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Hazardous Waste Management Specialist Job Description, Career as a Hazardous Waste Management Specialist, Salary, Employment

Definition and Nature of the Work, Education and Training Requirements, Getting the Job


Training/Educational Requirements: Bachelor’s degree

Median Salary: $41,921 per year

Job Prospects: Good

Job Description


Hazardous waste management specialists work to ensure the safety of the public by developing appropriate ways of removing the hazardous materials from the environment. They work to gather, contain, and assess hazardous waste. They may be called in to conduct research on such material, or they may handle their own surveys. These specialists play an active role in the removal and disposal of such materials and are constantly working to improve upon the processes and create new methods and techniques.


Hazardous waste management specialists conduct research not just on the materials, but on the way in which they were disposed. They assess the facilities that deal with hazardous waste and provide findings based on their research and surveys. They are usually subject-matter experts, so they may be called to address special situations that require extra help in the area of hazardous waste.

Hazardous waste management specialists may actually gather hazardous materials, and they may work to separate them into types of waste, as necessary. They often work to inform other parties about how to appropriately dispose of different kinds of waste and what they can do to improve upon their processes. If there is radioactive waste, hazardous waste management specialists help to protect the public from any potential dangers by developing appropriate ways of removing the hazardous materials from the environment.

These specialized waste disposers develop and integrate appropriate cleanup methods. They not only handle these efforts, but they must document them so that other parties are aware of protocol for these types of materials. They are often looked to as subject-matter experts in their fields, particularly in times of crisis. Hazardous waste management specialists must keep current with cleanup and disposal processes and with with the best methods to handle these potentially dangerous materials.

Training/Educational Requirements


Hazardous waste management specialists usually have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree, though the requirements may vary by position. It can be quite helpful to have the degree focused within chemistry, safety, or industrial engineering, but this isn’t usually a requirement. Any coursework in this area can help to prepare an individual or this role.

Gaining on-the-job experience is often the best possible training for the role of a hazardous waste management specialist. There can be helpful seminars to attend as specialists progress throughout their career; ongoing training can serve them quite well.

How to Get Hired


The best way to get hired is to have a strong educational background as well as some good working experience. Some employers will overlook any educational lack or not hold those requirements as firmly if the individual possesses strong working experience. This is clearly a field where working in the job can help a person to get hired. Initially showing interest and having a degree can help you to get hired, but as the hazardous waste management specialist moves on in this career, experience will play a more important role.

It is important that hazardous waste management specialists understand how to dispose of and handle a variety of materials and that they serve within a variety of environments. This will help them to become well-rounded and ultimately allow them to progress in their career.

Job Prospects, Employment Outlook, and Career Development


With a focus on the environment these days, job growth for hazardous waste management specialists is quite high. There are many different opportunities within a wide array of environments, including government sectors, educational facilities, communities, and individual corporations. The variety of different environments and employers means that there are excellent opportunities for growth, and a good amount of job openings for those just entering into the field. In times of crisis or natural disaster, the need for this expert in hazardous waste goes up exponentially.

Working Environment


Though a hazardous waste management specialist may keep a standard office for research or to handle paperwork, they generally work in the field, which may require travel. In the field these specialists gather the materials in question and work to dispose of them or observe them.

The work life of a hazardous waste management specialist may be stressful, particularly in times of crisis. If specialists are called on for such a situation, then they must be prepared to deal with difficult circumstances and unusual surroundings. They may travel to report on their findings, particularly if they are in conjunction with or to represent a third party, such as an environmental agency or a governmental board. Hazardous waste management specialists may not necessarily have a typical day, and their environment may very well change with some regularity.

Salary and Benefits


Though the average salary for a hazardous waste management specialist is around $41,921, this may vary significantly based on a number of factors, such as the specialist’s employer or location, as well as the professional experience. Those working as hazardous waste management specialists can expect to receive standard benefits, such as paid vacation and sick days, as well as medical coverage. If they work as a contractor or consultant, they may expect to earn a bit more but be responsible for their own benefits.

Additional topics

Job Descriptions and Careers, Career and Job Opportunities, Career Search, and Career Choices and ProfilesAgribusiness, Environment, and Natural Resources