Asbestos abatement workers: Salary, career path, job outlook, education and more

Asbestos abatement workers and lead abatement workers remove asbestos and lead, respectively, from buildings and structures, particularly those which are being renovated or demolished. Most of this work is in older buildings that were originally built with asbestos insulation and lead-based paintsboth of which are now banned.

Asbestos and lead abatement workers apply chemicals to surfaces, such as walls and ceilings, in order to soften asbestos or remove lead-based paint. Once the chemicals are applied, workers cut out asbestos from the surfaces or strip the walls. They package the residue or paint chips and place them in approved bags or containers for proper disposal. Lead abatement workers operate sandblasters, high-pressure water sprayers, and other tools to remove paint. Asbestos abatement workers also use scrapers or vacuums to remove asbestos from buildings.

Education Required
Hazmat removal workers typically need a high school diploma.
Training Required
Hazmat removal workers receive training on the job. Training generally includes a combination of classroom instruction and fieldwork. In the classroom, they learn safety procedures and the proper use of personal protective equipment. Onsite, they learn about equipment and chemicals, and are supervised by an experienced worker.
Job Outlook
The projected percent change in employment from 2016 to 2026: 17% (Much faster than average)
(The average growth rate for all occupations is 7 percent.)
In addition to mandating the completion of training required by OSHA, some states mandate permits or licenses, particularly for asbestos and lead removal. Workers who transport hazardous materials may need a state or federal permit.
Median pay: How much do Hazardous Materials Removal Workers make?
$40,640 Annual Salary
$19.54 per hour

Careers for Hazardous Materials Removal Workers

  • Asbestos removers
  • Asbestos workers
  • Decommissioning and decontamination (D&D) workers
  • Decontamination technicians
  • Decontamination workers
  • Emergency and disaster response workers
  • Environmental cleaners
  • Hazard waste handlers
  • Hazmat technicians
  • Irradiated fuel handlers
  • Lead abatement workers
  • Radiation protection technicians
  • Radiological control and safety technicians
  • Treatment, storage, and disposal (TSD) workers

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