If you are required to acquire hazwoper certification for you job, it is likely that your employer will select and pay for your course. However, if you get your hazwoper certification on your own in order to improve your chances of getting hired in a job that deals with hazardous materials or to volunteer in situations where hazardous materials may be present, there are several other courses that you should consider as well. The following three courses complement the material that you will learn in either a 24-hour or 40-hour hazwoper certification course and will better prepare you to handle emergencies that may happen around hazardous material sites.
Medical First Responder or Wilderness First Responder
While a hazwoper course will train you to identify and handle hazardous waste, its main focus will be on hazardous materials and your personal protection. You will need additional training to help others in the event of an accident or emergency involving hazardous waste.
Both courses on medical first responder and wilderness first responder focus on assessing and dealing with medical emergencies when you are the first person on the scene, and it is likely that medical care may be delayed. Although there should be medical professionals available on most hazardous work sites, it can improve your chances of getting hired if you can show that you can recognize medical emergencies and are trained to act appropriately during an emergency. Being trained in either of these courses also increases your usefulness as a volunteer in emergency situations.
If you have EMT training or other advanced medical training, you probably do not need an additional first responder training. Instead, you might focus on a more general emergency training.
Community Emergency Response Team
Any training that focuses on identifying an emergency situation and responding appropriately can be a useful training to have when you are working with hazardous materials. This type of training, even if it does not deal directly with hazardous waste, gives you more practice dealing with high-risk situations and communicating with a clear chain of command. It can show prospective employers that you have a greater awareness of handling high-risk and emergency situations and that you care about your improvement as an employee.
Furthermore, a community emergency training combined with hazwoper training will give you the experience necessary to help your local community if there is an emergency involving hazardous waste or biological chemicals.
Bio-terrorism, Chemical or Radiation Emergency, and Mass Casualty Training
Any emergency training recommended by the CDC can help pad your resume and give you greater confidence when working in a high-risk situation with hazardous materials. These trainings can help prepare you for your hazwoper certification and help you get the most out of your hazwoper class by giving you a general overview of various emergency situations. Additionally, they can help prepare you for working with a variety of people and acting as a volunteer in case an emergency happens when you least expect it.
Although you will probably not use this type of training at your work, having it may make you seem more trustworthy and like a greater asset to potential employers.
If you will be working with hazardous materials, the most important certification that you can get is a general hazwoper certification. However, it is also important that you keep yourself prepared to react to emergency situations. Taking other emergency response courses can help increase your confidence and prepare you to react to a variety of emergency situations both at work and as a volunteer. It can also make you a more well-rounded and attractive employee to potential employers.