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Career and Education Opportunities for Hazardous Materials Handlers in Provo, Utah

Hazardous materials handlers can find many career and educational opportunities in the Provo, Utah area. There are currently 480 jobs for hazardous materials handlers in Utah and this is projected to grow by 23% to 580 jobs by 2016. This is better than the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for hazardous materials handlers are expected to grow by about 14.8%. 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.

Income for hazardous materials handlers is about $20 hourly or $43,440 annually on average in Utah. Nationally, their income is about $17 hourly or $37,310 annually. Compared with people working in the overall category of Waste Management, people working as hazardous materials handlers in Utah earn more. They earn more than people working in the overall category of Waste Management nationally.

The Provo area is home to thirty-five schools of higher education, including one within twenty-five miles of Provo where you can get a degree as a hazardous materials handler. The most common level of education for hazardous materials handlers is a high school diploma or GED. 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

Utah Valley University - Orem, UT

Utah Valley University, 800 W University Parkway, Orem, UT 84058-5999. Utah Valley University is a large university located in Orem, Utah. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 26,696 students. Utah Valley University has an associate's degree program in Construction Trades, Other Specialties which graduated three 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.


Provo, Utah
Provo, Utah photo by Emes

Provo is situated in Utah County, Utah. It has a population of over 118,581, which has grown by 12.8% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Provo, 92, is below the national average. New single-family homes in Provo cost $296,100 on average, which is far greater than the state average. In 2008, fifty-seven new homes were built in Provo, down from one hundred eighty-one the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in Provo are educational services, health care, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is educational services, construction, and professional, scientific, and technical services. The average commute to work is about 16 minutes. More than 35.7% of Provo residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 10.9%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Provo is 6.4%, which is greater than Utah's average of 6.3%.

The percentage of Provo residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 89.9%, is more than both the national and state average. Kingdom Hall of Jehovahs Witnesses, Seventh Day Adventist Church and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints are all churches located in Provo. The most prominent religious groups are the LDS (Mormon) Church, the Catholic Church and the Assemblies of God.

Provo is home to the Provo Temple and the Lakeside Campground as well as Utah Lake State Park and Cougar Stadium. Visitors to Provo can choose from Amenity Motor Inn, Hines Mansion Bed & Breakfast and Travelodge for temporary stays in the area.