EHS Career Trends/Certification

Calling Future Safety Pros

Are you looking for a career in workplace safety? If you are not, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) is trying to persuade you to turn your career aspirations toward safety. Armed with numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the DOL is painting a compelling picture. Let’s take a look.

There is a concern in the safety field that a dearth of qualified employees is expected because many workers currently employed in the industry are approaching retirement and that fewer younger people are seeking degrees in areas that would lead them to jobs as safety professionals.

The DOL looked at a few safety jobs, their current median salaries, and prospects for job growth. Quick take: you can make a lot of money as a mining safety engineer, but by far the greatest number of openings are for construction and building inspectors.

Here’s a table with the rundown for future safety pros.


Job Median Annual Salary (as of May 2015) Prospects (job openings expected through 2024)
Construction and building inspectors $57,340 36,300
Occupational health and safety specialists $70,210 16,900
Health and safety engineers, except mining $84,600 9,000
Transportation inspectors $70,820 7,100
Occupational health and safety technicians $48,070 4,400
Fire inspectors and investigators $56,730 4,300
Agricultural inspectors $43,380 3,600
Nuclear technicians $80,260 2,800
Mining and geological engineers, including safety $94,040 2,700

A Few Notes

The BLS expects the demand for mining engineers to be driven by the demand for coal with low sulfur content and the fact that other countries may restrict exports of certain minerals known as “rare earths,” which are used in the manufacture of many high-tech products and military equipment. This could help encourage exploration and further development of mines in the United States that yield these minerals. However, with the Trump administration’s focus on fossil fuel development, the demand for mining engineers may outstrip the BLS projection of average growth for this industry.

According to the BLS, public interest in safety and the desire to improve the quality of construction are factors that may continue to create demand for inspectors. Employment growth for inspectors is expected to be strongest in government and in firms specializing in architectural, engineering, and related services. Certified construction and building inspectors who can perform a variety of inspections should have the best job opportunities. Inspectors with construction-related work experience or training in engineering, architecture, construction technology, or related fields are also likely to have better job prospects.