Industrial hygienists and occupational health professionals are making an average annual salary of $110,807, the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) found in a survey of its members. The average salary for new, uncertified safety professionals right out of college or university is $59,714, AIHA reported.
AIHA September 9 released its 2019 Salary and Compensation Study, a national survey of salaries, benefits, and other compensation structures along with demographics of the industrial hygiene and occupational health field.
Finding revealed by the study included:
- A credentialed industrial hygiene or occupational health (IH/OH) professional earns on average of $33,000 to 43,000 more annually than those with other certifications or none at all;
- Industrial hygiene and occupational health may be growing science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields with average starting salaries on par with chemical or software engineers; and
- Corporations employing IH/OH professionals offer robust 401(k) contribution-matching programs and generous benefits packages.
Variations by Geography
While the average base salary for all respondents was $110,807, the average for those in the United States was $113,641. Canadian respondents had an average salary of $88,930. Average salaries varied slightly among regions of the United States:
- The average in the Pacific region (AK, CA, HI, OR, WA) was the highest, $122,037;
- The average in the West North Central region (IA, KS, MN, MO, NE, ND, SD) was the lowest, $103,757;
- The average in the East North Central region (IL, IN, MI, OH, WI) was $109,835;
- In the East South Central region (AL, KY, MS, TN), the average was $111,947;
- In the Middle Atlantic region (NJ, NY, PA), the average was $112,458;
- In the Mountain region (AZ, CO, ID, MT, NV, NM, UT, WY), the average was $110,060;
- In New England (CT, ME, MA, NH, RI, VT), the average was $116,241;
- The average in the South Atlantic (DE, DC, FL, GA, MD, NC, PR, SC, VA, WV) was $114,128;
- In the West South Central (AR, LA, OK, TX), the average was $116,110.
The certifications that a professional holds can have a significant impact on salary. Certified Industrial Hygienists (CIH) reported higher average base salaries than those with other certifications or no certifications. Holders of the CIH certification in the United States reported an average base salary of $125,437. Those with other certifications (such as Certified Hazardous Materials Manager (CHMM) or Certified Safety Professional (CSP)) had an average salary of $96,992 and those with no certification had an average salary of $85,839.
The survey was conducted in early 2019 and had a response rate over a 21%. Of the nearly 11,000 individuals contacted about the survey, 2,347 responded, anonymously providing salary and benefits data on their positions.
In addition to the 1,980 IH/OH professionals in the United States who participated in the survey, 183 in Canada and 79 outside the U.S. and Canada responded. Participants ranged in age from 21 to 93. Those between 56 and 65 years old were the largest single age group represented in the study—27%. Young professionals—those 35 years or younger—made up 20% of all respondents.
AIHA members tend to be highly educated. Among the survey respondents, 59% held Master’s degrees and 8% held Doctoral degrees. 30% of respondents held Bachelor’s degrees. Base salaries generally increased with higher education levels—respondents with Doctorates reported the highest average base salary, followed by respondents with Master’s degrees.