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Become An EHS Specialist

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Working As An EHS Specialist

  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards
  • Getting Information
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Training and Teaching Others
  • $85,000

    Average Salary

What Does An EHS Specialist Do

Occupational health and safety specialists analyze many types of work environments and work procedures. Specialists inspect workplaces for adherence to regulations on safety, health, and the environment. They also design programs to prevent disease or injury to workers and damage to the environment.

Duties

Occupational health and safety specialists typically do the following:

  • Identify hazards in the workplace
  • Collect samples of potentially toxic materials for analysis
  • Inspect and evaluate workplace environments, equipment, and practices for compliance with corporate and government health and safety standards and regulations
  • Design and implement workplace processes and procedures that help protect workers from hazardous work conditions
  • Investigate accidents and incidents to identify their causes and to determine how they might be prevented
  • Conduct training on a variety of topics, such as emergency preparedness

Occupational health and safety specialists examine the workplace for environmental or physical factors that could affect employee health, safety, comfort, and performance. They may examine factors such as lighting, equipment, materials, and ventilation. Specialists seek to increase worker productivity by reducing absenteeism and equipment downtime. They also seek to save money by lowering insurance premiums and workers’ compensation payments and by preventing government fines.

Some specialists develop and conduct employee safety and training programs. These programs cover a range of topics, such as how to use safety equipment correctly and how to respond in an emergency.

In addition to protecting workers, specialists work to prevent harm to property, the environment, and the public by inspecting workplaces for chemical, physical, radiological, and biological hazards. Specialists who work for governments conduct safety inspections and can impose fines.

Occupational health and safety specialists work with engineers and physicians to control or fix hazardous conditions or equipment. They also work closely with occupational health and safety technicians to collect and analyze data in the workplace. 

The tasks of occupational health and safety specialists vary by industry, workplace, and types of hazards affecting employees. The following are examples of types of occupational health and safety specialists:

Ergonomists consider the design of industrial, office, and other equipment to maximize workers’ comfort, safety, and productivity.

Industrial or occupational hygienists identify workplace health hazards, such as lead, asbestos, noise, pesticides, and communicable diseases.

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How To Become An EHS Specialist

Occupational health and safety specialists typically need a bachelor’s degree in occupational health and safety or in a related scientific or technical field.

Education

Occupational health and safety specialists typically need a bachelor’s degree in occupational health and safety or in a related scientific or technical field, such as engineering, biology, or chemistry. For some positions, a master’s degree in industrial hygiene, health physics, or a related subject is required.

Typical courses include radiation science, hazardous material management and control, risk communications, and respiratory protection. These courses may vary with the specialty in which a student wants to work. For example, courses in health physics focus on topics that differ from those in industrial hygiene.

High school students interested in becoming occupational health and safety specialists should take courses in English, math, chemistry, biology, and physics.

Important Qualities

Ability to use technology. Occupational health and safety specialists must be able to use advanced technology. They often work with complex testing equipment.

Communication skills. Occupational health and safety specialists must be able to communicate safety instructions and concerns to employees and managers. They need to be able to work with technicians to collect and test samples of possible hazards, such as dust or vapors, in the workplace.

Detail oriented. Occupational health and safety specialists need to understand and follow safety standards and complex government regulations.

Physical stamina. Occupational health and safety specialists must be able to stand for long periods and be able to travel regularly. Some specialists work in environments that can be uncomfortable, such as tunnels or mines.

Problem-solving skills. Occupational health and safety specialists must be able to solve problems in order to design and implement workplace processes and procedures that help protect workers from hazardous work conditions.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Although certification is voluntary, many employers encourage it. Certification is available through several organizations, depending on the field in which the specialists work. Specialists must have graduated from an accredited educational program and have work experience to be eligible to take most certification exams. To keep their certification, specialists usually are required to complete periodic continuing education.

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EHS Specialist Career Paths

EHS Specialist
Safety Manager Human Resources Manager Project Manager
Division Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Safety Manager Human Resources Manager
Human Resource Officer
6 Yearsyrs
Safety Manager Human Resources Manager Senior Manager
Senior Operations Manager
9 Yearsyrs
EHS Manager Safety Director Director Of Human Resources
Global Director
14 Yearsyrs
EHS Manager Director Operations Director
Compliance Director
12 Yearsyrs
EHS Manager
HSE Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Environmental Health Safety Manager Manager, Security And Safety Security Manager
Security Director
10 Yearsyrs
Environmental Health Safety Manager Health And Safety Manager
Environmental Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Environmental Health Safety Manager Owner Maintenance Director
Director Of Plant Operations
13 Yearsyrs
Safety Supervisor Supervisor Area Manager
Area Operations Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Safety Supervisor Supervisor Quality Assurance Manager
Regulatory Affairs Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Safety Supervisor Supervisor Field Supervisor
Field Operation Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Project Manager General Manager Food Service Director
Food Safety Director
8 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Quality Manager Compliance Manager
Regulatory Compliance Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Safety Consultant Loss Control Consultant Loss Control Manager
Loss Prevention Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Safety Consultant Team Leader Group Leader
Section Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Safety Consultant Risk Management Consultant
Loss Control Consultant
10 Yearsyrs
Consultant Account Manager Corporate Account Manager
Corporate Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Manager Food And Beverage Manager Housekeeping Manager
Manager Of Environmental Services
9 Yearsyrs
Site Safety Manager Project Safety Manager Health And Safety Manager
Global Manager
10 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as an EHS Specialist?

Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
EHS Manager 4.2 years
Safety Officer 3.3 years
Safety Engineer 3.3 years
EHS Coordinator 3.2 years
Safety Specialist 3.1 years
EHS Specialist 3.0 years
Safety Advisor 2.7 years
Top Careers Before EHS Specialist
Internship 8.3%
Specialist 4.1%
Technician 3.6%
Consultant 3.5%
Top Careers After EHS Specialist
EHS Manager 19.0%
Specialist 4.5%
Manager 4.2%
Supervisor 4.0%
Consultant 4.0%
Engineer 3.8%
Director 2.8%

Do you work as an EHS Specialist?

Average Yearly Salary
$85,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$56,000
Min 10%
$85,000
Median 50%
$85,000
Median 50%
$85,000
Median 50%
$85,000
Median 50%
$85,000
Median 50%
$85,000
Median 50%
$85,000
Median 50%
$128,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Berry Global
Highest Paying City
Newark, CA
Highest Paying State
Hawaii
Avg Experience Level
3.2 years
How much does an EHS Specialist make at top companies?
The national average salary for an EHS Specialist in the United States is $85,443 per year or $41 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $56,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $128,000.

How Would You Rate The Salary Of an EHS Specialist?

Have you worked as an EHS Specialist? Help other job seekers by rating your experience as an EHS Specialist.

Top Skills for An EHS Specialist

  1. Safety Procedures
  2. Ensure Compliance
  3. Osha
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Authored safety procedures and self-risk assessments to support shop operations and identify tasks specific risks.
  • Performed facility inspections to ensure compliance with safety regulations and laws.
  • Developed OSHA written plans and requisite training and documentation programs in a warehouse / manufacturing operation.
  • Managed and facilitated Gulf Region and Corporate Office Emergency Response and Business Continuity Plans.
  • Facilitated implementation of behavior-based-safety program.

Rank:

Average Salary:

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Top 10 Best States for EHS Specialists

  1. Rhode Island
  2. Alaska
  3. North Dakota
  4. West Virginia
  5. Massachusetts
  6. Minnesota
  7. Ohio
  8. District of Columbia
  9. Wyoming
  10. Tennessee
  • (39 jobs)
  • (25 jobs)
  • (36 jobs)
  • (51 jobs)
  • (340 jobs)
  • (298 jobs)
  • (526 jobs)
  • (84 jobs)
  • (17 jobs)
  • (188 jobs)

EHS Specialist Demographics

Gender

Male

65.3%

Female

26.8%

Unknown

7.9%
Ethnicity

White

62.4%

Hispanic or Latino

15.9%

Black or African American

11.4%

Asian

6.9%

Unknown

3.3%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

69.2%

Chinese

7.7%

Yoruba

3.8%

Japanese

3.8%

French

3.8%

Mandarin

3.8%

Hindi

3.8%

Urdu

3.8%
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EHS Specialist Education

Schools

Columbia Southern University

30.1%

Eastern Kentucky University

8.2%

Keene State College

5.6%

Murray State University

5.1%

Rochester Institute of Technology

4.6%

Texas A&M University

4.1%

Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania

3.6%

University of Findlay

3.6%

West Virginia University

3.6%

University of Phoenix

3.6%

University of Central Missouri

3.1%

San Jose State University

3.1%

University of Central Oklahoma

3.1%

Indiana University of Pennsylvania

3.1%

Indiana State University

3.1%

University of Illinois at Chicago

2.6%

University of North Carolina at Greensboro

2.6%

University of Cincinnati

2.6%

The Academy

2.6%

Illinois State University

2.6%
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Majors

Occupational Safety And Health

15.6%

Public Health

13.5%

Business

13.1%

Environmental Science

12.4%

Environmental Control Technologies/Technicians

8.2%

Biology

6.7%

Chemistry

3.9%

Management

3.7%

Industrial Technology

2.8%

Environmental Engineering

2.5%

Nursing

2.3%

Engineering

2.3%

Chemical Engineering

2.1%

Industrial Engineering

1.8%

Health Care Administration

1.8%

Engineering And Industrial Management

1.8%

General Studies

1.6%

Education

1.4%

Civil Engineering

1.4%

Human Resources Management

1.4%
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Degrees

Bachelors

45.4%

Masters

28.5%

Other

12.8%

Associate

8.2%

Certificate

4.0%

Doctorate

0.6%

Diploma

0.4%
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Top EHS Specialist Employers

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EHS Specialist Videos

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A Day in the Life of EHS // October 2014

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