in Muskegon, Michigan. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 4,747 students. Muskegon Community College has a less than one year program in Mechanic and Repair Technologies/Technicians, Other Specialties.

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: Grand Rapids, Michigan

Grand Rapids, Michigan
Grand Rapids, Michigan photo by Grguy2011

Grand Rapids is located in Kent County, Michigan. It has a population of over 193,396, which has shrunk by 2.2% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Grand Rapids, 81, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Grand Rapids cost $98,700 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, forty-three new homes were built in Grand Rapids, down from ninety-two the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in Grand Rapids are health care, educational services, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is construction, transportation equipment, and educational services. The average travel time to work is about 19 minutes. More than 23.8% of Grand Rapids residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 8.0%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Grand Rapids is 15.4%, which is greater than Michigan's average of 14.3%.

The percentage of Grand Rapids residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 52.9%, is more than both the national and state average. Church of Jesus Christ, Immanuel Church and Trinity Church are among the churches located in Grand Rapids. The most prominent religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Christian Reformed Church in North America and the Reformed Church in America.

Grand Rapids is home to the Kent Country Club and the Walker Juvenile Court as well as Comstock Riverside Park and Richmond Park. Visitors to Grand Rapids can choose from Hampton Inn Grand Rapids, Hampton Inn Grand Rapids/North- Mi and Hampton Inn Fax for temporary stays in the area.