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Career and Education Opportunities for Hazardous Materials Handlers in Reno, Nevada

There is a wide variety of career and education opportunities for hazardous materials handlers in the Reno, Nevada area. 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 approximately $29 hourly or $60,360 annually on average in Nevada. Nationally they average about $17 per hour or $37,310 annually. Earnings for hazardous materials handlers are better than earnings in the general category of Waste Management in Nevada and better than general Waste Management category earnings nationally.

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

Western Nevada College - Carson City, NV

Western Nevada College, 2201 West College Parkway, Carson City, NV 89703-7399. Western Nevada College is a small college located in Carson City, Nevada. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 4,755 students. Western Nevada College has a one to two year 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.


Asbestos Abatement Contractors, Supervisors, Workers & Consultants

Phone: (702) 486-9020
Website: Department of Business & Industry Division of Industrial Relations Occupational Safety & Health Administration


Reno, Nevada
Reno, Nevada photo by Smooth_O

Reno is situated in Washoe County, Nevada. It has a population of over 217,016, which has grown by 20.2% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Reno, 93, is below the national average. New single-family homes in Reno are priced at $202,100 on average, which is well above the state average. In 2008, six hundred thirty-seven new homes were built in Reno, down from nine hundred ninety-seven the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Reno are arts, entertainment, and recreation, health care, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is arts, entertainment, and recreation, construction, and accommodation and food services. The average commute to work is about 18 minutes. More than 25.0% of Reno residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 8.4%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Reno is 11.8%, which is less than Nevada's average of 12.6%.

The percentage of Reno residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 27.9%, is less than both the national and state average. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the LDS (Mormon) Church and the Southern Baptist Convention.

Reno is home to the Short Ranch and the Keystone Square as well as Wilkinson Park and Paradise Park. Shopping centers in the area include Miraloma Park Shopping Center, Village Shopping Center and University Village East Shopping Center. Visitors to Reno can choose from Oxford Motel, Atlantis Casino Resort and Wayside Motel & Apartments for temporary stays in the area.