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Accidents can happen anywhere. If they are severe, they may cause major damage to valuable assets. With precautionary measures and necessary safety steps, the chances an accident happening are reduced to almost zero. A safety engineer can help with safety related matters. They find ways to prevent accidents at offices and other workplaces.

A safety engineer's work changes according to the industry in which he/she is hired. But normally, their list of responsibilities includes monitoring implementation regulations and safety policies by doing maintenance checks and daily inspections while working closely with department members to collect information, assess risks, take precautionary measures. Safety Engineers make sure the workplace environment is productive and safe for the employees.

Numerous industries and private organizations hire passionate candidates, paying $21.21 per hour on average. These posts require at least a bachelor's degree in occupational safety and health, but many professionals working in the field hold a master's degree.

What Does a Safety 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.

Learn more about what a Safety Engineer does

How To Become a Safety 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.


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.


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.

Safety Engineer Career Paths

Average Salary for a Safety Engineer

Safety Engineers in America make an average salary of $87,451 per year or $42 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $133,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $57,000 per year.
Average Safety Engineer Salary
$87,451 Yearly
$42.04 hourly
10 %
90 %

What Am I Worth?

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Safety Engineer Education

Safety Engineer Majors

Safety Engineer Degrees


71.6 %


14.4 %


9.3 %

Top Colleges for Safety Engineers

1. University of Connecticut

Storrs, CT • Private

In-State Tuition

2. San Diego State University

San Diego, CA • Private

In-State Tuition

3. Purdue University

West Lafayette, IN • Private

In-State Tuition

4. San Jose State University

San Jose, CA • Private

In-State Tuition

5. University of Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh, PA • Private

In-State Tuition

6. Worldwide Campus

Daytona Beach, FL • Private

In-State Tuition

7. Missouri University of Science and Technology

Rolla, MO • Private

In-State Tuition

8. Eastern Illinois University

Charleston, IL • Private

In-State Tuition

9. University of Minnesota - Duluth

Duluth, MN • Private

In-State Tuition

10. University of North Dakota

Grand Forks, ND • Private

In-State Tuition

Top Skills For a Safety Engineer

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 11.5% of safety engineers listed safety standards on their resume, but soft skills such as creativity and observational skills are important as well.

Choose From 10+ Customizable Safety Engineer Resume templates

Zippia allows you to choose from different easy-to-use Safety Engineer templates, and provides you with expert advice. Using the templates, you can rest assured that the structure and format of your Safety Engineer resume is top notch. Choose a template with the colors, fonts & text sizes that are appropriate for your industry.

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Safety Engineer Demographics

Safety Engineer Gender Distribution


After extensive research and analysis, Zippia's data science team found that:

  • Among safety engineers, 18.4% of them are women, while 81.6% are men.

  • The most common race/ethnicity among safety engineers is White, which makes up 71.1% of all safety engineers.

  • The most common foreign language among safety engineers is Spanish at 55.0%.

Online Courses For Safety Engineer That You May Like

Advertising Disclosure  The courses listed below are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the course, we may receive a commission.
OSHA Safety Training: Conducting Safety Meetings

A Brief Safety Management Course for Current and Aspiring Safety Professionals...

Fire Safety: Become A Fire Safety Expert

Become an expert in Fire Safety, Fire Hazards Control, Fire Evacuation Plans, and Fire Risk Assessment...

OSHA Safety Pro: Personal Protective Equipment

Impress management or get that job with you your ability to display life and dollar saving work place safety practices...

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Best States For a Safety Engineer

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a safety engineer. The best states for people in this position are West Virginia, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire. Safety engineers make the most in West Virginia with an average salary of $109,900. Whereas in Connecticut and Massachusetts, they would average $105,126 and $102,732, respectively. While safety engineers would only make an average of $100,332 in New Hampshire, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. District of Columbia

Total Safety Engineer Jobs:
Highest 10% Earn:
Location Quotient:
1.94 Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

2. Michigan

Total Safety Engineer Jobs:
Highest 10% Earn:
Location Quotient:
1.08 Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

3. Massachusetts

Total Safety Engineer Jobs:
Highest 10% Earn:
Location Quotient:
1.04 Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here
Full List Of Best States For Safety Engineers

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Top Safety Engineer Employers

Most Common Employers For Safety Engineer

Rank  Company  Average Salary  Hourly Rate  Job Openings  
2Exxon Mobil$125,028$60.1110
3Lockheed Martin$116,710$56.1140
6Westinghouse Appliances Australia$112,467$54.0717
7General Motors$106,927$51.4120
8Ford Motor$106,763$51.3366
10Turner Construction$98,715$47.4612

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