How Can I Become a Safety Technician for the Chemical Industry?

Explore the career requirements for safety technicians in the chemical industry. Get the facts about education and licensure requirements, salary, and potential job growth to determine if this is the right career for you. Schools offering Engineering & Technology Management degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Safety Technician in the Chemical Industry?

Safety technicians in the chemical industry monitor and maintain safety standards in order to prevent workplace injuries. They run tests on chemical equipment and take other measurements in order to identify any potential hazards to the workers or the environment. Depending on the type of chemical company in which they work, they may also collect chemical samples to test them for toxic materials. When a chemical accident occurs, they undertake investigations in order to figure out ways to prevent a similar event in the future. Based on their results, they prepare analytical reports for company executives and give presentations to employees about workplace safety.

Learn about the education and certification required for this career, as well as necessary job skills from the following table.

Degree Required None required; associate's degree recommended
Education Field of Study Chemical technology
Occupational safety and health
Training Requirements On-the-job training
Certification Options BCSP Certified Safety Professional
Key Skills Detail oriented, clear communicator, tech savvy
Job Growth (2014-2024) 9% (for all occupational health and safety technicians)*
Average Salary (2015) $51,270 (for all occupational health and safety technicians)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Job Duties Can I Expect to Perform as a Safety Technician for the Chemical Industry?

You may work for a company that makes industrial chemicals or as a government safety inspector. You'll prevent dangerous situations and damage to the environment while maintaining safety standards, which follow laws and regulations set by the company and government. Your job duties may include inspecting machines, observing work practices, testing air quality and monitoring waste disposal. If you work for the government, you can also impose fines for safety violations.

Other job duties involve recording data, taking measurements, analyzing collected data and creating safety programs. Your work may help improve productivity, reduce pollution, increase profits or save money, in addition to making the company safer. Some of your time might be spent in the work area, watching employees work and monitoring the operation of machines. You can also work in an office where you'll write reports and analyze the data you've collected while in the work area.

What Education Will I Need?

To be a safety technician, you can either learn on the job or pursue an associate's degree, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov). Earning an Associate of Applied Science in Chemical Technology degree could prepare you for a safety technician position in the chemical industry. Such programs usually cover safety procedures, quantitative analysis and chemical handling, to name a few topics. You might also want to consider an Associate of Applied Science in Occupational Safety and Health degree. Regardless of which degree you earn, you'll probably go through on-the-job training, which teaches you about laws, regulations and safety standards. This hands-on training will cover industry-specific information, including the types of equipment and safety gear used.

Does This Job Require Me to Earn Certification?

Certification is voluntary, but it can help you demonstrate your skills and knowledge to potential employers. The Board of Certified Safety Professionals (BCSP) administers the Certified Safety Professional (CSP) designation (www.bcsp.org). To qualify for the CSP, you'll need postsecondary education and at least three years of professional experience. You'll then need to pass an examination that tests your knowledge and skills.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Safety technicians can find work in a wide range of industries, not just the chemical industry. For instance, you could find a job in the manufacturing industry, mining industry, healthcare industry or a different science-related industry. Alternatively, if you would rather work as a researcher in a chemistry lab, you could get a job as a chemical technician, in either an academic or industrial setting. Your job would be to maintain laboratory equipment and assist with basic chemical experiments. For this job, you would need to have completed an associate's degree program.

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