Bachelor of Science (BS): Safety Engineering Degree Overview

Alternative options to degree programs in safety engineering include a Bachelor's degree in occupational safety and health, and a bachelor's degree in fire protection and safety engineering.

Essential Information

Those interested in safety engineering can apply to a Bachelor of Science in Occupational Safety and Health program, which highlights science, fire prevention and construction safety topics. On the other hand, a Bachelor of Science in Fire Protection and Safety Engineering imparts knowledge of health and safety engineering through the study of safety analysis and arson investigation procedures. Laboratory experiences may be included.

Both bachelor's programs require a completion of a high school diploma or a GED.

Bachelor of Science in Occupational Safety and Health

This degree program provides the knowledge necessary to improve the safety of employees and the general population in a hazardous work environment. Students learn about fire prevention, systems safety, toxicology, environmental law and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) compliance standards. These courses emphasize experiential learning and often involve laboratory activities. Additional classes students may encounter include:

  • Industrial hygiene
  • Ergonomics
  • Technical reporting
  • Construction safety
  • Loss control

Bachelor of Science in Fire Protection and Safety Engineering

Undergraduates in this program find out how to recognize and provide solutions to fire protection challenges. They learn to identify industrial processes, communicate effectively in teams, recognize and anticipate hazards, manage risks, interpret codes and investigate incidents. Ultimately, students are able to reduce loss caused by fire and toxic chemicals, manage risk and comply with federal laws. Course topics typically include:

  • Safety analysis
  • Fire arson investigation
  • Fire scene reconstruction
  • Fire research applications
  • Human responses to fire

Popular Career Options

Program graduates can seek employment through major industries and businesses, as well as seek leadership positions within fire protection. Specifically, graduates can work in:

  • Fire protection engineering
  • Industrial safety
  • Fire insurance

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of health and safety engineers, including fire protection engineers, is expected to grow 6% from 2014 to 2024, which is about as fast as the average ( In May 2015, the BLS reported that the average annual salary of health and safety engineers was $87,810. In general, health and safety engineers can seek employment in occupational hazard inspection and control, industrial hygiene and accident prevention.

Continuing Education Information

Upon successful completion of an occupational safety and health bachelor's degree, graduates can go on to earn advanced degrees and/or certificates. They can earn graduate certificates in security and safety engineering, safety engineering and system safety, in addition to a Master of Science in Occupational Safety and Health Engineering.

Similarly, those who follow the fire safety degree option can pursue advanced degrees such as a Master of Fire Protection and Administration. Master's degree programs include in-depth exploration into fire dynamics and fire modeling.

To pursue a career in safety engineer, the best route is to apply to a bachelor's degree program in occupational safety and health or fire prevention and safety engineering. Upon completion of a degree program, many graduates seek industrial positions.

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