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Become An Environmental, Safety, & Health Engineer

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Working As An Environmental, Safety, & Health Engineer

  • Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards
  • Getting Information
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • $85,000

    Average Salary

What Does An Environmental, Safety, & Health Engineer Do

Health and safety engineers develop procedures and design systems to prevent people from getting sick or injured and to keep property from being damaged. They combine knowledge of systems engineering and of health or safety to make sure that chemicals, machinery, software, furniture, and other consumer products will not cause harm to people or damage to buildings.

Duties

Health and safety engineers typically do the following:

  • Review plans and specifications for new machinery and equipment to make sure they meet safety requirements
  • Identify and correct potential hazards by inspecting facilities, machinery, and safety equipment
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of various industrial control mechanisms
  • Ensure that buildings or products comply with health and safety regulations, especially after an inspection that required changes
  • Install safety devices on machinery or direct the installation of these devices
  • Review employee safety programs and recommend improvements
  • Maintain and apply knowledge of current policies, regulations, and industrial processes

Health and safety engineers also investigate industrial accidents, injuries, or occupational diseases to determine their causes and to determine whether the incidents could have been or can be prevented in the future. They interview employers and employees to learn about work environments and incidents that lead to accidents or injuries. They also evaluate the corrections that were made to remedy violations found during health inspections.

Health and safety engineers are also active in two related fields: industrial hygiene and occupational hygiene. In industrial hygiene, they focus on the effects of chemical, physical, and biological agents. They recognize, evaluate, and control these agents to keep people from becoming sick or injured. For example, they might anticipate that a particular manufacturing process will give off a potentially harmful chemical and recommend either a change to the process or a way to contain and control the chemical.

In occupational hygiene, health and safety engineers investigate the environment in which people work, and then use science and engineering to recommend changes to keep workers from being exposed to sickness or injuries. They help employers and employees understand risks, and improve working conditions and practices. For example, they might observe that the noise level in a factory is likely to cause harm to workers’ hearing and recommend ways to reduce the noise level through changes to the building or reducing exposure time, or by having workers wear proper hearing protection.

Health and safety engineering is a broad field covering many activities. The following are examples of types of health and safety engineers:

Aerospace safety engineers work on missiles, radars, and satellites to make sure that they function safely as designed.

Fire prevention and protection engineers design fire prevention systems for all kinds of buildings. They often work for architects during the design phase of new buildings or renovations. They must be licensed and must keep up with changes in fire codes and regulations.

Product safety engineers investigate the causes of accidents or injuries that might have resulted from the use or misuse of a product. They create solutions that reduce or eliminate safety issues associated with products. They also help design new products to prevent injuries, illnesses, or property damage.

Systems safety engineers work in many fields, including aerospace, and are moving into new fields, such as software safety, medical safety, and environmental safety. These engineers take a systemic approach to identify hazards so that accidents and injuries can be avoided.

For information on health and safety engineers who work in mines, see the profile on mining and geological engineers.

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How To Become An Environmental, Safety, & Health Engineer

Health and safety engineers must have a bachelor’s degree, typically in an engineering discipline such as electrical, chemical, mechanical, industrial, or systems engineering. Another acceptable field of study is occupational or industrial hygiene. Employers value practical experience, so cooperative-education engineering programs at universities are valuable as well.

Education

High school students interested in becoming health and safety engineers will benefit from taking high school courses in math and science, such as algebra, trigonometry, calculus, biology, chemistry, and physics.

Entry-level jobs as a health and safety engineer require a bachelor’s degree. Bachelor’s degree programs typically are 4-year programs and include classroom, laboratory, and field studies in applied engineering. Students interested in becoming a health and safety engineer should seek out coursework in occupational safety and health, industrial hygiene, ergonomics, or environmental safety. In addition, programs in mechanical, electrical, and industrial engineering, programs in systems engineering and fire protection engineering constitute good preparation for this occupation. ABET accredits programs in engineering.

Students interested in entering the relatively new field of software safety engineering may pursue a degree in computer science.

Many colleges and universities offer cooperative-education programs, which allow students to gain practical experience while completing their education.

A few colleges and universities offer 5-year accelerated programs through which students graduate with both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree. A master’s degree allows engineers to enter the occupation at a higher level, where they can develop and implement safety systems.

Important Qualities

Creativity. Health and safety engineers produce designs showing potential problems and remedies for them. They must be creative to deal with situations unique to a project.

Critical-thinking skills. Health and safety engineers must be able to identify hazards to humans and property in the workplace or in the home before they cause material damage or become a health threat.

Observational skills. Health and safety engineers must observe and learn how operations function so that they can identify risks to people and property. This requires the ability to think in terms of overall processes within an organization. Health and safety engineers can then recommend systemic changes to minimize risks.

Problem-solving skills. In designing solutions for entire organizational operations, health and safety engineers must take into account processes from more than one system at the same time. In addition, they must try to anticipate a range of human reactions to the changes they recommend.

Reading skills. Health and safety engineers must be able to interpret federal and state regulations and their intent so that they can propose proper designs for specific work environments.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Licensure is not required for entry-level positions as a health and safety engineer. A Professional Engineering (PE) license, which allows for higher levels of leadership and independence, can be acquired later in one’s career. Licensed engineers are called professional engineers (PEs). A PE can oversee the work of other engineers, sign off on projects, and provide services directly to the public. State licensure generally requires

  • A degree from an ABET-accredited engineering program
  • A passing score on the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam
  • Relevant work experience, typically at least 4 years
  • A passing score on the Professional Engineering (PE) exam

The initial FE exam can be taken after one earns a bachelor’s degree. Engineers who pass this exam are commonly called engineers in training (EITs) or engineer interns (EIs). After meeting work experience requirements, EITs and EIs can take the second exam, called the Principles and Practice of Engineering.

Only a few states require health and safety engineers to be licensed. Licensure is generally advised for those opting for a career in systems safety engineering. States requiring licensure usually require continuing education for engineers in order to keep their license. Most states recognize licensure from other states, if the licensing state’s requirements meet or exceed their own licensure requirements.

Health and safety engineers typically have professional certification. Certifications include the following:

  • The Board of Certified Safety Professionals offers the Certified Safety Professional (CSP) certification, the Occupational Health and Safety Technologist (OHST), and a new certification called the Associate Safety Professional (ASP)
  • The American Board of Industrial Hygiene awards a certification known as a Certified Industrial Hygienist (CIH)
  • The American Society of Safety Engineers offers a Certificate in Safety Management (CSM)
  • The International Council on Systems Engineering offers a program leading to a designation as a Certified Systems Engineering Professional (CSEP)

Certification is generally needed to advance into management positions.

Advancement

New health and safety engineers usually work under the supervision of experienced engineers. To move to more difficult projects with greater independence, a graduate degree is generally required, such as a master’s degree in engineering or a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree.

An advanced degree allows an engineer to develop and implement safety programs. Certification as a safety professional or as an industrial hygienist is generally required for entry into management positions. For more information, see the profile on architectural and engineering managers.

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Environmental, Safety, & Health Engineer Career Paths

Environmental, Safety, & Health Engineer
Environmental Health Safety Manager Safety Director Vice President
Compliance Vice President
12 Yearsyrs
Environmental Health Safety Manager Safety Director Director Of Human Resources
Corporate Director, Human Resources
12 Yearsyrs
Environmental Health Safety Manager Human Resources Manager
Senior Human Resources Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Health And Safety Manager EHS Manager
HSE Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Health And Safety Manager Human Resources Manager Project Manager
Director Of Construction
13 Yearsyrs
Health And Safety Manager Human Resources Manager Plant Manager
Director Of Plant Operations
13 Yearsyrs
Safety Manager Loss Prevention Manager
Director-Loss Prevention
9 Yearsyrs
Safety Manager Site Manager Quality Manager
Quality Systems Manager
12 Yearsyrs
Safety Manager Loss Prevention Manager Director-Loss Prevention
Security Director
10 Yearsyrs
Manager, Environmental And Safety Operations Manager Service Director
Systems Director
11 Yearsyrs
Senior Environmental Engineer Senior Project Engineer Senior Process Engineer
Process Engineering Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Senior Environmental Engineer Senior Project Engineer Quality Assurance Manager
Regulatory Affairs Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Senior Safety Engineer Safety Supervisor Compliance Manager
Regulatory Compliance Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Senior Safety Engineer Safety Supervisor Environmental Supervisor
Environmental Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Senior Environmental Engineer Environmental Manager
Manager Of Environmental Services
9 Yearsyrs
Manager, Environmental And Safety General Manager Food Service Director
Food Safety Director
8 Yearsyrs
EHS Manager Security Manager Loss Prevention Supervisor
Loss Control Manager
6 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as an Environmental, Safety, & Health Engineer?

Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Safety Engineer 3.3 years
EHS Specialist 3.2 years
EHS Coordinator 3.2 years
Top Careers Before Environmental, Safety, & Health Engineer
Internship 7.3%
Top Careers After Environmental, Safety, & Health Engineer
Manager 3.2%
Engineer 2.7%

Do you work as an Environmental, Safety, & Health Engineer?

Environmental, Safety, & Health Engineer Demographics

Gender

Male

64.5%

Female

26.5%

Unknown

9.0%
Ethnicity

White

64.0%

Hispanic or Latino

13.4%

Black or African American

11.3%

Asian

7.0%

Unknown

4.2%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

65.4%

French

7.7%

Arabic

7.7%

Portuguese

3.8%

Zulu

3.8%

Ukrainian

3.8%

Carrier

3.8%

Russian

3.8%
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Environmental, Safety, & Health Engineer Education

Schools

Columbia Southern University

17.8%

University of Phoenix

6.7%

Keene State College

6.7%

Indiana University of Pennsylvania

6.7%

Purdue University

6.7%

Webster University

5.2%

Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania

5.2%

Rochester Institute of Technology

4.4%

University of Findlay

4.4%

Murray State University

4.4%

University of Louisville

3.7%

Indiana State University

3.7%

Eastern Kentucky University

3.7%

University of Alabama

3.0%

California State University - Los Angeles

3.0%

Jacksonville State University

3.0%

University of Michigan - Ann Arbor

3.0%

University of Central Missouri

3.0%

Oklahoma State University

3.0%

Tufts University

3.0%
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Majors

Environmental Science

12.8%

Business

11.0%

Public Health

10.8%

Occupational Safety And Health

9.5%

Chemical Engineering

7.7%

Environmental Control Technologies/Technicians

6.9%

Management

6.4%

Environmental Engineering

4.9%

Biology

3.6%

Mechanical Engineering

3.6%

Chemistry

3.3%

Engineering And Industrial Management

3.1%

Engineering

3.1%

Industrial Engineering

2.6%

Industrial Technology

2.1%

Nursing

1.8%

Health Sciences And Services

1.8%

Health Care Administration

1.8%

Human Resources Management

1.8%

Criminal Justice

1.5%
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Degrees

Bachelors

48.3%

Masters

33.6%

Other

9.0%

Associate

3.7%

Certificate

2.9%

Doctorate

1.8%

Diploma

0.7%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary
Average Yearly Salary
$85,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$58,000
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%
$125,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Integrated Device Technology
Highest Paying City
San Jose, CA
Highest Paying State
California
Avg Experience Level
2.9 years
How much does an Environmental, Safety, & Health Engineer make at top companies?
The national average salary for an Environmental, Safety, & Health Engineer in the United States is $85,586 per year or $41 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $58,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $125,000.

Real Environmental, Safety, & Health Engineer Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Environmental Health & Safety Engineer Bayer Materialscience LLC Pittsburgh, PA Apr 12, 2015 $124,238
Environmental Health & Safety Engineer Bayer Materialscience, LLC Pittsburgh, PA Jan 10, 2014 $95,000
Global Environmental Health & Safety Engineer The Lincoln Electric Company Cleveland, OH Aug 18, 2016 $85,904 -
$94,100
Global Environmental Health & Safety Engineer The Lincoln Electric Company Cleveland, OH Jul 06, 2016 $85,904 -
$94,100
Health, Safety, and Environmental Engineering Spec Pioneer Drilling Services, Ltd. San Antonio, TX Apr 01, 2010 $85,000
Health, Safety, and Environmental Engineering Spec Pioneer Drilling Services, Ltd. San Antonio, TX Apr 05, 2010 $85,000
Environmental Health & Safety Engineer Essilor of America, Inc. Dallas, TX Oct 19, 2011 $80,000
Environmental Health & Safety Engineer Essilor of America, Inc. Dallas, TX May 04, 2012 $80,000
Environmental Health and Safety Engineer Integrated Device Technology, Inc. San Jose, CA Sep 05, 2014 $79,794
Environmental Health and Safety Engineer Integrated Device Technology, Inc. San Jose, CA Sep 13, 2014 $79,794
Environmental Health & Safety Engineer Oncall Healthcare, Inc. Dallas, TX Mar 01, 2012 $79,664
Environmental Health & Safety Engineer Onacll Healthcare, Inc. Dallas, TX Oct 01, 2012 $79,664
Environmental Health & Safety Engineer William J. Rand Md, P.A. Pompano Beach, FL Mar 19, 2012 $77,000
Environmental Health and Safety Engineer Western Digital Fremont, LLC Fremont, CA May 29, 2012 $75,731 -
$102,460
Environmental Health & Safety Engineer Western Digital Fremont Phoenix, AZ May 30, 2011 $72,176 -
$99,321
Environmental Health and Safety Engineer Florida Flight Maintenance, Inc. Venice, FL Feb 18, 2016 $68,099
Environmental, Health and Safety Engineer Actavis Elizabeth LLC Elizabeth, NJ Dec 14, 2012 $63,178
Engineer, Health and Safety Challenger Transportation Inc. Gaithersburg, MD Sep 22, 2010 $62,610 -
$32
Engineer, Health and Safety Challenger Transportation Inc. Gaithersburg, MD Sep 30, 2010 $62,610 -
$32

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Top Skills for An Environmental, Safety, & Health Engineer

  1. Ensure Compliance
  2. Osha
  3. Facility
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Provide technical support to corporate and plant personnel to ensure compliance with applicable occupational safety and health regulations.
  • Provided management & technical support to NASA and contractor facilities; includes development of OSHA and flight safety hazard analyses.
  • Managed all phases of environmental, finishing and facility projects in this 400,000 sq/ft automated metal manufacturing facility.
  • Advised and recommended to management, solution requirements and procedures to comply with appropriate laws and regulations.
  • Conducted EHS presentations including employee training and updating management on program status.

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Top 10 Best States for Environmental, Safety, & Health Engineers

  1. District of Columbia
  2. Delaware
  3. Wyoming
  4. New Mexico
  5. California
  6. Alabama
  7. Pennsylvania
  8. Idaho
  9. Washington
  10. Texas
  • (170 jobs)
  • (55 jobs)
  • (30 jobs)
  • (87 jobs)
  • (2,339 jobs)
  • (174 jobs)
  • (531 jobs)
  • (58 jobs)
  • (551 jobs)
  • (1,007 jobs)

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