Safety engineers develop procedures and system designs that protect people from illness and injury and property from damage. They combine their engineering and health and safety knowledge to ensure that chemicals, machinery, software, furniture, and other products do not harm people or damage property. They maintain and apply their knowledge of current health and safety policies, regulations, and industrial processes and review plans and specifications of new machinery and equipment to ensure they meet safety standards.
Step number 1. Earn a bachelor’s degree.
To become a safety engineer, you must have a bachelor’s degree. You can earn a degree in a health and safety field, like environmental health, or in an engineering field. During your education, try to take courses that build the skills you can use as a safety engineer, like math, engineering, and public safety courses.
Step number 2. Obtain experience.
Employers prefer safety engineers to have practical experience, so consider an entry-level position as a safety engineer to gain experience in the field. Look for an entry-level safety engineer job that offers on-the-job training. Having a bachelor’s degree may help you stand out to employers, since you have background knowledge in the safety engineering field. While you’re working, observe experienced safety engineers see how they identify safety issues, solve problems, and design safety plans. You can then practice the skills that you learn from them in your own work as a safety engineer.
Step number 3. Build your network.
As a safety engineer, it’s important to establish connections with professionals in your field to help you find safety engineer opportunities or achieve career advancement. While working in your entry-level position, try reaching out to your colleagues in safety engineering. You may also join a professional safety engineering network to meet other professionals, like the American Society of Safety Professionals.
Step number 4. Consider certification.
Though many employers don’t require safety engineers to have certification, getting certified may grow your safety skills and knowledge of the safety engineering field. Certifications may also help you stand out from other candidates when seeking career advancement. Here are some safety certifications you may consider getting:
Certified Safety Professional (CSP):
The Board of Certified Safety Professionals offers this certification that provides information on the fundamentals of workplace safety.
Certified Safety and Health Manager:
The Institute of Hazardous Materials Management helps safety professionals grow their leadership skills in safety management.
Certified Industrial Hygienist (GIH):
The American Board of Industrial Hygiene offers this certification that helps safety professionals recognize health hazards within a workplace and identify solutions to keep employees safe from the hazards.
Step number 5. Create your resume.
Create a resume that outlines your skills and experience as a safety engineer. Having a solid resume may help you acquire a new job in safety engineering or achieve career advancement. Try to list specific duties that you’ve completed in safety engineering, and include the skills that help you complete your job. Be sure to update your resume regularly as you gain experience and certification.
6. Consider a master’s degree
Earning a master’s degree in occupational health and safety may help you advance in safety engineering by qualifying you to work as a member of management. It’s useful to research graduate programs that are a good fit for you. Most graduate programs allow professionals to work full-time while attending their classes part-time.
After you become a safety engineer, you should be able to identify and correct potential hazards by inspecting facilities, machinery, and safety equipment and evaluating various industrial control mechanisms’ effectiveness. You must ensure buildings or products comply with health and safety regulations, paying careful attention after conducting an inspection that requires changes. You direct and oversee the installation of safety devices on machinery, and review employee safety programs, recommending necessary improvements as needed.
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