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Hazmat Technician: Job Description & Salary

Hazmat technicians respond when hazardous materials need to be located and removed. They're trained to ensure these types of materials are handled safely. This article explores what they do and how to become a hazmat technician.

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Career Definition of a Hazmat Technician

Hazmat technicians are also known as hazardous materials technicians or hazardous materials removal workers. They are responsible for locating hazardous materials, such as asbestos. Prior to removing hazardous materials hazmat technicians typically have to contain the area so that they protect people from possible exposure.

When hazmat technicians are removing hazardous materials they may need to use power tools or other types of tools. Once these materials are removed hazmat technicians may have to take steps to prepare the hazardous materials so that they can be transported safely. They follow applicable laws and dispose of the hazardous materials and keep records of their work.

Educational Requirements High school diploma or GED
Job Skills Physical fitness, attention to detail, computer skills, problem-solving skills, good vision, good communication skills
Median Salary (2016)* $40,640 (hazardous materials removal workers)
Job Outlook (2014-2024)* 7% (hazardous materials removal workers)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Required Education

A hazmat technician is required to have a high school diploma or GED. Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) requires hazmat technicians to complete up to 40 hours of on-the-job training. Certification may be required by some employers or to work with specific types of hazardous materials. Proof of citizenship and the ability to pass a background check is also required to work in nuclear facilities.

Required Skills

Hazmat technicians are responsible for monitoring data and responding to that data, so they need to be capable of paying attention to details and using effective decision-making in emergency situations. Since they work with very dangerous materials it's important that they pay attention to detail and follow procedures carefully to ensure that the materials are properly handled. They may spend extended periods of time working on their feet or physically removing hazardous materials from buildings or other locations, so they need to be physically fit. Communication skills are essential since they work with other hazmat technicians and need to be able to inform them of potential issues and respond when others alert them to problems.

Career Outlook and Salary

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) classifies hazmat technicians as hazardous materials removal workers. The BLS projects that those in this field should see a 7% job increase in career prospects from 2014 to 2024. The BLS reported that in 2016, hazardous materials removal workers took home a median salary of $40,640 annually.

Related Careers

Hazmat technicians specialize in following regulations to ensure the safety of others, so those who are considering a career in this field may be interested in other professions that involve following regulations for processing materials or reviewing the work of others to ensure they've followed regulations properly. Careers that involve these responsibilities are explored through the following articles.

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