Earning a Bachelor of Science in Occupational Safety and Health qualifies students for careers that concern job safety in a vast field of specialties that range from industrial hygienists to construction inspectors who examine equipment and perform hazard-analysis exercises. These experts enforce health and safety standards, identify environmental hazards and monitor the storage, transportation and disposal of hazardous materials.
Strengthening Your Résumé with Complementary Minor Studies
Occupational safety specialists earn average salaries of $69,210 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, but the top 10 percent earn mean salaries as high as $101,000. Strengthening your qualifications with complementary minors that relate to job safety in different industries can help you reach the top percentile of earners in the field. The following college minors can help you qualify for a more lucrative career:
1. Engineering Technology
Job safety relates closely to engineering technology. Knowing why some parts are made of plastic while others are constructed of metals helps occupational safety inspectors determine possible job hazards. A strong engineering background helps students understand job risks caused by inferior materials, poor designs or logistics hazards.
Safety professionals with an engineering background can operate and test equipment, read blueprints and assist architects and engineers. Technology and job equipment grow increasingly complex, and occupational safety experts who know engineering principles garner an edge in the race to secure the most lucrative and appealing jobs.
Courses in engineering technology include engineering concepts, design skills,computer tech, electrical engineering, architecture and manufacturing.
2. Health Sciences
Health fields number among the fastest growing sectors that deal with job safety. Health courses complement occupational safety as science increasingly identifies job risks that are caused by health disorders, environmental contamination and biological hazards. These specialists often work for health departments and perform restaurant and food manufacturer inspections and or determine the effects of aging in the workplace.
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Other careers include planning and promoting community health initiatives, vetting alternative health practices and investigating job conditions that put people’s health in jeopardy. You might be responsible for ensuring health and safety in corporations, working on health issues for governmental agencies like the Department of Veterans Affairs or liaising with engineers on health and safety issues in the preliminary stages of new projects.
3. Manufacturing Engineering
Occupational safety professional work in all areas of manufacturing from automobiles to computer components. Minor courses in manufacturing engineering contribute toward your cumulative work and educational experience to qualify for the Certified Manufacturing Engineer (CMfgE) Certification. The requirements of this certification include passing an examination and having seven years of combined work experience and manufacturing-related education. Valuable courses to take in college include mathematics, applied engineering, automated systems and controls, continuous quality improvements and production system design. Many top safety jobs in manufacturing require this certification, and you can receive credit for your minor courses and work experience, which must be for at least four of the seven years.
4. Operations Research
Courses in operations research help to qualify occupational safety candidates for jobs that use complicated mathematical and simulation modeling to reduce the risks of operating systems across hundreds of fields. Courses in multivariate analysis, judgment and statistical tests, control theory and other electives will stand you in good stead for landing challenging and proactive occupational safety jobs. Instead of finding risks on the job, these professionals can identify risks before products, equipment and systems are built.
Research is critical in business manufacturing, all types of public safety organizations and governmental agencies like the U.S. Department of Defense. The information obtained by job safety specialists with operations research skills can determine the hazards of military actions, reduce infection rates for conditions like HIV/AIDS and save money by optimizing processes in the public and private sectors.
5. Environmental Science
Environmental science courses can qualify students for a range of job safety careers in dentistry, environmental management, natural resource administration, medicine, public health and dietetics. Social science and health science courses strengthen your credentials for occupational safety jobs in many careers that include:
- Responding to emergencies and planning to mitigate disasters for organizations like FEMA, community groups and national preparedness associations
- Working for sustainable development across a broad cross-section of industries
- Training communities in emergency response and disaster planning
- Managing hazardous waste materials
- Applying environmental science and the law to industrial and government initiatives
It can be important to take general courses in college, but students who are interested in landing the top careers in occupational safety and health can choose minors that offer them broader job opportunities after receiving their degrees. The job market grows increasingly competitive, and minoring in a course of study that complements your major gives you an edge in finding satisfying employment.