The HSET program is a competency-based curriculum designed to provide students with the basic skills, knowledge, and abilities to gain entry-level employment in the fields of health, safety, and environmental technology. The program focuses on federal regulations for environmental protection, worker health and safety, and the transportation of hazardous materials.
The Health, Safety, and Environmental Technology (HSET) credit program, formerly known as the Environmental Compliance and Technology (ECAT) or Hazardous Materials Technology (HMT) programs, of Eastern Iowa Community College District (EICCD) originated with a grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA). Working with local and national professionals in the field, EICCD was able to identify and validate the job skills required in the field of hazardous materials handling and management. The HMT curriculum was then designed to develop those student job skills. In 1986, the Iowa State Board of Education approved EICCD's plans for an Associate of Applied Science degree program and a certificate program. In 1987, after a year of curriculum development, EICCD offered the college credit programs to students at Clinton, Muscatine, and Scott Community Colleges.
Also in 1987, EICCD and Kirkwood Community College (in Cedar Rapids, Iowa) cooperated in establishing the Hazardous Materials Training and Research Institute (HMTRI) for the purpose of designing and disseminating community education training programs.
In September of 1991, EICCD and HMTRI provided the opportunity for students to earn an HMT certificate for college credit through correspondence study. More courses were added, enabling students to achieve a two-year Associate of Applied Science degree through this program.
To more accurately reflect the purpose of the programs and needs of the industry, the ECAT program was updated in 2003 with several new courses and was renamed the Health, Safety, and Environmental Technology (HSET) program.