In a recent post, I mentioned that the HAZWOPER course can be tremendously useful for getting interns out into the field.
I was fortunate in my own internship, ages ago: not only did the company pay for the 40-hour course, but they also paid for my time to attend and for my lunches while I was taking it. This was mind-boggling for college-age me.
The real advantage to me was when I started looking for a job after college. The firm I had interned for was in a hiring freeze when I graduated, so that was out. But my 40-hour course and the fact that I had worked in the field before was a big help when I graduated from college, and allowed me to entertain a couple different job offers in a lousy economy.
I'm a firm believer in having training expenses paid by the employer. With that said, having the 40-hour course already can make a big difference if you're starting out in the environmental biz and don't much (if any) experience to point to. As much as I hate to admit it, it may be worth sucking it up and spending the couple hundred bucks for the course.