Hazardous materials (hazmat) removal workers identify and dispose of asbestos, lead, radioactive waste, and other hazardous materials. They also neutralize and clean up materials that are flammable, corrosive, or toxic.
Work environments for hazmat removal workers vary with the material they are handling. Some must wear protective suits for several hours at a time. Completing projects often requires night and weekend work. Overtime is common, particularly for emergency or disaster response workers.
How to Become a Hazardous Materials Removal Worker
Hazmat removal workers need a high school diploma and are trained on the job. Most workers complete up to 40 hours of training in accordance with Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) standards. Some hazmat removal workers need a state license or permit.
Employment of hazmat removal workers is projected to grow 7 percent from 2014 to 2024, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Most job openings will stem from the need to replace workers who leave the occupation each year.
Job Trends for Hazardous Materials Removal Workers
This occupation supported 37,500 jobs in 2012 and 43,700 jobs in 2014, reflecting an increase of 16.5%. In 2012, this occupation was projected to increase by 14.4% in 2022 to 42,900 jobs. As of 2014, to keep pace with prediction, the expected number of jobs was 38,500, compared with an observed value of 43,700, 13.5% higher than expected. This indicates current employment trends are much better than the 2012 trend within this occupation. In 2014, this occupation was projected to increase by 8.8% in 2024 to 47,000 jobs. Linear extrapolation of the 2012 projection for 2022 results in an expected number of 43,900 jobs for 2024, 6.6% lower than the 2014 projection for 2024. This indicates expectations for future employment trends are much better than the 2012 trend within this occupation.