Occupational safety technicians monitor workplace conditions and create safety procedures to ensure that a company's employees remain safe on the job. A bachelor's degree is preferred for entry level positions, but an advanced degree may be necessary for those who wish to climb higher on the career ladder.
Occupational safety technicians, also known as 'occupational health and safety technologists', ensure the safety and well-being of a company's employees while protecting equipment and the environment. They monitor workplace conditions, analyze preexisting safety procedures and implement programs that increase employee safety, comfort and productivity.
To secure employment in this field, a bachelor's degree in a safety-related field is preferred, and those interested in becoming managers might need a master's degree. Certification from the Board of Certified Safety Professionals (BCSP) or the Council on Certification of Health, Environmental and Safety Technologists (CCHEST) is highly desirable.
|Required Education||Bachelor's degree in a safety-related field for entry level jobs; master's degree for advanced positions|
|Other Requirements||BCSP or CCHEST certification|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)||9% for all occupational health and safety technicians*|
|Median Annual Salary (2015)||$48,070 for all occupational health and safety technicians*|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Many employers, especially the federal government, require occupational safety technicians to hold a bachelor's degree, though associate's degree and certificate programs are also available. Throughout the course of a 4-year undergraduate degree, students complete courses in safety and health standards, hazard recognition and control, occupational health and safety management, industrial hygiene, risk control and accident prevention. Other coursework might cover math, physics, chemistry and communication.
Occupational safety technicians who wish to move to a management position typically need to earn an advanced degree in a safety-related field. Advanced degrees also provide occupational safety technicians with opportunities to teach at the college level, conduct research or become occupational health and safety specialist. To further opportunities for promotion, occupational safety technicians might wish to seek industry certification.
Occupational safety technicians can gain a more competitive edge in the job market by earning industry certifications. The Board of Certified Safety Professionals offers the designation of Certified Safety Professional to those with specific levels of education and experience who successfully pass or waive an examination.
Similarly, the Council on Certification of Health, Environmental and Safety Technologists offers the title of Occupational Health and Safety Technologist to individuals who meet all requisites. Certified technicians maintain their status through continuing education courses.
A bachelor's degree is the minimum credential preferred by most employers of occupational safety technicians. Certification and/or an advanced degree can help to improve job outlook for candidates. Occupational health and safety technicians can expect to see a 9% growth in jobs from 2014-2024, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).