Safety Coordinator Schools and Training Programs: How to Choose

Safety coordinators, also referred to as safety technicians or managers, work to ensure environmental safety for people on the road, at work or at home. Some jobs are available with minimal college-level training, but management positions require at least a bachelor's degree.

How to Choose a Safety Coordinator School or Training Program

Programs in occupational safety and health can prepare students for safety coordinator roles. These programs can be found at community colleges, technical schools and 4-year colleges and universities.

Summary of Important Considerations

  • Career goals
  • Course offerings
  • Scheduling options
  • Practical experience opportunities
  • Student organizations and faculty backgrounds

Career Goals

Depending on the industry, the tasks of safety coordinators can vary greatly. Students should determine a career goal before selecting a program, taking into account their individual skills and strengths, as well as their vocational interest. For example, many industrial hygiene programs include engineering or technology influences, while occupational health and safety programs tend to incorporate studies in health sciences.

Course Offerings

Courses instruct students on the safety practices that cover all industries, specifically research and development of safety standards, as well as methods for enforcing legal compliance. Since many occupational safety industries have state and federal regulations, applicants should ensure sufficient coverage of regulatory guidelines of major agencies, such as those required by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Some programs also include specific training for safety certifications, such as an OSHA-approved safety or health credential.

Scheduling Options

Some schools offer degree programs fully or partially online, as well as evening or weekend coursework. Students with conflicting schedules or those located remotely might benefit from the flexibility of distance learning options.

Practical Experience Opportunities

Additionally, some schools might offer the chance to gain practical experience through an internship at an affiliated company or government agency. These opportunities generally require some on-site attendance.

Student Organizations and Faculty Backgrounds

Students might want to search for relevant school-sponsored student organizations or faculty members with backgrounds in their desired career. Student organizations bring guest speakers to campus and offer networking opportunities. Faculty members might provide the opportunity to participate in conducting research and could supply industry contacts for postgraduate employment.

Safety Coordinator Degree Program Overviews

Certificate Programs

Those who already work in an industry and need safety education could consider developing their skills in a certificate program. Some schools offer certificates in different aspects of safety management, such as inspection of construction or disaster sites. Courses typically cover basic information in:

  • Industrial hygiene
  • Hazard identification
  • Safety and health management

Associate's Degree Programs

Associate's degree programs prepare individuals for entry-level positions as safety technicians. These 2-year programs require a few general education courses and include broad topics in safety. Some offer specialized electives that allow students to focus on a particular area of interest. Courses might include:

  • Physical hazards
  • OSHA regulations
  • Industrial hygiene

Bachelor's Degree Programs

Bachelor's degree options relevant to prospective safety coordinators include occupational health and safety or environmental safety majors. These programs develop students' abilities to identify a hazardous situation and resolve it. Core courses cover general principles in legal regulations and safety standards, as well as topics such as:

  • Fire prevention
  • Construction safety
  • Toxicology
  • Accident investigation

Students can often concentrate on a specific discipline, such as industrial hygiene or fire safety. Some schools encourage students to participate in research or complete internships.

Master's Degree Programs

Master's programs in either public or occupational health consist of advanced courses in:

  • Risk management
  • Infectious diseases
  • Applied safety procedures

Programs focus primarily on researching health and safety methods in the workforce, though some coursework teaches administrative skills. Graduate programs could include practicum experiences that offer observational learning opportunities. Research is also required, and students have the option to complete a thesis. In some cases, students may choose between a practicum or a thesis.

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