How to Become a Decontamination Specialist

It’s not often that people consider the aftermath of a crime scene, a biohazard site, or hoarder removal, but the question is – who comes in to clean up once all is said and done? That job belongs to decontamination specialists. These specialists are responsible for an array of professional cleanups that other cleaning companies are not qualified to perform, all to ensure a hygienic and safe environment. If you are interested in house and building sanitization, read this step-by-step guide by Xtreme Cleaners so you can learn how to become a decontamination specialist and open up a new career path for yourself.

Becoming a Decontamination Specialist

Working as a decontamination specialist involves a range of cleanups in areas such as crime scenes, biohazard locations, meth/fentanyl drug labs, unattended death sites, and hoarding houses, to name a few. These require specific methods of approach to ensure the location is thoroughly sterilized. 

Keep in mind that becoming a certified decontamination specialist is not as simple as merely cleaning a house. There are several prerequisites you’ll need and steps you should take to help yourself along this career path. Becoming a decontamination specialist is not overly difficult, but it does require dedication and the right disposition. 

1. Complete Your Education

Begin by obtaining a high school diploma or GED. The first step in becoming a decontamination specialist is the completion of your high school education or the equivalent. A strong background in subjects like biology and chemistry will be highly beneficial in this industry. 

From there, you can move on to pursuing a relevant degree or certification. While this is not always a requirement, higher education will not only enhance your knowledge of and skills in decontamination but also significantly increase your chances of attaining a job in this field. Many suitable degrees will provide you with the necessary experience to help you excel in this career.

  • Public Health
  • Microbiology
  • Environmental Science
  • Certified Decontamination Specialist (offered by the National Academy of Crime Scene Cleaners)
  • Certified Environmental Infection Control Remediator (offered by the Indoor Air Quality Association)

2. Gain Experience 

Even without a degree, there is not much that can beat hands-on experience. It will allow you to apply your theoretical knowledge and develop any necessary skills for the job. Search for opportunities in the decontamination field, such as internships, apprenticeships, or entry-level positions with cleaning companies or organizations that specialize in crime scene contamination or biohazard cleanup. Additionally, you can search for similar opportunities in these fields.

  • Hospitals
  • Laboratories
  • Healthcare Facilities

3. Develop Relevant Skills

If you intend to become a certified decontamination specialist, you will require a range of skills including the knowledge of proper cleaning and sanitization techniques, an understanding of biohazardous waste disposal regulation, and the ability to handle sensitive and emotionally challenging situations. You would also benefit from the following:

  • Strong attention to details
  • Problem-solving abilities
  • Physical stamina

Read our guides on the health risks of cleaning biohazards without training, and the basic elements of personal protective equipment to get a better idea of some of the knowledge you would require in this field.  

4. Stay Updated on Regulations

The process of learning how to become a decontamination specialist could be considered ongoing because the field is constantly evolving. For this reason, you want to stay informed about the latest regulations, guidelines, and best practices. You can do this by attending workshops, conferences, and seminars to keep yourself informed about emerging technologies and advancements in decontamination techniques.

5. Develop Communication Skills

Decon specialists require strong communication skills. You will often have to educate and train others on appropriate decontamination procedures. The ability to effectively communicate and convey information will not only make your job easier and more thorough but also ensure compliance with any protocols.

6. Network When You Can

It’s a good idea to network when you are looking for job opportunities in the field of decontamination. You can do this in a variety of ways:

  • Attend industry events
  • Join professional organizations
  • Connect with experts in the field
  • Utilize online platforms to expand your professional network to remain updated on job openings 

7. Apply for Jobs

Once you have the necessary education and experience under your belt, it’s time to start applying for decontamination specialist positions. Ensure your resume highlights your relevant skills and experience, and prepare for interviews by researching common questions and practicing your answers. If you feel you’re in a position to take on the task, you can also forego the job search by starting your own business in the decontamination field.

Contact Xtreme Cleaners

Becoming a decontamination specialist requires a combination of education, hands-on experience, and a passion for health and safety. If you follow these steps and remain committed to your professional growth, you too can embark on a career in this important field. Whether you are searching for additional information about the decontamination field, looking for sanitization career advice, or need a professional cleanup, call us at 800-524-9591 or feel free to email us using the form below and a representative from Xtreme Cleaners will get back to you shortly.