A bachelor's program in safety management combines health science with business education. Students may have the opportunity to complete an internship in a professional setting and can often join a student organization in this field. Master's programs offer students the opportunity for study and research in topics such as fire safety, risk assessment and loss control; internships are included.
Certificate and other training programs in safety management may be available online as well as at the workplace. They are often offered by professional safety organizations and last a few days. Students may need a bachelor's degree and experience in occupational safety for some programs.
Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Safety Management
The bachelor's degree program in safety management typically takes four years to complete and combines health science and business education to develop a thorough understanding of workplace safety hazards, methods of accident prevention and emergency responses. The program offers safety science courses and many schools offer internship opportunities in professional settings, such as insurance agencies. Students may also be encouraged to participate in safety management organizations, such as the student chapters of the American Society of Safety Engineers. A high school diploma or GED is typically required as a program prerequisite.
In addition to general education coursework, the B.S. in Safety Management curriculum commonly covers topics similar to the following:
- Industrial health and hygiene
- Industrial safety standards
- Safety administration
- Accident prevention
- Safety hazards
Master of Science (M.S.) in Safety Management
The master's degree program in safety management offers interdisciplinary study in business, engineering and health sciences, with focus on developing professional skills in areas such as loss control, emergency care and industrial safety. Safety management training at the master's degree level is designed to prepare graduates for careers in industries such as manufacturing, transportation, construction, government, consulting and aviation. Many programs allow students to structure their curriculum by selecting related elective areas, such as emergency management or research. Students can typically complete the M.S. program in two years and must have a bachelor's degree in a related health science field prior to admission.
Coursework involves advanced study in professional safety standards and practices. Students develop management skills and may choose to participate in professional internships to gain insight into the various career options in occupational safety. Topics of study may also include:
- Safety research and evaluation
- Environmental and personal hazard control
- Fire safety
- Emergency care
- Risk assessment
- Loss control
Safety Management Training
Training and certificate programs in safety management are available online or through on-site courses for occupational health and safety professionals. Offered by professional safety management organizations, training often focuses on safety management fundamentals and the business skills involved with safety program administration. Applicants may need a bachelor's degree and several years of relevant work experience in occupational safety.
Coursework may include study in management concepts, such as how to develop interpersonal communication skills and safety implementation possibilities, such as developing ergonomic improvements to reduce employee injury. Other interdisciplinary topics of study may include:
- Risk management
- Hazard identification
- Accident investigation
- Safety strategies
- Machine safety
- Current industry safety standards
Graduates from a bachelor's program may be qualified for entry-level jobs in multiple industries, including construction and insurance. Occupations as safety analysts, corporate health officers and public health investigators can be found through public and private sector businesses, corporations and government agencies. Possible occupations also include:
- Environmental health manager
- Safety manager
- Industrial hygienist
- Loss control specialist
- Safety engineer
Safety management training may provide continuing education credits and added credentials for safety managers and supervisors. Examples of other possible occupations include:
- Maintenance supervisor
- Corporate safety manager
- Occupational health and safety specialist
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that a four percent employment increase of occupational health and safety specialists is expected between 2018 and 2028, which is considered as fast as the average compared to all other occupations (www.bls.gov). The BLS also reports that the national median annual wage for occupational health and safety specialists was $73,020, as of May 2018.
Students who complete a safety management degree program may find work as safety managers, safety engineers and environmental health managers. Coursework typically includes risk assessment, safety standards and emergency responses.