Bookmark and Share

Job Outlook

The following information on job outlook for the occupational safety and health profession comes directly from The Bureau of Labor Statistics.

"Employment of occupational health and safety specialists and technicians is expected to increase 9 percent during the 2006-16 decade, about as fast as the average for all occupations, reflecting a balance of continuing public demand for a safe and healthy work environment against the desire for smaller government and fewer regulations. Emergency preparedness will continue to increase in importance, creating demand for these workers. More specialists will be needed to cope with technological advances in safety equipment and threats, changing regulations, and increasing public expectations. In private industry, employment growth will reflect overall business growth and continuing self-enforcement of government and company regulations and policies.

Over the past two decades, insurance and worker’s compensation costs have risen and have become a financial concern for many employers and insurance companies. As a result, job growth should be good for those specializing in loss prevention, especially in construction safety and in ergonomics."

Potential Salary

"Median annual earnings of occupational health and safety specialists and technicians were $54,920 in May 2006. The middle 50 percent earned between $41,800 and $70,230. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $32,230, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $83,720. Median annual earnings in the industries employing the largest numbers of occupational health and safety specialists and technicians in May 2006 were:

  • Federal Government $68,890
  • Management, scientific, and technical consulting services 63,130
  • General medical and surgical hospitals 59,200
  • Local government 52,110
  • State government 49,690

Most occupational health and safety specialists and technicians work in large private firms or for Federal, State, and local governments, most of which generally offer benefits more generous than those offered by smaller firms."

For more information about job outlook for the occupational safety and health profession, visit the BLS Occupational Outlook Handbook 2008 -2009 Edition.

Commentary from ASSE: The information from the BLS Occupational Outlook Handbook is good news for the safety profession. Job growth is in line with many other professions - industry, government, and the education sector will all continue to hire SH&E professionals.

As you can see from the information contained in the Occupational Outlook Handbook, there will be job opportunities for new SH&E professionals to enter the field as older professionals retire. However, the Occupational Outlook Handbook does not necessarily have the insider’s perspective on potential opportunities for new members of the profession. For decades, ASSE has expressed concern that a large number of individuals will begin to retire from the safety profession, leaving a gap in the SH&E workforce. This, in theory, is because many people started their careers in safety after the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970. The legislation brought an increasing amount of attention on workplace safety and many people seized the opportunity to enter a profession that was in high-demand by companies at the time. Now, almost 40 years later, many of the people that entered the profession around 1970 will, and have, started to retire. As these veteran safety professionals leave the field, it will create a demand for new SH&E professionals. While there is not necessarily research to support this commentary, anecdotally, members of ASSE have long expressed concern that the supply of SH&E professionals will not be able to keep with demand once veteran SH&E professionals start to retire in large numbers.