Bomb technicians are high specialized, trained police officers equipped with the skills and ability to locate and deactivate bombs. Bomb technicians typically work with local law enforcement agencies, federal agencies like the F.B.I., or are employed by the U.S. military.
Bomb technicians work for federal and local agencies responding to bomb threats. When on call, bomb squad members either locate and deactivate bombs, or investigate and establish that there is no danger. Bomb techs are typically either police officers with five or more years of field experience who have completed a bomb technician training program or are retired military personnel with prior military ordinance training. Many positions also require the completion of an associate's or bachelor's degree program.
|Required Education||Bomb technician training program for police officers with at least 5 years of experience or military ordinance training for military personnel; some positions may require an associate's or bachelor's degree|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)||4% for all police and detectives*|
|Average Salary (2015)||$85,810 for first-line supervisors of police and detectives*|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
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Bomb Technician Education Requirements
Bomb technicians are highly specialized law enforcement officers, who are given the opportunity to enroll in bomb tech training based on competency as an officer. Graduation from high school or an equivalent degree is required to become a police officer. Five years of employment as a police officer is required become a bomb tech at the federal level. The completion of either an associate's or bachelor's degree program is often required for advancement into a career as a bomb technician.
Once accepted to a bomb technician training program, individuals complete a program at a specialized facility, lasting two weeks or more. Longer programs may take up to eight months to complete. Curriculum includes explosives storage laws and regulations, counterterrorism strategies, bomb disposal and protective equipment. Bomb technicians learn how to engage in effective communication, analytical thinking, teamwork and individual work while under stress and in dangerous conditions.
Civilian bomb technicians may also be retired military personnel who were trained as explosive ordnance disposal specialists by the Army, Navy, Marines or Air Force. The military provides its bomb technicians with 38-60 weeks of individual training, depending on the branch of service, covering improvised explosive devices, safety procedures and munitions identification.
Versed in safety protocols, bomb technicians are trained to stay calm, aid civilian evacuation of unsafe areas and locate, identify, deactivate, and dispose of bombs in a timely manner. Location of bombs is sometimes preformed with the help of specially trained dogs, and technicians may deactivate bombs by hand or with the use of robotics. Bomb technicians work both on-call for state and local agencies as well as on assignment. On call, they respond to bomb threats; on assignment they perform surveillance and are ready to respond to possible bomb threats. They may work within the United States for local law enforcement agencies or for the federal agencies like the F.B.I. Bomb techs may also be employed by the military throughout the world.
Salary and Job Outlook
Police bomb technicians are often detectives and first-line supervisors. For this group as a whole, the May 2015 average annual wage was $85,810, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which expected 4% job growth for police and detectives over the 2014-2024 decade, slightly less than the national average. Explosive ordnance disposal specialists in the military are paid according to their pay-grade (rank), with additional incentive and combat duty pay.
A bomb technician must be able to work effectively under potentially stressful situations. They often work on-call for state or government agencies and will typically require previous experience as a police officer or military personnel. A bachelor's or associate's degree, as well as special exams may also be a requirement for prospective bomb technicians.