Industrial Safety Technology

Industrial safety professionals protect workers and help to safeguard property and the environment. Read on to learn more about career and educational options, earnings and professional responsibilities before deciding if a future in industrial safety technology is right for you.

Is Industrial Safety Technology for Me?

Career Overview

The goal of industrial safety technology professionals is to ensure safety in the workplace. They help workers avoid accidents and prevent property and environmental damage. Industrial safety technology specialists, also called occupational health and safety specialists, observe workplaces for potential health hazards or unsafe conditions. In this position, you might monitor work procedures and equipment for compliance with safety regulations or perform inspections.

Specialists are often assisted by occupational health and safety technicians. As a technician, your tasks might include gathering possibly hazardous substances to be studied later by a specialist, inspecting machinery, gathering data about workplace conditions and ensuring employees are wearing protective gear.

Career Options

Many industrial safety technology professionals hold government jobs. You could also work for manufacturing, chemical and other industries. Additional opportunities may be found with energy and insurance companies, consulting agencies, construction firms and hospitals. You might also hold a position as an industrial hygienist, safety director, compliance officer or industrial hygiene technician.

If you decide to pursue a career as a health and safety engineer, you'll create systems to prevent workplace injuries and property damage. You might find employment in government, engineering, consulting or construction.

Employment and Salary Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicted that jobs for occupational health and safety specialists would increase by 7% nationwide between 2012 and 2022. In May 2013, these workers earned an average annual salary of $69,050. The BLS also reported that employment for occupational health and safety technicians was expected to rise 11% during the same decade. As of May 2013, occupational health and safety technicians earned average annual salaries of $50,390.

As reported by the BLS in May 2013, health and safety engineers earned an average annual salary of $81,320. Nationwide, engineer jobs were anticipated to increase 11% between 2012 and 2022 (www.bls.gov).

How Can I Work in Industrial Safety Technology?

Educational Requirements

You'll need a high school diploma or GED to work as a safety technician. Most technicians learn the necessary skills through on-the-job training. Certificate or associate's degree programs can be found at some community colleges or vocational schools. You usually need a bachelor's degree to get hired as a safety specialist. Relevant majors include industrial safety technology or occupational health and safety.

A bachelor's degree in industrial engineering or a similar field might qualify you for an entry-level position as a health and safety engineer. A master's degree in industrial hygiene or a related area may be required for more advanced health and safety positions. Some schools also offer doctoral degree programs in industrial hygiene or occupational and environmental health science. Even if you've received formal schooling, you can expect some on-the-job training tailored to your employer's needs.

Curriculum

Courses in industrial safety technology programs typically include training in Occupational Safety and Health Administration standards as well as topics in electrical safety, emergency response, accident investigation and industrial hygiene. You might also take classes in algebra, chemistry, physics and computer science. Similar coursework may be found in an industrial engineering program, which may also include the study ergonomics.

Certification and Licensing

Upon entering the workforce as an industrial safety professional, you could seek certification from the American Board of Industrial Hygiene and the Board of Certified Safety Professionals. You must meet educational, experience and testing requirements to get certified. Depending on the certification you're seeking, educational requirements can range from obtaining a bachelor's degree to completing 30 hours of health and safety training, while work experience ranges from about two to five years, some of which must be in a supervisory position. You'll need a license to work as a health and safety engineer in some states.

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