Occupational Health and Safety Specialist Salary

High earning occupational health and safety specialist earn approximately $86,000, according to CareerOverview.com. However, high earning occupational health and safety technicians earn around $67,000. In 2004, the median earning for occupational health and safety specialist was near $51,500 says CollegeGrad.com. Yet, the middle 50% of workers earned and income between $40,000 and $65,000.

According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the lower 10% earn nearly $27,000 annual, while the highest 10% earns approximately $73,000. The majority of income earned from occupational health and safety specialist and technicians derives from employees of the federal government and privately held businesses, says the Bureau of Labor and Statistics.*

*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/

Job Description and Outlook

Occupational Health and Safety Specialists and Technicians or Safety and Health Practitioners work in a preventative field. Occupational Health and Safety Inspectors, as they are also called, help to inhibit detriment to the general public. More specifically, they help prevent injury to employees, property and the environment by examining machines, testing air quality, and ensuring the safe designs of work space.

Maintaining productivity among employees is also a high priority for occupational health and safety specialist and technicians. They help companies increase productivity by helping to lower insurance premiums and payments for worker compensation. Occupational health and safety specialists and technicians also help to prevent government fines. They also help reduce the amount of absenteeism among employees, and help to maintain equipment that keeps each company running efficiently.

Occupational health and safety specialists and technicians utilize scientific equipment to analyze data within the workplace from equipment and machinery that can disperse potentially toxic materials, such as dust, gases and vapors. They consult appropriate safety regulations to analyze equipment and machinery for compliance. Specifically, they must examine items such as scaffolding, machine guards, and lifting devices, according to CollegeGrad.com. They must ensure that hazardous materials are correctly stored and that employees and administrators are properly using mask, protective eyewear, respirators, hardhats, and other personal protective equipment.

According to government regulations, occupational health and safety specialists and technicians will often discuss issues with workers and observe the work environment, as part of the inspection process. Although these are the general duties of occupational health and safety specialists and technicians the responsibility of social workers is as varied as the industries that require them, says the Bureau of Labor and Statistics.

According to CollegeGrad.com, employment for occupational health and safety specialists and technicians will continue to grow. This growth is based on the demand of public entities that continue to require safe and healthy work environment. Because of the attacks of September 11, 2001, occupational health and safety specialists and technicians are maintaining fast steady growth. Increased job openings will rise due to replacement, retirement, or other reasons for leaving the field. There is an expected increase for this job by about 14% up until 2018, according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics. Private industries will also continue to see steady growth within this field due to government regulations and company policies.*

*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/

Private industries that demand occupational health and safety specialists and technicians are somewhat affected by fluctuations in the economy. Yet, local, state and federal governments will continue to maintain steady employment for specialists and technicians with a rate of 2/5. Therefore these types of workers are less likely to be affected by any economic change and will continue to see steady job security.

Training and Education Requirements

Through a combination of on-the-job training and classroom learning, occupational health and safety specialists and technicians obtain qualification and advancement. Two of the core-learning modules required by most employers include current-applicable laws and inspection procedures. According to CollegeGrad.com, degrees and awards associated with the field include one-year certificates, associate degrees, bachelor’s degrees and graduate degrees. Health physics, industry hygiene, and safety programs are governed by the Accreditation Board of Engineering and Technology.

The Federal government and other private employers, usually require a minimum education requirement of a bachelor’s degree in occupational health, safety or related work field of study including chemistry, biology or engineering. Although some industry hygiene programs result in a master’s degree, many positions for occupational health and safety specialists and technicians require experience as a prerequisite, says CollegeGrad.com.

There are many paths to obtaining entre level positions within the field of occupational health and safety specialists and technicians, according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics. Although certifications are voluntary, they are highly recommended. Still, most students attend postsecondary school, or obtain training and experience to enter this field of employment.

Certifications

Those that work in the field must be highly responsible and communicative and must have a great ability to observe details. Certifications through the Board of Certified Safety Professionals and the American Board of Industrial Hygiene are available. Certification can also be obtained from the Council on Certification of Health, Environmental and Safety Technologist. Credentials include Certified Safety Professional, Certified Industrial Hygienist (CIH), Certified Safety Professional, Certified Associate Industrial Hygienist (CAIH), Occupational Health and Safety Technologist (OHST) and Constructional Health and Safety Technologist (CHST).

Professional Associations

The following associations provide industry standards in continuing education, training and certifications. They offer face-to-face, home study programs and e-learning opportunities for occupational health and safety specialists and technicians.

  • Board of Certified Safety Professionals
  • American Industry Hygiene Association
  • Health Physics Society
  • American Board of Industry Hygiene

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