How to Become a Hazmat Diver: Training, Responsibilities, Salary & FAQs

How to Become a Hazmat Diver: Training, Responsibilities, Salary & FAQs

Hazmat diving is highly technical, requires special equipment, and is all about maintaining control in highly hazardous environments. To become a hazmat diver, comprehensive commercial diving training is necessary. Because these divers are tasked with the containment, clean up and disposal of dangerous materials, this career choice can be challenging. Not only does it require formal training, but these commercial divers must have tenacity and attention to detail to survive in dangerous environments underwater. Before choosing to undergo the rigorous training necessary for this career path, learn a little more about the education and responsibilities of professional hazmat divers.

What does hazmat diving entail?

Everyday hazardous materials cross the world’s waterways in a number of different ways. Boats carry chemicals inside engine compartments and as part of cargoes. Sewage plants and massive sewage pipes require repair. In these scenarios, a hazmat diver is called in to clean up the mess. This ensures the safety of our environment and the oceans. 

Simply put, hazmat divers spend their days containing and cleaning up dangerous hazardous materials in the water. Typical locations for hazmat dives occur at nuclear and hydrodynamic plants, industrial plants, and chemical manufacturing areas. Additionally, these divers unclog sewers, contain and clean up oil spills, and fix leaking oil rigs. In any situation that involves bio-hazards underwater, a hazmat diver will be present. 

A hazmat diver uses an array of specialized diving equipment and wears a full suit that seals the diver’s body completely from waterborne elements. 

What is training like for a Hazmat diver? 

Training to become a hazmat diver is intensive. So, students should be ready to learn everything there is about the required gear, procedures, and laws of hazardous material containment underwater. Hazmat dive training is available only at commercial diving schools because you must first be a licensed commercial diver before you can specialize in hazmat diving. Thus, for most of these schools, hazmat training is a part of the comprehensive curriculum necessary to become a professional licensed commercial diver. 

The training for this profession will teach you some of the following skills. 

  • Differentiating between hazardous materials
  • Identifying different explosive levels of chemicals
  • Knowing how chemicals react to other chemicals
  • Putting on gear and hazmat suits
  • Using the necessary specialized equipment to clean, contain and dispose
  • Firefighting in hazardous material situations
  • Understanding the standard safety procedures

Typically, an instructor will dive with students to help out and make sure procedures are followed. Hazmat is all about how to keep things controlled in a contaminated environment. Instructors set up a decontamination station on deck and will teach students tending and deck crew roles as well. You will learn how to properly decontaminate divers, and how to properly take off your gear to prevent further contamination.

When seeking a training program, look to the diving school’s accreditation, the experience of their staff, and be sure to speak to previous students. All of these steps will help you to better understand what you are signing up for. In short, choose a commercial diving program that promises to educate you in all facets of the industry and boost your confidence as you build skills underwater. 

FAQS Answered 

Below are some commonly asked questions for prospective hazmat divers. 

What precautions are necessary to ensure the safety of the divers?

Hazmat divers are vaccinated against every disease possible. After every dive, they undergo a standardized decontamination process. In addition, they have specific training and use specialized equipment because prolonged exposure to toxic waste can be deadly. 

How much money does a hazmat diver make?

A hazmat diver can earn anywhere from $50 to $75 per hour at their job.  

What kind of equipment do hazmat divers use?

Divers frequently use giant underwater vacuum cleaners to clean up pollutants. In some cases, they use airlifts to hoist leaking barrels of waste to ships to transport the materials away.  As mentioned, hazmat divers also wear full helmets and special vulcanized rubber drysuits with attached gloves and boots so no contaminants can enter. 

Divers Institute of Technology & Hazmat Diver Training

At DIT, we provide divers with the knowledge and skills required to be successful as a hazmat diver, whether employed domestically or internationally. Our graduates are well-positioned to enter the workforce with the right education, industry connections, and real-world experience necessary to succeed. Hazmat is all about how to keep things controlled in a contaminated environment and our comprehensive training can help you enter this challenging and rewarding career. Learn more today! You can also fill out an application here. 


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