bachelor’s degree in environmental health and safety

Last Updated on August 29, 2023

Environmental health and safety, or EHS, managers are also known as occupational health and safety officers, corporate safety specialists, environmental protection officers or safety consultants. The health and safety manager’s role is to prevent and eliminate injury and illness to employees and assist companies to comply with safety laws. They inspect workplaces, and minimize or eliminate hazards from processes, such as incorrect working methods, and materials, such as potentially toxic chemicals.

EHS Officer Job Description

Environmental health and safety managers inspect and evaluate the environment, equipment and processes in working areas to ensure compliance with government safety regulations and industry standards. Their chief goal is to protect the employees, customers and the environment. They identify potentially hazardous biological, chemical and radiological materials and collect samples of them for analysis.

Other important EHS manager responsibilities include recommending equipment upgrades or changes in the facility to protect workers. They educate employees on how to prevent health problems through the use of safety training programs. They also investigate accidents to identify their causes and find ways to prevent them in the future.

EHS Manager Qualifications

Training for the career can begin in high school with classes in biology, chemistry, physics, English and math. It then continues into college with a bachelor’s degree in occupational health, safety, or a related scientific field, such as biology, chemistry or engineering. Some employers or high-level positions require a master’s degree in health physics, industrial hygiene or a related subject. According to the Occupational Information Network, or ONET, 73 percent of occupational health and safety specialists have a bachelor’s degree and 18 percent possess a master’s.

Because each industry, company or agency is different, specialists also need on-the-job training after their formal educations. For example, someone working in an office environment deals with different conditions than someone who handles heavy industrial conditions. Training is ongoing to stay abreast of changes in safety regulations.

EHS Manager Salaries

As of May 2020, environmental health and safety managers earned a mean ​$78,110​ per year, or ​$37.55​ per hour, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The lowest earning 10 percent made less than ​$44,710​ annually, or ​$21.49​ hourly, while the highest paid 10 percent made over ​$112,850​ a year, or ​$54.25​ per hour.

The industry with the most workers was management, scientific and technical consulting services, which employed 7,450 of the total 95,960 and paid a mean salary of ​$77,760​ per year, or ​$37.38​ per hour. The federal government was next with 7,130 jobs averaging an annual ​$88,380​, or ​$42.49​ per hour, followed by local government, with 6,730 positions earning a mean ​$69,130​ yearly, or ​$33.23​ per hour. The highest paying employers were in the scientific research and development sector with averages of ​$97,490​ per year, or ​$46.87​ per hour.

Job Growth Trend

The BLS expects that jobs for environmental health and safety specialists will increase about 4 percent between 2019 and 2029, which is comparable to the projected growth of all occupations. Increases will come from new environmental regulations that demand the inspection and remediation of hazards in the workplace. The increasing use of nuclear power may provide opportunities for the profession. In addition, an aging population is remaining in the workforce longer and may have more workers’ compensation claims and take more sick leave. Safety managers can deal with theses issues by preventing the illnesses and injuries in the first place.

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