How to Become a Hazardous Waste Technologist


To become a hazardous waste technologist, you must begin by deciding if this career is right for you. If you are dedicated to protecting the environment, able to recognize unsafe conditions, enjoy working in a team environment and you are highly organized, then you may be well suited for working in this field.


Below we've outlined what you'll need to get started in this profession. We've also included helpful occupational information, such as a general job description, job duties, salary expectations, a list of possible employers and much more!



Education Needed to Become a Hazardous Waste Technologist

Educational requirements to become a hazardous waste technologist can vary from employer to employer, however in most cases, the minimum education requirement is a university undergraduate degree or an associate’s degree or diploma from a college or vocational school.


The following university and college fields of study are most applicable for this profession:


• Biochemistry

• Chemistry

• Environmental Science

• Environmental Engineering

• Waste Management

• Toxicology





General Job Description

Hazardous waste management technologist are responsible for providing advice related to the safe and proper handling, packaging and disposal of toxic waste. They must also monitor the cleanup of contaminated land, water and air.



Typical Job Duties & Responsibilities

• Investigate the waste systems and disposal methods of commercial and municipal organizations

• Classify waste and determine its characteristics by collecting representative samples

• Assist in the clean-up of toxic waste spills

• Measure the extent of environmental damage caused by toxic waste spills

• Inform the general public and industry about proper hazardous waste management practices and procedures

• Prepare inspection and technical reports, and gather evidence for use in legal actions

• Assist government in developing or amending rules and regulations for managing hazardous waste



Working Conditions Typical to This Career

Working conditions for hazardous waste technologists can vary quite a bit from job to job, or from day to day. Some technologists may work in an office environment, while others may work around dirty, noisy industrial sites.


Depending on the circumstances, hazardous waste technologists may be required to wear personal protective equipment, work outdoors in all kinds of weather, travel frequently or lift equipment weighing up to or over 50 pounds.



Career Advancement Possibilities

With a sufficient amount of experience and industry training, hazardous waste technologists may advance to supervisory positions. To move into management, consulting roles, a bachelor’s or master’s degree in business, management, environmental science or a related field is typically needed.


If a hazardous waste technologist wants to move into professional roles, such hazardous waste materials engineer or environmental auditor, a degree in environmental engineering may be required.





Further Training Needed

Hazardous waste technologists need specialized training on how to safely handle and dispose of chemical, biohazard, and radioactive wastes. The following hazardous material courses may be required or recommended:


• WHMIS (Workplace Hazards Management Information System) training

• H2S Alive training

• Transportation of Dangerous Goods (TDG)


Please Note: Some employers may pay for or subsidize employees for taking these courses, although many will not.



Certification Requirements

It is not mandatory to be certified in order to work as a hazardous waste technologist, though many practitioners choose to become certified through their provincial association for a variety of reasons, including:


• Demonstrate their commitment to their profession

• Improve their credentials

• Gain access to more senior level positions or a higher pay grade

• Improve their industry knowledge



Who Employs Hazardous Waste Technologists?

There are employers representing different sectors of industry that are interested in the specific skill set and knowledge base of hazardous waste technologist. Below is an example of the types of employers that hire hazardous waste technologist.


• Companies that generate hazardous waste, such as those in manufacturing, mining and transportation

• Engineering firms

• Environmental contracting and consulting firms

• Government environmental regulatory services

• Health care facilities

• Laboratories

• Municipal water and wastewater treatment facilities

• Oil and gas exploration companies and contractors

• Petrochemical companies

• Public works departments

• Pulp and paper processing companies

• Regional solid waste management facilities

• Waste management companies and recyclers



Hazardous Waste Technologist Jobs

Our job board below has "hazardous waste technologist" postings in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia when available:




Typical Salary Level

There are a lot of variables that determine how much money a hazardous waste technologist makes, such as where they work, their level of education and training, their level of experience, and many others.


Hazardous Waste Technologist Salary Canada: According to the 2017 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey, Albertans working as "hazardous waste management technologists" earn an average salary $80,949 per year. And according to WorkBC, those working in the chemical technologists and technicians group earn an annual provincial median salary of $49,504.


Salary in United States: According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for American workers in the "hazardous materials removal workers" occupational group is $43,030 (May, 2018 figures).



Similar Occupations in Our System

Listed below are jobs that are similar in nature to that of a "hazardous waste technologist", as they may involve many of the same skills, competencies and responsibilities.


Environmental Technician

Recycling Coordinator

Sanitation Engineer

Waste Reduction Coordinator

Wastewater Operator




Please consult the references below to find more information on the various aspects of a career as a hazardous waste technologist.


Occupations in Alberta:Hazardous Waste Management Technologist.” (Jan. 30, 2017). ALIS website - Alberta Learning Information Service. Retrieved December 19, 2019.

Construction & Extraction:Hazardous Materials Removal Workers.” (September 19, 2019). Occupational Outlook Handbook - United States Bureau of Labor Statistics website. Retrieved December 19, 2019.

Explore Careers:Chemical technologists and technicians.” (January 2, 2019) Government of Canada website. Retrieved December 19, 2019.

Career Profiles:Hazardous Waste Technician.” (n.d.) ECO Canada website. Retrieved December 19, 2019.



Scholarships for Becoming a Hazardous Waste Technologist

Scholarships in our system are organized by field of study. The fields that are relevant to this profession are listed below on our "Relevant Areas of Study" section below. Any scholarships found within those fields will be suitable, all of which can be found on our Scholarships page.


Success Tip: Be sure to apply for any scholarships that you even barely qualify for, as there are millions of dollars of scholarships that go unused every year due to a lack of applicants!




Relevant Areas of Study

Studying one of the university majors listed below can serve as an excellent educational foundation for this career:


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