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Become A Safety Specialist

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Working As A Safety 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
  • $76,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Safety 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 A Safety 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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Safety Specialist Career Paths

Safety Specialist
Safety Manager Human Resources Manager Owner
Construction Superintendent
9 Yearsyrs
Safety Supervisor Supervisor Superintendent
General Superintendent
11 Yearsyrs
Safety Supervisor Safety Manager
HSE Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Safety Supervisor Supervisor Service Manager
Fleet Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Safety Manager Owner Maintenance Director
Director Of Plant Operations
13 Yearsyrs
Supervisor Store Manager Area Manager
Area Operations Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Manager Property Manager Compliance Manager
Compliance Director
12 Yearsyrs
Manager Service Manager Quality Assurance Manager
Regulatory Affairs Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Team Leader Unit Manager Claims Manager
Risk Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Team Leader Executive Team Leader
Loss Prevention Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Team Leader Executive Team Leader Loss Prevention Manager
Security Director
10 Yearsyrs
Consultant Lead Technician Field Supervisor
Field Operation Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Assistant Manager Front Desk Manager Housekeeping Manager
Manager Of Environmental Services
9 Yearsyrs
Consultant Project Leader Group Leader
Section Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Consultant Senior Associate Senior Auditor
Controls Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Health & Safety Officer Safety Consultant
Loss Control Consultant
10 Yearsyrs
Engineer Civil Engineer Environmental Engineer
Environmental Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Manager General Manager Food Service Director
Food Safety Director
8 Yearsyrs
Operations Manager Property Manager Compliance Manager
Regulatory Compliance Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Assistant Manager Account Manager Corporate Account Manager
Corporate Manager
7 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as a Safety Specialist?

Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Safety Manager 3.8 years
Safety Trainer 3.6 years
Safety Engineer 3.3 years
Safety Officer 3.3 years
EHS Specialist 3.2 years
Safety Supervisor 3.2 years
Safety Coordinator 3.2 years
Safety Specialist 3.0 years
Safety Inspector 3.0 years
Safety Advisor 2.7 years
Safety Consultant 2.6 years
Safety Technician 2.5 years
Safety Analyst 2.5 years
Top Careers Before Safety Specialist
Internship 9.3%
Associate 3.8%
Supervisor 3.7%
Manager 3.6%
Top Careers After Safety Specialist
Manager 3.2%
Specialist 2.8%
Associate 2.7%
Consultant 2.5%
Supervisor 2.3%

Do you work as a Safety Specialist?

Safety Specialist Demographics

Gender

Male

62.6%

Female

29.3%

Unknown

8.1%
Ethnicity

White

61.4%

Hispanic or Latino

15.7%

Black or African American

11.7%

Asian

7.3%

Unknown

3.9%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

67.2%

French

5.0%

Portuguese

3.9%

German

3.9%

Carrier

2.8%

Arabic

2.8%

Hindi

1.7%

Mandarin

1.7%

Russian

1.7%

Italian

1.7%

Chinese

1.7%

Vietnamese

1.1%

Persian

1.1%

Swedish

0.6%

Telugu

0.6%

Hmong

0.6%

Dutch

0.6%

Korean

0.6%

Akan

0.6%

Thai

0.6%
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Safety Specialist Education

Schools

Columbia Southern University

27.2%

University of Phoenix

9.5%

Murray State University

6.4%

Eastern Kentucky University

5.9%

Indiana University of Pennsylvania

4.8%

Arizona State University

4.8%

West Virginia University

4.5%

Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania

3.6%

University of Central Missouri

3.5%

Marshall University

3.2%

Keene State College

3.2%

Indiana State University

3.2%

Southeastern Oklahoma State University

3.1%

The Academy

2.9%

University of Houston

2.6%

Oklahoma State University

2.4%

Grand Canyon University

2.4%

University of Texas at Arlington

2.3%

University of North Carolina at Greensboro

2.3%

Community College of the Air Force

2.2%
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Majors

Business

17.4%

Occupational Safety And Health

15.5%

Public Health

9.6%

Management

8.2%

Nursing

7.4%

Criminal Justice

5.6%

Environmental Science

4.0%

Health Care Administration

3.8%

Biology

3.4%

Environmental Control Technologies/Technicians

3.1%

Fire Science And Protection

3.0%

Psychology

2.5%

Pharmacy

2.5%

Human Resources Management

2.3%

Education

2.2%

General Studies

2.1%

Industrial Technology

1.9%

Chemistry

1.9%

Communication

1.9%

Medical Technician

1.7%
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Degrees

Bachelors

39.6%

Masters

22.0%

Other

20.3%

Associate

10.2%

Certificate

4.7%

Doctorate

2.1%

Diploma

0.9%

License

0.2%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary
Average Yearly Salary
$76,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$53,000
Min 10%
$76,000
Median 50%
$76,000
Median 50%
$76,000
Median 50%
$76,000
Median 50%
$76,000
Median 50%
$76,000
Median 50%
$76,000
Median 50%
$109,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Texas Instruments
Highest Paying City
Richmond, CA
Highest Paying State
California
Avg Experience Level
3.1 years
How much does a Safety Specialist make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Safety Specialist in the United States is $76,806 per year or $37 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $53,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $109,000.

Real Safety Specialist Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Drug Safety Specialists Integrated Resources, Inc. Foster City, CA Nov 16, 2015 $135,655
Drug Safety Specialists Integrated Resources, Inc. Brisbane, CA Jan 16, 2015 $131,481
Drug Safety Specialist Populus Group LLC Foster City, CA Apr 25, 2016 $127,307
Drug Safety Specialist The Veritas Healthcare Solutions LLC Foster City, CA Apr 01, 2015 $114,785
Lead Process Safety Specialist National Grid USA Service Company, Inc. Waltham, MA Mar 30, 2015 $105,000
Drug Safety Specialist The Veritas Healthcare Solutions LLC Berkeley Heights, NJ Oct 11, 2015 $100,176
Clinical Safety Specialist Inventiv Health Clinical SRE, LLC Montville, NJ Aug 11, 2015 $99,133
Drug Safety Specialist Patel Consultants Corporation Berkeley Heights, NJ Jul 06, 2015 $95,000
Safety Specialist, Community Operations Facebook, Inc. Menlo Park, CA Jul 04, 2016 $95,000 -
$123,594
Clinical Safety Specialist, Global Patient Safety Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated Boston, MA May 14, 2015 $94,000 -
$104,000
Drug Safety Specialist Corrona, LLC Southborough, MA Mar 13, 2015 $89,000
Drug Safety Specialist Parexel International Billerica, MA Oct 17, 2016 $86,500
Drug Safety Specialist Klinexa Inc. Marlborough, MA Oct 29, 2016 $75,132
Drug Safety Specialist Vsoft Infoware, Inc. Princeton, NJ Aug 19, 2015 $75,000
Drug Safety Specialist Vsoft Infoware, Inc. Princeton, NJ Sep 01, 2015 $75,000
Drug Safety Specialist Vsoft Infoware, Inc. Princeton, NJ Sep 18, 2015 $75,000
Drug Safety Specialist Vsoft Infoware, Inc. Princeton, NJ Aug 25, 2016 $75,000
Drug Safety Specialist Vsoft Infoware, Inc. Princeton, NJ Sep 06, 2015 $75,000
Drug Safety Specialist United Pharma Technologies Inc. Summit, NJ Jan 09, 2016 $72,000
PBS Coordinator/Safety Specialist Bechtel Oil, Gas & Chemicals, Inc. Baytown, TX Sep 07, 2015 $71,743 -
$77,868
Safety Specialist, Community Operations Facebook, Inc. Menlo Park, CA Aug 22, 2016 $64,480
Safety Specialist, Community Operations Facebook, Inc. Menlo Park, CA Aug 05, 2015 $64,480
Safety Specialist United Pharma Technologies Inc. Edison, NJ Jan 09, 2016 $60,000
Drug Safety Specialist/Pharmacovigilance Global Pharmatek, LLC Richmond, VA Jan 15, 2015 $60,000
Patient Safety Specialist NIC Info TEK Inc. Gaithersburg, MD Apr 09, 2015 $60,000
Health & Safety Specialist KVL International Enterprises, Inc. Alhambra, CA Sep 25, 2015 $58,614
Safety Specialist Techdata Service Company, LLC. Morrisville, NC Sep 09, 2016 $58,000

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Top Skills for A Safety Specialist

  1. Safety Procedures
  2. Osha
  3. Safety Programs
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Observed all Safety Tailgate training programs highlighting specific job tasks and important safety procedures.
  • Defined Construction Safety Processes with written operational procedures required by company standards, NASA and OSHA requirements.
  • Gathered, analyzed and presented data about ongoing safety programs to senior management including Lab Compliance Inspection results and Waste Disposal.
  • Assisted in the development and revision of department-specific SOP's/guidelines and work instructions to ensure compliance with U.S. and international/ global regulations.
  • Responded to over 25 emergency situations and investigated over 45 occupational and non-occupational incidents; minimizing incidents by 20%.

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Top 10 Best States for Safety Specialists

  1. Alaska
  2. North Dakota
  3. Rhode Island
  4. Texas
  5. California
  6. Massachusetts
  7. Utah
  8. Connecticut
  9. District of Columbia
  10. Nevada
  • (19 jobs)
  • (23 jobs)
  • (16 jobs)
  • (376 jobs)
  • (580 jobs)
  • (126 jobs)
  • (46 jobs)
  • (51 jobs)
  • (35 jobs)
  • (37 jobs)

Top Safety Specialist Employers

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