November 2015

Welcome to our ranking of the top 20 best value occupational safety degree programs. These occupational safety programs carry many different titles, each reflecting its own perspective on the broad field of occupational safety. Occupational safety is an interdisciplinary STEM profession. In the discipline of occupational safety, the sciences of biology, chemistry, and physics are combined with the utility of engineering and technology as a way to diminish the likelihood of accidents. Occupational safety professionals are needed by many companies across all industries, and by the regulators who make sure companies abide by the law. A quality degree from a respected program can give graduates the edge they need to make a successful start in the profession. Our best value ranking of occupational safety degree programs will give you a good idea of how the best programs in the country stack up against each other. A detailed description of our ranking methodology is available at the end of the article. Tuition, financial aid, and average ROI data pertains to the institution level.

#20. Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania

Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania
BS in Safety Management

Slippery Rock University
Website
Rating: 8

The safety management program at Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania offers a minor in business administration. This program prepares students for many jobs, including safety administrator, fire safety manager, compliance officer, security manager, safety consultant, and risk manager. In this program, students will gain hands-on experience through a 12-credit internship completed during the summer. Some of the classes students will take include security in the workplace, motor transportation fleet safety, and safety training and development.

Tuition: $9,309
Average 20 yr. ROI: $121,300
Number of Students Receiving Financial Aid: 89%
Number of Concentrations, Tracks, or Minors: 2

#19. Southeastern Louisiana University

Hammond, Louisiana
BS in Occupational Safety, Health, and Environment

Southeastern Louisiana
Website
Rating: 8

This degree in occupational safety, health and environment is accredited by the Applied Science Accreditation Commission of ABET. One of the school’s professors, Dr. Lu Yuan, is a program evaluator for ABET ASAC. Students have the opportunity to benefit from the support and educational opportunities provided by the school’s professional safety and health organizations, which include the American Society of Safety Engineers, and Women in Technology. Outstanding students have access to an honors curriculum that incorporates occupational safety instruction.

Tuition: $6,547
Average 20 yr. ROI: $131,900
Number of Students Receiving Financial Aid: 93%
Number of Concentrations, Tracks, or Minors: 1

#18. Jacksonville State University

Jacksonville, Alabama
BS in Occupational Safety and Health Management

Jacksonville State
Website
Rating: 8

Jacksonville State University offers some substantial financial incentives to qualified out-of-state students. Out-of-state students who qualify for and accept a JSU scholarship are automatically eligible for the in-state tuition rate, saving them more than $27,000 over four years. Students will be happy to know that the average employment rate (five year average) for graduates from the occupational safety and health management program is 100% in the four months following graduation, as reported by the University. Graduates from the program have found employment as OSHA compliance officers, safety auditors and inspectors, loss control specialists, and industrial risk managers.

Tuition:$7,092
Average 20 yr. ROI: $177,000
Number of Students Receiving Financial Aid: 92%
Number of Concentrations, Tracks, or Minors: 1

#17. Keene State College

Keene, New Hampshire
BS in Safety and Occupational Health Applied Sciences

Keene State College
Website
Rating: 8

Students who earn Keene State’s safety and occupational health degree will be qualified for jobs in loss control, risk management, and consulting. Some of the courses students will take during their study include fire and HAZMAT response, human factors in safety, environmental law and regulation, and health hazard identification. Outstanding students have the opportunity to graduate with honors in safety. This is accomplished either by engaging in programmatic research within the Safety Honors Program, or by taking two graduate level safety courses. Some of the graduate level courses available to honors students include leading safety change, current issues in safety, risk and safety, and best practices in safety.

Tuition:$12,864
Average 20 yr. ROI: $188,600
Number of Students Receiving Financial Aid: 93%
Number of Concentrations, Tracks, or Minors: 2

#16. Indiana University of Pennsylvania-Main Campus

Indiana, Pennsylvania
BS in Safety, Health, and Environmental Applied Sciences

Indiana University of Pennsylvania
Website
Rating: 8

Every year IUP school hosts The Safety Sciences Career Fair, which attracts fortune 500 and other prominent companies. Some of the companies students will find in attendance include US Steel, GM, Chevron, and Georgia Pacific. Graduates have gone on to positions such as site safety manager, safety leader, and regional loss control manager for companies like Trumbull Corporation, Georgia Pacific, and SML Capital Advisors. Dr. Jan Wachter is an associate professor in the safety sciences degree program at IUP. His book Ethics for the Safety and Health Professional: Approaches and Case Studies was selected as the “2014 Critics’ Choice” by The American Industrial Hygiene Association.

Tuition:$9,470
Average 20 yr. ROI: $212,000
Number of Students Receiving Financial Aid: 89%
Number of Concentrations, Tracks, or Minors: 1

#15. Ohio University-Main Campus

Athens, Ohio
BS in Occupational Hygiene and Safety

Ohio University
Website
Rating: 8

The occupational hygiene and safety (industrial hygiene) program at Ohio University is the only bachelor’s of its kind approved by the Ohio Board of Regents. The program is one of only five industrial hygiene programs awarded ABET accreditation in the entire United States. Over the years, the College of Health Sciences and Professions has established local outreach initiatives. Students can gain valuable practical experience by participating in these initiatives, which include WellWorks nutrition and fitness center, Atrium Cafe, and Kids on Campus after-school and summer programs.

Tuition: $10,602
Average 20 yr. ROI: $327,200
Number of Students Receiving Financial Aid: 87%
Number of Concentrations, Tracks, or Minors: 1

#14. Murray State University

Murray, Kentucky
BS in Occupational Safety and Health

Murray State University
Website
Rating: 9

Murray State’s ABET-accredited occupational safety degree offers two distinct tracks: safety and health, and environmental health and safety. The safety and health track is geared toward students who want to go into accident prevention, loss control management, and industrial hygiene. Students in this track will take classes like emergency medical training and construction safety. The environmental health and safety track is designed for students concerned with environmental issues like air quality, hazardous waste management, and water quality. Classes on this track include occupational diseases, and solid hazardous waste technology.

Tuition: $7,392
Average 20 yr. ROI: N/A
Number of Students Receiving Financial Aid: 99%
Number of Concentrations, Tracks, or Minors: 2

#13. University of Central Missouri

Warrensburg, Missouri
BS in Occupational Safety and Health

University of Central Missouri
Website
Rating: 9

The Occupational Safety and Health program at UCM is ASAC-ABET accredited. The College of Health, Science, and Technology also offers a BS in Safety Management. There are two specialized minors available to students: fire science and safety. The BS in Occupational Safety and Health and MS in Industrial Hygiene are the only such ABET accredited programs in Missouri. Hands-on experience can be gained by working with various student involvement and service learning projects spearheaded by campus organizations, including American Society of Safety Engineers, Collegiate Firefighters Association, and the American Industrial Hygiene Association.

Tuition: $7,265
Average 20 yr. ROI: $160,700
Number of Students Receiving Financial Aid: 94%
Number of Concentrations, Tracks, or Minors: 2

#12. Marshall University

Huntington, West Virginia
BS in Safety Technology

Marshall University
Website
Rating: 9

Marshall’s safety technology degree is accredited by the Applied Science Accreditation Commission of ABET. Because of the accreditation proficiency standards, students are expected to achieve at least a C grade in all courses essential to the major. This degree offers two minors. The occupational safety and health minor features courses like: principles of ergonomics, and occupational safety program management. The safety technology minor provides students with more electives and includes construction safety among course offerings.

Tuition:$6,526
Average 20 yr. ROI: $181,000
Number of Students Receiving Financial Aid: 94%
Number of Concentrations, Tracks, or Minors: 2

#11. Indiana State University

Terre Haute, Indiana
BS in Safety Management

Indiana State University
Website
Rating: 9

The safety management degree at Indiana State and both of its related minors are accredited at the highest levels. The whole safety management program is accredited by the Association of Technology Management and Applied Engineering (ATMAE). The school’s construction management and risk management minors are accredited by the American Council for Construction Education (ACCE) and the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) respectively. The school states that graduates tend to begin their safety careers in mid-level management positions, and their job placement rate is well above 90%.

Tuition:$8,416
Average 20 yr. ROI: $192,500
Number of Students Receiving Financial Aid: 93%
Number of Concentrations, Tracks, or Minors: 2

#10. Illinois State University

Normal, Illinois
BS in Safety

Illinois State University
Website
Rating: 9

The safety degree at Illinois State University received accreditation from ABET in 2010. Graduates of the program will earn three nationally accredited certifications: Certified Safety Professional, Occupational Health and Safety Technologist, and Construction Health and Safety Technician. Certifications are important in the industry for career advancement, especially the CSP certification. According to the school’s numbers, there are over 200 credentials and certifications available in the field, but only 12 are nationally accredited. Students graduating with these national certifications position themselves very competitively.

Tuition:$13,296
Average 20 yr. ROI: $252,200
Number of Students Receiving Financial Aid: 81%
Number of Concentrations, Tracks, or Minors: 3

#9. North Carolina A&T State University

Greensboro, North Carolina
BS in Environmental Health and Safety

North Carolina A&T University+
Website
Rating: 9

The NCAT environmental health and safety degree is accredited by the Association of Technology, Management, and Applied Engineering (ATMAE). Some of the companies that hire NCAT graduates are ConAgra, Department of Labor, Miller Brewing, and Toyota. All of the programs within the Built Environment Department boast an 80%-90% employment rate among graduates. North Carolina A&T is also the first university in the United States to offer a fully-online BS in Environmental Health and Safety.

Tuition:$5,642
Average 20 yr. ROI: $264,000
Number of Students Receiving Financial Aid: 96%
Number of Concentrations, Tracks, or Minors: 1

#8. Oakland University

Rochester, Michigan
BS in Occupational Safety and Health

Oakland University
Website
Rating: 9

Oakland University established their occupational safety and health degree in 1978 in response to the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970. In addition to the traditional occupational safety degree, Oakland University offers a unique program designed for certified safety professionals. The Certified Safety Professional to BS Occupational Safety and Health program is for CSPs with associate or bachelor’s level education and a GPA of 2.5 or greater. This completion program enables CSPs to earn their bachelor’s in occupational safety while taking full advantage of the study they have already completed.

Tuition: $10,613
Average 20 yr. ROI: $367,500
Number of Students Receiving Financial Aid: 88%
Number of Concentrations, Tracks, or Minors: 2

#7. University of Wisconsin-Whitewater

Whitewater, Wisconsin
BS in Occupational and Environmental Safety and Health

University of Wisconsin Whitewater
Website
Rating: 10

UWW students who want to specialize can choose between three areas of emphasis: construction safety, environmental management, and occupational ergonomics. Because the program is offered through the College of Business and Economics, this degree in occupational health emphasizes the business perspective. Graduates will work with companies to evaluate working conditions and potential hazards, ensure compliance, and help to formulate and enforce company policies. Some recent graduates of the program are working at Harley Davidson, Tecumseh Products, and 1st Defense Safety Corp.

Tuition: $7,600
Average 20 yr. ROI: $228,800
Number of Students Receiving Financial Aid: 83%
Number of Concentrations, Tracks, or Minors: 3

#6. Millersville University of Pennsylvania

Millersville, Pennsylvania
BS in Occupational Safety and Environmental Health

Millersville University
Website
Rating: 11

Millersville University’s occupational safety degree is ABET accredited. Students earning the occupational safety and environmental health degree can choose any minor in the Applied Engineering, Safety, & Technology Department, including: advanced manufacturing technologies, construction technology, control systems technology, general applied engineering & technology, and graphic communication technology. Students graduating from this program are eligible for the Graduate Safety Practitioner designation from the Board of Certified Safety Professionals (BCSP).

Tuition: $10,268
Average 20 yr. ROI: $212,800
Number of Students Receiving Financial Aid: 86%
Number of Concentrations, Tracks, or Minors: 5

#5. Central Washington University

Ellensburg, Washington
BS in Safety and Health Management

Central Washington University
Website
Rating: 11

The safety and health management degree at Central Washington University offers three minors: construction safety, occupational safety technology, and safety and health management. Some of the courses available to students include industrial and organizational psychology, management of human resources, and systems and design. The major became more popular than expected for such a rigorous program, forcing the department to cap it at 36 new students admitted to the major every year. The total number of students enrolled in the program was just 64 in the fall of 2014.

Tuition: $9,017
Average 20 yr. ROI: $317,200
Number of Students Receiving Financial Aid: 87%
Number of Concentrations, Tracks, or Minors: 3

#4. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University-Daytona Beach

Daytona Beach, Florida
BS in Aerospace and Occupational Safety

Embry Riddle Daytona
Website
Rating: 11

The aerospace industry presents a number of unique challenges for safety professionals. The coursework for Embry-Riddle’s aerospace and occupational safety degree was developed specifically to meet the requirements of the Aviation Accreditation Board International (AABI). This is the only program in the country accredited by AABI. Some of the unique courses offered by this program include human factors in aviation safety, system safety in aviation, and introduction to air traffic management. There are three minors that go very well with an aerospace and occupational safety degree: communication, aviation safety, and human factors.

Tuition: $31,948
Average 20 yr. ROI: $542,500
Number of Students Receiving Financial Aid: 99%
Number of Concentrations, Tracks, or Minors: 3

#3. Pittsburg State University

Pittsburg, Kansas
Bachelor of Science in Technology: Environmental and Safety Management

Pittsburg State University
Website
Rating: 12

Pittsburg State offers five concentrations for environmental and safety management majors: environment management, fire safety, general industry, safety management construction, and human resource management. This affordable safety management degree program is offered through the School of Construction and was recently recognized by the Institute for Safety and Health Management as an approved program. Graduates of an approved program are qualified for an Associate Safety and Health Manager credential. Graduates can then earn Certified Safety and Health Manager status after just two years of work experience.

Tuition: $6,230
Average 20 yr. ROI: $168,500
Number of Students Receiving Financial Aid: 92%
Number of Concentrations, Tracks, or Minors: 5

#2. Montana Tech of the University of Montana

Butte, Montana
BS in Occupational Safety and Health

Montana Tech
Website
Rating: 12

Graduates of the occupational safety and health degree program at Montana Tech have worked in fields as diverse as mining, insurance, consulting, and government. The career services office at the school surveys all graduates each year; it found that between 2006 and 2011, 94-100% of graduates found employment with starting salaries up to $57,722 per year. Montana Tech’s degree program in occupational safety is accredited by ABET. The program only offers one concentration option: applied health science. Many companies are taking more of an interest in employee health. An occupational safety and health graduate with the ability to evaluate the lifestyles, health habits, and fitness levels of employees is likely to be more competitive in the job market.

Tuition:$6,494
Average 20 yr. ROI: $541,100
Number of Students Receiving Financial Aid: 90%
Number of Concentrations, Tracks, or Minors: 1

#1. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University–Prescott

Prescott, Arizona
BS in Industrial Psychology and Safety

Embry-Riddle Prescott
Website
Rating: 12

The Embry-Riddle Prescott campus offers a degree in industrial psychology and safety. The program covers the safety issues of traditional programs, like ergonomics, hygiene, and toxicology, but supplements with a focus on human behavior. Some of the unique courses offered by this major include statistics for organizational analysis and research, group and team behavior, and human reliability and safety analysis. There are three minors that go hand-in-hand with either side of the major’s dual focus: security and intelligence studies, emergency planning and management, and aviation safety.

Tuition:$31,648
Average 20 yr. ROI: $603,700
Number of Students Receiving Financial Aid: 94%
Number of Concentrations, Tracks, or Minors: 3

Methodology

Our ranking methodology for determining the best value degrees in occupational safety is simple. We awarded points based on four categories: low tuition, high return on investment, a high percentage of students receiving financial aid, and the number of minors, concentrations, or areas of emphasis offered by the school. Each of these categories contributes to the value of a program.

Tuition: Up front cost is one of two major factors in student borrowing. With student debt at an all time high, many students are looking for ways to graduate with as little debt as possible. Low tuition can drastically reduce student debt.

Financial Aid: The higher the percentage of students receiving financial aid, the more likely any individual student will be to receive some form of financial aid. A high likelihood of receiving financial aid, combined with a low tuition, works to reduce overall expenses.

Return on Investment: These figures give a rough guide as to the success of students graduating from the school over the following 20 years of their life. ROI was used to break ties in this list, with the better ranking going to the school with the higher ROI.

Minors, Concentrations, and Emphases: Transferring schools can be a major expense. Often schools have different requirements for majors and students lose credits in the process. It’s not unusual for students to extend their education by a semester or more by transferring schools. Schools with plenty of options provide students with the ability to switch between minors and areas of emphases without transferring schools.

Using the following ranking system we selected 20 bachelor level programs out of 30 schools returned by the NCES College Navigator database.

Tuition

Under $10,000: 3 Points
Under $20,000: 2 Points
Under $30,000: 1 Point

Students Receiving Financial Aid

60%: 1 Point
70%: 2 Points
80%: 3 Points
90%: 4 Points

20 Year Average Net Return on Investment

$200,000: 1 Point
$300,000: 2 Points
$400,000: 3 Points
$500,000: 4 Points
$600,000: 5 Points

Minors, Concentrations, and Emphases Points

One Point Per Minor or Concentration

Sources

The return on investment figures were sourced from Payscale.com

The tuition information was sourced from The National Center for Education Statistics College Navigator Database

This concludes our ranking of the 20 best values in occupational safety degree programs.

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