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Occupational Health and Safety Specialists

Occupational health and safety specialists prevent harm to workers, the general public, property and the environment. They implement and evaluate safety programs. They perform inspections and inform a company's management about areas that do not comply with Federal and state laws or employer policies. They are also known as occupational health and safety inspectors and safety and health professionals.

Their responsibilities vary by workplace, industry and the types of hazards that affect workers. Some specialties include, environmental protection officers, health physicists and industrial hygienists. In addition, some occupational health and safety specialists are self-employed.

Safety and health professionals assess the probability and severity of accidents and determine where controls need to be implemented to reduce or eliminate risk. They also monitor the results of new safety procedures and programs.

Safety and health professionals also advise managers regarding the cost and effectiveness of safety and health programs. Some of these specialists provide training regarding new policies and regulations and how to recognize hazards. Occupational health and safety specialists also investigate illnesses and injuries and determine the causes and recommend corrective actions.

Occupational health and safety specialists strive to increase worker productivity, reduce absenteeism and equipment downtime. Their strategies also save money by lowering insurance premiums and workers' compensation payments and by preventing government fines. In addition, some occupational health and safety inspectors work for government agencies and perform safety inspections and impose fines.

Loss prevention specialists work for insurance companies and inspect the facilities insured by the company and suggest improvements and assist in implementing them.

Sample job titles include safety specialist, health and safety manager, corporate safety director, safety consultant, risk control consultant and environmental health and safety manager.

Responsibilities

  • Advise managers about safety performance
  • Offer suggestions to correct existing safety hazards and to avoid creating hazards
  • Evaluate current products, equipment, processes and facilities and those planned for use in the future
  • Prepare documents used in legal proceedings and testify in court
  • Test air quality
  • Help design safe work spaces
  • Make equipment more ergonomic
  • Search for physical, chemical, biological and radiological hazards
  • Conduct safety training sessions
  • Develop and maintain hygiene programs including continuous atmosphere monitoring, noise surveys, asbestos management plans and ventilation surveys

Job Characteristics

Occupational health and safety specialists work in a variety of settings such as mines and factories. They may be exposed to hazardous conditions faced by industrial workers. Most of these specialists work 40 hours per week and some specialists may have to work irregular hours. Some of these specialists frequently travel.

Employment Outlook

The Bureau of Labor Statistics has projected an eleven percent employment growth for the 2008 to 2018 timeframe which is about as fast as average for all occupations.

In 2008, the median annual earnings for occupational health and safety specialists was $62,250. The highest paid 10 percent earned more than $93,620. Regarding the sectors that employ the largest amount of occupational and safety specialists, the federal executive branch provides the highest salaries followed by general medical and surgical hospitals.

Education, Certification, and Licensing

Most of these jobs require a bachelor's degree in occupational health, safety or a related field such as chemistry, engineering or biology. Some of these jobs require a master's degree in industrial hygiene, health physics or a related subject.

Work experience is very important for this occupation, thus students should consider selecting an education program that provides internships. Some beneficial high school courses are mathematics, English, chemistry, physics and biology.

Every specialist is provided training in the applicable laws or inspection procedures by some combination of classroom learning and on-the-job training. Getting a credential is voluntary, however, many employers prefer their occupational health and safety specialists obtain a credential. The requirements for credentials vary, however, special education and experience is required for taking most certification exams.

Resources

Major Employers

The primary employers are manufacturing companies, scientific and technical consulting services, hospitals; federal, state and local government agencies; support activity for mining, administrative and support services, and educational services.

Schools for Occupational Health And Safety Specialists are listed in the Browse Schools Section.

Metro Areas Sorted by Total Employment for:
Occupational Health and Safety Specialists

Listed below are metro areas sorted by the total number of people employed in Occupational Health and Safety Specialists jobs , as of 2015

Source: 2015 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2014-24 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov.

     
Metro Area (Alabama) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Birmingham 240 $79,540
Hoover 240 $79,540
Mobile 160 $60,080
Huntsville 110 $83,520
Montgomery 70 $67,150
Tuscaloosa 50 $60,720
Decatur 40 $63,490
     
Metro Area (Alaska) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Anchorage 310 $81,310
Fairbanks 60 $68,240
     
Metro Area (Arizona) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Phoenix 890 $69,250
Scottsdale 890 $69,250
Mesa 890 $69,250
Tucson 170 $59,620
Yuma 50 $55,710
Prescott 40 $53,930
     
Metro Area (Arkansas) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Conway 210 $59,840
North Little Rock 210 $59,840
Little Rock 210 $59,840
     
Metro Area (California) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Long Beach 1580 $78,790
Los Angeles 1580 $78,790
Anaheim 1580 $78,790
Hayward 1030 $90,930
Oakland 1030 $90,930
San Francisco 1030 $90,930
San Diego 670 $76,600
Carlsbad 670 $76,600
Arcade 430 $78,970
Arden 430 $78,970
Sacramento 430 $78,970
Roseville 430 $78,970
Riverside 420 $72,410
San Bernardino 420 $72,410
Ontario 420 $72,410
San Jose 330 $92,090
Santa Clara 330 $92,090
Sunnyvale 330 $92,090
Bakersfield 300 $76,800
Oxnard 120 $83,550
Ventura 120 $83,550
Thousand Oaks 120 $83,550
Fresno 80 $71,580
Santa Maria 80 $83,400
Santa Barbara 80 $83,400
Fairfield 80 $91,400
Vallejo 80 $91,400
Lodi 60 $70,210
Stockton 60 $70,210
Merced 50 $73,660
Salinas 50 $83,100
Modesto 40 $77,580
Santa Rosa 40 $80,780
Porterville 30 $77,210
Visalia 30 $77,210
     
Metro Area (Colorado) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Aurora 890 $76,220
Lakewood 890 $76,220
Denver 890 $76,220
Boulder 120 $73,880
Greeley 100 $74,300
Colorado Springs 90 $70,280
Fort Collins 90 $70,930
Grand Junction 50 $69,220
     
Metro Area (Connecticut) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
East Hartford 210 $76,200
West Hartford 210 $76,200
Hartford 210 $76,200
New Haven 140 $81,230
Norwalk 130 $76,350
Stamford 130 $76,350
Bridgeport 130 $76,350
     
Metro Area (Delaware) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Dover 80 $47,260
     
Metro Area (Florida) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Fort Lauderdale 400 $67,540
West Palm Beach 400 $67,540
Miami 400 $67,540
Clearwater 340 $70,550
Tampa 340 $70,550
St. Petersburg 340 $70,550
Kissimmee 290 $63,100
Sanford 290 $63,100
Orlando 290 $63,100
Jacksonville 210 $64,890
Winter Haven 90 $56,420
Lakeland 90 $56,420
Pensacola 80 $66,360
Brent 80 $66,360
Ferry Pass 80 $66,360
Gainesville 60 $62,830
Destin 60 $72,230
Fort Walton Beach 60 $72,230
Crestview 60 $72,230
Titusville 60 $77,130
Melbourne 60 $77,130
Palm Bay 60 $77,130
Cape Coral 50 $47,430
Fort Myers 50 $47,430
Tallahassee 50 $58,570
Port St. Lucie 30 $56,470
Panama City 30 $70,190
     
Metro Area (Georgia) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Roswell 480 $72,750
Sandy Springs 480 $72,750
Atlanta 480 $72,750
Savannah 60 $76,170
Warner Robins 50 $72,230
Albany 40 $66,360
     
Metro Area (Hawaii) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Urban Honolulu 390 $73,710
     
Metro Area (Idaho) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Boise City 190 $58,390
Idaho Falls 30 $74,870
     
Metro Area (Illinois) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Peoria 100 $83,120
Champaign 50 $65,170
Urbana 50 $65,170
Carbondale 50 $70,200
Marion 50 $70,200
Springfield 40 $76,150
Rockford 30 $65,350
     
Metro Area (Indiana) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Anderson 580 $61,930
Carmel 580 $61,930
Indianapolis 580 $61,930
Fort Wayne 110 $52,400
Terre Haute 80 $69,940
Goshen 60 $62,660
Elkhart 60 $62,660
Columbus 50 $48,940
La Porte 40 $63,380
Michigan City 40 $63,380
West Lafayette 40 $65,630
Lafayette 40 $65,630
     
Metro Area (Iowa) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
West Des Moines 140 $65,010
Des Moines 140 $65,010
Cedar Rapids 80 $67,610
Ames 40 $66,370
Iowa City 30 $65,000
     
Metro Area (Kansas) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Wichita 170 $58,560
Topeka 80 $51,500
Manhattan 50 $59,170
     
Metro Area (Kentucky) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Fayette 180 $60,180
Lexington 180 $60,180
Owensboro 40 $60,020
Fort Knox 40 $61,220
Elizabethtown 40 $61,220
     
Metro Area (Louisiana) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Baton Rouge 350 $78,020
Metairie 260 $69,970
New Orleans 260 $69,970
Lafayette 180 $68,800
Shreveport 90 $54,520
Bossier City 90 $54,520
Lake Charles 80 $72,300
Houma N/A $55,340
Thibodaux N/A $55,340
     
Metro Area (Maine) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Portland 80 $63,580
South Portland 80 $63,580
Bangor 30 $72,400
     
Metro Area (Maryland) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Towson 690 $73,210
Columbia 690 $73,210
Baltimore 690 $73,210
     
Metro Area (Michigan) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Dearborn 580 $77,260
Detroit 580 $77,260
Warren 580 $77,260
Wyoming 110 $69,580
Grand Rapids 110 $69,580
Ann Arbor 70 $69,230
East Lansing 70 $74,650
Lansing 70 $74,650
Portage 50 $53,680
Kalamazoo 50 $53,680
     
Metro Area (Minnesota) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Rochester 80 $72,660
St. Cloud 80 $72,660
North Mankato 40 $62,800
Mankato 40 $62,800
     
Metro Area (Mississippi) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Jackson 110 $78,300
Pascagoula 80 $64,300
Biloxi 80 $64,300
Gulfport 80 $64,300
     
Metro Area (Missouri) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Jefferson City 80 $45,270
Springfield 40 $43,300
     
Metro Area (Montana) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Billings 90 $65,850
Missoula 70 $45,850
     
Metro Area (Nebraska) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Lincoln 100 $57,190
     
Metro Area (Nevada) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Paradise 290 $67,220
Henderson 290 $67,220
Las Vegas 290 $67,220
Reno 110 $67,790
     
Metro Area (New Hampshire) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Manchester 60 $76,590
     
Metro Area (New Jersey) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Trenton 540 $84,180
Hammonton 40 $82,380
Atlantic City 40 $82,380
     
Metro Area (New Mexico) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Albuquerque 310 $77,220
Farmington 110 $57,080
Las Cruces 40 $59,200
     
Metro Area (New York) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Albany 330 $70,190
Troy 330 $70,190
Schenectady 330 $70,190
Cheektowaga 260 $60,700
Niagara Falls 260 $60,700
Buffalo 260 $60,700
Rochester 230 $55,640
Syracuse 180 $69,100
Rome 70 $68,830
Utica 70 $68,830
Binghamton 40 $57,070
     
Metro Area (North Carolina) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Raleigh 240 $59,030
Durham 150 $64,850
Chapel Hill 150 $64,850
Greensboro 130 $67,990
High Point 130 $67,990
Salem 110 $45,640
Winston 110 $45,640
Fayetteville 80 $78,440
Asheville 60 $54,850
Jacksonville 50 N/A
Wilmington 40 $59,750
New Bern 40 $66,370
Hickory 30 $59,260
Morganton 30 $59,260
Lenoir 30 $59,260
     
Metro Area (North Dakota) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Bismarck 50 $71,810
     
Metro Area (Ohio) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Columbus 780 $70,260
Cleveland 510 $72,080
Elyria 510 $72,080
Dayton 270 $69,920
Toledo 230 $69,230
Akron 180 $71,770
Massillon 130 $59,320
Canton 130 $59,320
Lima 60 $75,930
Mansfield 40 $60,790
     
Metro Area (Oklahoma) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Oklahoma City 420 $64,930
Tulsa 300 $64,820
Lawton 30 $71,090
     
Metro Area (Oregon) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Salem 100 $67,080
Eugene 60 $65,810
Albany 40 $59,850
Medford 40 $73,520
     
Metro Area (Pennsylvania) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Pittsburgh 650 $71,850
Harrisburg 220 $65,450
Carlisle 220 $65,450
Barre 90 $73,090
Wilkes 90 $73,090
Hazleton 90 $73,090
Scranton 90 $73,090
Erie 90 $77,220
Lancaster 70 $63,200
Reading 70 $74,850
Johnstown 50 N/A
York 50 $70,150
Hanover 50 $70,150
Williamsport 30 $52,490
     
Metro Area (Puerto Rico) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Caguas 560 $34,890
Carolina 560 $34,890
San Juan 560 $34,890
     
Metro Area (South Carolina) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Columbia 420 $45,700
Charleston 280 $54,190
North Charleston 280 $54,190
Mauldin 120 $44,170
Greenville 120 $44,170
Anderson 120 $44,170
Florence 60 $45,760
Spartanburg 60 $52,010
Bluffton 50 $62,470
Hilton Head Island 50 $62,470
Beaufort 50 $62,470
     
Metro Area (South Dakota) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Rapid City 40 $70,800
     
Metro Area (Tennessee) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Franklin 460 $64,820
Murfreesboro 460 $64,820
Davidson 460 $64,820
Nashville 460 $64,820
Knoxville 280 $72,900
     
Metro Area (Texas) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
The Woodlands 4090 $78,850
Houston 4090 $78,850
Sugar Land 4090 $78,850
Dallas 1690 $70,130
Arlington 1690 $70,130
Fort Worth 1690 $70,130
New Braunfels 880 $53,180
San Antonio 880 $53,180
Austin 510 $67,650
Round Rock 510 $67,650
Corpus Christi 300 $70,270
Port Arthur 290 $71,060
Beaumont 290 $71,060
Midland 280 $79,350
Odessa 170 $61,620
El Paso 150 $53,920
Longview 130 $59,830
Amarillo 110 $72,750
Temple 100 $64,420
Killeen 100 $64,420
Waco 90 $56,520
College Station 90 $56,680
Bryan 90 $56,680
McAllen 80 $48,630
Mission 80 $48,630
Edinburg 80 $48,630
Harlingen 70 $31,350
Brownsville 70 $31,350
Lubbock 60 $59,980
Victoria 50 $55,850
Abilene 40 $60,310
Laredo 30 $69,460
     
Metro Area (Utah) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Salt Lake City 440 $65,390
Clearfield 130 $66,370
Ogden 130 $66,370
Provo 50 $59,950
Orem 50 $59,950
     
Metro Area (Vermont) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
South Burlington 60 $71,950
Burlington 60 $71,950
     
Metro Area (Virginia) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Richmond 520 $58,320
Roanoke 100 $55,820
Charlottesville 70 $58,280
Lynchburg 60 $47,880
Radford 50 $46,550
Christiansburg 50 $46,550
Blacksburg 50 $46,550
Waynesboro 40 $48,400
Staunton 40 $48,400
Harrisonburg 40 $53,890
     
Metro Area (Washington) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Seattle 1240 $78,120
Tacoma 1240 $78,120
Bellevue 1240 $78,120
Kennewick 310 $89,510
Richland 310 $89,510
Tumwater 130 $63,930
Olympia 130 $63,930
Silverdale 120 $77,080
Bremerton 120 $77,080
Spokane 100 $63,920
Spokane Valley 100 $63,920
Bellingham 60 $70,910
Yakima 40 $59,340
Longview 40 $64,250
Mount Vernon 40 $65,460
Anacortes 40 $65,460
     
Metro Area (West Virginia) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Charleston 130 $79,540
Morgantown 100 $74,290
Beckley 90 $79,550
     
Metro Area (Wisconsin) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Waukesha 230 $73,130
West Allis 230 $73,130
Milwaukee 230 $73,130
Madison 210 $68,280
Appleton 80 $66,790
Green Bay 50 $61,680
Oshkosh 40 $64,020
Neenah 40 $64,020
Wausau 30 $50,200
Sheboygan 30 $64,240
     
Metro Area (Wyoming) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Casper 80 $54,640
Cheyenne 40 $64,440

Career Stories (Job Profiles) for Occupational Health and Safety Specialists

To find out more about building a career as Occupational Health Specialists, we spoke with professionals in the field across a variety of specialties. Learn about their experiences on the job, the steps they took to complete their education, and what it takes to excel in this industry. Click the link to see a story.

All Types

Most Popular Industries for :
Occupational Health and Safety Specialists

Industries representing at least 1% of total jobs for the occupation.

Source: 2015 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2014-24 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov.

Industry Jobs Percent Annual Median Salary
Government 20,940 39% $62,120
Professional And Technical Services 5,450 10% $62,810
Hospital 3,330 6% $63,170
Education 2,090 3% $55,200
Chemicals 1,630 3% $64,430
Business Management 1,450 2% $67,950
Automotive And Vehicle Manufacturing 1,190 2% $67,110
Utilities 1,160 2% $72,040
Waste Management 1,070 2% $71,570
Office Services And Staffing 1,040 1% $61,200
Medical Office 890 1% $52,600
Food 820 1% $49,020
Mining Services 770 1% $60,770
Metals 720 1% $59,210
Insurance 670 1% $66,750
Construction Trades 650 1% $56,640
Construction 600 1% $64,420
Mining 550 1% $65,760
Metal Products 530 1% $58,720
These schools offer particularly quick info upon request, and we have written detailed profiles for each (click school names to see the profiles). Request info from multiple schools, by clicking the Request Info links.
 
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CityTownInfo Career and College Resources

We have some additional detailed pages at the state level for Occupational Health and Safety Specialists.

Numbers in parentheses are counts of relevant campus-based schools in the state; online schools may also be available.

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