Bomb disposal technicians, also known as explosive ordnance disposal specialists, are responsible for the safe removal of explosives.
A bomb disposal technician’s job entails systematically searching for, disarming and disassembling unexploded ordnance (bombs that are built in factories). This commonly occurs on current and former government bomb ranges. Technicians that specialize in military explosives ordnance may also handle Improvised Explosive Devices or IEDs (bombs built by individuals) and ordnance located on Department of Defense property as well as civilian areas. Their expertise can be called upon at any location and at any time.
Shells, mines, and unexploded bombs and devices may easily be left behind after a conflict or where battles have occurred; bomb disposal technicians need to remove and disassemble these items in order for them to be examined by forensics. The information gathered from examining dismantled explosives can be valuable–informing armed forces and giving them opportunities to stay ahead of terrorists and enemies by determining how the explosives were made.
Becoming a bomb disposal technician takes intense training. Only about a quarter to a third of the applicants who train will progress. Bomb disposal technicians must be ready to work in a variety of environments, work well in teams, and be prepared for anything.
Whether in times of conflict or not, bomb disposal technicians are always needed. The opportunities are few and the candidates are many making this a difficult field to crack. It takes a dedicated individual to get into this line of work–staying cool under pressure at an extreme detriment to their own health. From investigating potential threats of terrorists–car bombs and homemade explosives; to disposing of hidden explosives and landmines that could cost innocent lives–it’s a dangerous job, but somebody has got to do it.
Average Pay for EOD Tech:
A bomb disposal technician is one of the most potentially dangerous jobs on the planet. They put themselves in harm’s way to protect the innocent. The term ‘Hazard Pay’ has never been more apt for a career. Employers have recognized this sacrifice and pay accordingly. While the salaries are about average compared to typical jobs in the same range, bomb disposal techs are provided generous benefits and bonuses. The average salary for a bomb disposal tech is around $78,000 per year. This doesn’t include experience based bonuses and benefits. These extras can reach up to $200,000 on top of the salary per year.
Entry level bomb disposal techs typically gain experience through the military and salaries begin at approximately $49,500. Again, with benefits and bonuses, this number can rise significantly. Also, where the bomb disposal tech works can drastically change the salary amounts. The US Navy pays upwards of $105,000 in salary per year to its bomb disposal techs. Be sure to check with each branch of the military to see their salary ranges before deciding on your path.
Typical Requirements and Experience:
The academic requirements for becoming a bomb disposal technician are not of the formal variety. This job requires technical skills that prepare them to tackle and mechanical challenges that may arise. Bomb disposal technicians typically come from a military background which makes sense because they are on of the only training program for this type of work.
It begins with soldier and or officer training through any of the branches of the military. The Army, Navy, Marines, and Air Force all have dedicated programs to train soldiers for bomb disposal. Known as explosive ordnance disposal, or EOD for short, prospective students who wish to enter this track need to have a strong aptitude in math, science, and reading comprehension. This is tested through the ASVAB or Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery. The US Military places candidates into a slotted program within their ranks based on their scores. A score of 110 on the ASVAB is your first step towards becoming a bomb disposal tech.
Initial training times vary for recruits but it usually begins with up to 10 weeks of basic training. This is the same basic training that all soldiers must complete regardless of path. Once basic training has been completed, they are moved into engineer training for around 37 weeks. This is where heavy mathematical and mechanical aptitude comes in handy. The prospective candidate who excels in engineer training can then ask to be placed into the bomb disposal specialization.
The bomb disposal specialization is a four-week training course that provides skills needed to recognize types of bomb and ammo. They must also know the proper way to dispose of these types. Specialists will also begin their journey into the illegal arms trade and counter-terrorism. Since the pay is so high, it does attract quite a few candidates. Roughly 1 out of every 3 soldiers who apply for the course are accepted.
Even if a potential bomb disposal tech wanted to make it their career, the chances are still quite low. Only those that have excellent and impeccable military credentials will be placed on the bomb disposal unit. Demonstrating that you have the right set of skills, personality, and experience is key to making it in this field. Officers do not want anyone around bombs or explosives that can’t react appropriately in high-pressure environments.
Bomb disposal technicians must show that they have the knowledge and experience before anyone will allow them into a situation that can cost people lives. This is why it’s important that a potential candidate always tries to learn and improve their skills. A demonstration of leadership skills and a flexibility to handle any type of scenario, while remaining calm under pressure, puts the candidate in the best position to succeed.
Bomb Disposal Technician Job Outlook:
Getting a position on a bomb disposal unit means that you are near the top of the military scale. Numerous factors including job promotion, finding another path, or life emergencies mean that most who want to go into the field never make it. It’s a small unit with very little chance to progress and move forward. Those that do join, typically stay in for life as the benefits grow as you get more experienced. Staying in the military allows you to earn the ranks of sergeant and beyond. Opportunities to branch out include bomb squads, SWAT teams, or working for the UN clearing landmines in war zones. Becoming a bomb disposal tech requires a lifelong passion for keeping people safe at extreme danger to yourself. A very specific type of person is the fit for this job so be sure that you understand the process and the difficulty of entering this field.
Bomb Disposal Job Search