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Career profile Hazardous Materials Technician

Also known as Abatement Worker, Asbestos Abatement Worker, Asbestos Hazard Abatement Worker, Asbestos Remover, Asbestos Worker, Decontamination / Decommissioning Operator (D D Operator), Hazmat Technician (Hazardous Materials Technician), Waste Handling Technician

Hazardous Materials Technician

Also known as Abatement Worker, Asbestos Abatement Worker, Asbestos Hazard Abatement Worker

Interests Profile
  • Realistic
  • Conventional
  • Investigative
Pay Range
$30,590 - $76,570 (annual)
Required Skills
  • Monitoring
  • Critical Thinking
  • Operation and Control
Knowledge Areas
  • Public Safety and Security
  • Administration and Management
  • Customer and Personal Service
Core tasks
  • Build containment areas prior to beginning abatement or decontamination work.
  • Remove asbestos or lead from surfaces, using hand or power tools such as scrapers, vacuums, or high-pressure sprayers.
  • Identify asbestos, lead, or other hazardous materials to be removed, using monitoring devices.
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What does a Hazardous Materials Technician do?

Hazardous Materials Technicians identify, remove, pack, transport, or dispose of hazardous materials, including asbestos, lead-based paint, waste oil, fuel, transmission fluid, radioactive materials, or contaminated soil.

In addition, Hazardous Materials Technicians

  • specialized training and certification in hazardous materials handling or a confined entry permit are generally required,
  • may operate earth-moving equipment or trucks.

What kind of tasks does a Hazardous Materials Technician perform regularly?

Hazardous Materials Technicians are often responsible for overseeing or executing some or all of the following tasks:

  • Build containment areas prior to beginning abatement or decontamination work.
  • Remove asbestos or lead from surfaces, using hand or power tools such as scrapers, vacuums, or high-pressure sprayers.
  • Identify asbestos, lead, or other hazardous materials to be removed, using monitoring devices.
  • Prepare hazardous material for removal or storage.
  • Comply with prescribed safety procedures or federal laws regulating waste disposal methods.
  • Load or unload materials into containers or onto trucks, using hoists or forklifts.
  • Remove or limit contamination following emergencies involving hazardous substances.
  • Clean contaminated equipment or areas for reuse, using detergents or solvents, sandblasters, filter pumps, or steam cleaners.
  • Clean mold-contaminated sites by removing damaged porous materials or thoroughly cleaning all contaminated nonporous materials.
  • Operate machines or equipment to remove, package, store, or transport loads of waste materials.

The above responsibilities are specific to Hazardous Materials Technicians. More generally, Hazardous Materials Technicians are involved in several broader types of activities:

Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
Getting Information
Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Materials
Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
Performing General Physical Activities
Performing physical activities that require considerable use of your arms and legs and moving your whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling materials.
Handling and Moving Objects
Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.

What is a Hazardous Materials Technician salary?

The median salary for a Hazardous Materials Technician is $45,270, and the average salary is $49,170. Both the median and average roughly describe the middle of the Hazardous Materials Technician salary range, but the average is more easily affected by extremely high or low salaries.

Many Hazardous Materials Technicians earn significantly more or less than the average, due to several factors. About 10% of Hazardous Materials Technicians earn less than $30,590 per year, 25% earn less than $36,210, 75% earn less than $58,970, and 90% earn less than $76,570.

Between the years of 2020 and 2030, the number of Hazardous Materials Technicians is expected to change by 6.5%, and there should be roughly 5,800 open positions for Hazardous Materials Technicians every year.

Median annual salary
$45,270
Typical salary range
$30,590 - $76,570
Projected growth (2020 - 2030)
6.5%

What personality traits are common among Hazardous Materials Technicians?

Interests

Career interests describe a person's preferences for different types of working environments and activities. When a person's interest match the demands of an occupation, people are usually more engaged and satisfied in that role.

Compared to most occupations, those who work as a Hazardous Materials Technician are usually higher in their Realistic interests.

Hazardous Materials Technicians typically have very strong Realistic interests. Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.

Values

People differ in their values, or what is most important to them for building job satisfaction and fulfillment.

Compared to most people, those working as a Hazardous Materials Technician tend to value Support, Independence, and Relationships.

Most importantly, Hazardous Materials Technicians very strongly value Support. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees.

Second, Hazardous Materials Technicians moderately value Independence. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions.

Lastly, Hazardous Materials Technicians moderately value Relationships. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment.

Psychological Demands

Each occupation brings its own set of psychological demands, which describe the characteristics necessary to perform the job well.

In order to perform their job successfully, people who work as Hazardous Materials Technicians must consistently demonstrate qualities such as cooperation, dependability, and attention to detail.

Below, you'll find a list of qualities typically required of Hazardous Materials Technicians, ranked by importance:

Cooperation
Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
Dependability
Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Attention to Detail
Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
Self-Control
Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
Adaptability/Flexibility
Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.

What education and training do Hazardous Materials Technicians need?

Hazardous Materials Technicians often have training in vocational schools, related on-the-job experience, or an associate's degree.

Hazardous Materials Technicians usually need one or two years of training involving both on-the-job experience and informal training with experienced workers. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with this occupation.

Educational degrees among Hazardous Materials Technicians

  • 13.1% did not complete high school or secondary school
  • 47.8% completed high school or secondary school
  • 23.1% completed some college coursework
  • 6.0% earned a Associate's degree
  • 7.8% earned a Bachelor's degree
  • 2.2% earned a Master's degree

Knowledge and expertise required by Hazardous Materials Technicians

Hazardous Materials Technicians may benefit from understanding of specialized subject areas, such as public safety and security, administration and management, or customer and personal service knowledge.

The list below shows several areas in which most Hazardous Materials Technicians might want to build proficiency, ranked by importance.

Public Safety and Security
Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.
Administration and Management
Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
Customer and Personal Service
Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
Transportation
Knowledge of principles and methods for moving people or goods by air, rail, sea, or road, including the relative costs and benefits.
Building and Construction
Knowledge of materials, methods, and the tools involved in the construction or repair of houses, buildings, or other structures such as highways and roads.

Important Abilities needed by Hazardous Materials Technicians

Hazardous Materials Technicians must develop a particular set of abilities to perform their job well. Abilities are individual capacities that influence a person's information processing, sensory perception, motor coordination, and physical strength or endurance. Individuals may naturally have certain abilities without explicit training, but most abilities can be sharpened somewhat through practice.

For example, Hazardous Materials Technicians need abilities such as problem sensitivity, oral comprehension, and control precision in order to perform their job at a high level. The list below shows several important abilities for Hazardous Materials Technicians, ranked by their relative importance.

Problem Sensitivity
The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing that there is a problem.
Oral Comprehension
The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
Control Precision
The ability to quickly and repeatedly adjust the controls of a machine or a vehicle to exact positions.
Near Vision
The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
Oral Expression
The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.

Critical Skills needed by Hazardous Materials Technicians

Skills are developed capacities that enable people to function effectively in real-world settings. Unlike abilities, skills are typically easier to build through practice and experience. Skills influence effectiveness in areas such as learning, working with others, design, troubleshooting, and more.

Hazardous Materials Technicians frequently use skills like monitoring, critical thinking, and operation and control to perform their job effectively. The list below shows several critical skills for Hazardous Materials Technicians, ranked by their relative importance.

Monitoring
Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
Critical Thinking
Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
Operation and Control
Controlling operations of equipment or systems.
Active Listening
Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Operations Monitoring
Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.

What is the source of this information?

The information provided on this page is adapted from data and descriptions published by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration under the CC BY 4.0 license. TraitLab has modified some information for ease of use and reading, and the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment, and Training Administration has not approved, endorsed, or tested these modifications.

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