Students who want to pursue a career in transportation safety should have a desire to design intrastate roadway systems. Subjects discussed in a transportation degree program include organizational behavior, hazard analysis and regulation compliance. In addition to studying transportation policy, transportation analysis and demand modeling, students may choose areas of concentration.
Undergraduate degree programs in safety management are designed to teach students how to safeguard potentially hazardous environments. In a master's degree or Doctor of Philosophy in Transportation Safety program, highway travel and vehicle safety are explored in depth. Courses may include vehicle dynamics and design, strength of materials and elasticity theory. A thesis or dissertation may be required. The majority of states don't require licensure for safety professionals, but they can obtain certifications on a voluntary basis.
Bachelor of Science in Safety Management
Bachelor's degree programs in safety management are often broad, interdisciplinary programs that prepare students for careers as safety managers in several industries like security, emergency management and transportation. Students learn the methods and procedures involved in regulating and upholding safety standards for people and property. They learn how to recognize hazards, secure dangerous working environments, and handle injuries or damage.
Most colleges and universities require incoming freshmen to be high school graduates with strong GPAs and standardized test scores. A four-year bachelor's degree program in safety management is often generalized, with basic courses related to safety regulations and safety management. Some courses include:
- Introduction to safety and organizational behavior
- Hazard analysis and hazardous materials
- Regulation compliance
- Construction and motor transportation safety
- Workplace security
- Damage and injuries
Master of Science in Transportation
Master's degree programs in transportation are interdisciplinary, combining elements of technology, design and management. They are ideal for any students who are interested in designing and planning bus, train and roadway systems that run across cities, counties and states.
Many graduate degree programs in transportation require students to focus on a particular area of study such as air transportation, transportation logistics, ocean transportation, transportation policy, transportation management or urban transportation. Each of these concentrations generally offers one or two courses that focus on safety procedures and regulations in the transportation industries. Students learn how different technologies and human factors can alter the need for safety standards.
Students should have an undergraduate degree before applying to a master's degree program in transportation. Many schools suggest that students complete bachelor's degree programs in engineering, urban planning, management or the physical sciences. Students should also complete a Graduate Record Examination (GRE) and submit test scores. The courses that offered in the two-year transportation degree program vary widely depending upon a student's chosen interest in the field. Some courses that span between different concentrations include:
- Transportation analysis and policy
- Demand modeling
- Logistical planning methods
- Intelligent transportation and management of transportation systems
- Emergency safety issues in transportation
- Labor relations
Master's and Doctor of Philosophy in Transportation Safety
A few schools offer graduate programs related directly to the field of transportation safety. Such programs are often designed for students who are interested in performing graduate research. Students investigate the various aspects of highway and automobile safety through individualized course plans and concentrated research. A thesis or dissertation project is required before graduating.
A baccalaureate degree is required of students who are interested in studying transportation safety at the graduate level. Some schools require students to take graduate level prerequisites in the field before they can enroll in a doctoral degree program. Once in the program, students can select their own course of study. Some common classes include:
- Crash investigation
- Vehicle structures and standards
- Vehicle dynamics and design
- Strength of materials
- Elasticity theory and statistical analysis
- Impact problems
Popular Career Options
Graduates with a degree in transportation can find work in public planning offices and private transportation organizations. Furthermore, a graduate degree in transportation safety leads to several careers in the field, ranging from designing highway infrastructures to crash testing automobiles. Some specific titles include:
- Crash injury and vehicle modeling engineer
- Transportation safety engineer, research coordinator and board director
- Director of highway safety
- Supervisory transportation safety specialist
- Transportation safety manager
- Accident investigator
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
The job of a transportation safety manager is to make sure that workers comply with safety regulations. They might also inspect trucks, trains or roads to make sure safety measures are upheld. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) doesn't have a listing for transportation safety managers, but the BLS does have a job outlook for the closely related occupational health and safety specialists and technicians. These professionals can expect a 6% increase in jobs for the years 2018 to 2028, as reported by the BLS. According to PayScale.com, safety managers earned a median annual income of $69,257 in September 2019.
Many transportation safety professionals are included in the same professional category as urban and regional planners. New Jersey is the only state that requires urban planners to have licensure. However, the American Planners Association offers voluntary certification through its own institute, the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP). Gaining such certification can help professionals move up the ladder to positions as directors or managers of transportation safety.
Aspiring transportation safety professionals can gain a theoretical background in the field, as well as relevant practical training, by earning a bachelor's, master's or doctoral degree.