How to Become a Safety Engineer

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Engineering is a growing field. The federal government lists 17 engineering specialties, one of which is safety engineering. Sometimes referred to as health and safety engineering, this field focuses on the safety of products and the processes to make products. Safety engineers must evaluate and develop procedures to reduce risks. Follow these steps to become a safety engineer.

  • Assess your strengths. Engineers should be curious, logical, and detail-oriented. Good communication skills are always a plus as many projects require group input.

  • Take high school coursework with a focus on mathematics and the sciences. Computer proficiency is a must. Engineers do the majority of their work on computers.

  • Apply to a college that offers an accredited program in safety engineering. The main accreditation program is the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET). Entry-level engineering jobs require a minimum of a bachelor's degree.

  • Enroll in curriculum coursework, which will include general education and general engineering courses in addition to specialized safety engineering courses. Your curriculum may require coursework in other branches of engineering as well. Safety engineers work with other engineers in most industries.

  • Consider attending graduate school for an advanced degree in Safety Science. About 40 percent of safety engineers possess advanced degrees. Graduate training provides specialized training that can contribute to advancement in your career.

  • Find out if you should seek licensure. The United States requires licensing for engineers who work with the public in some way. You must have graduated from an accredited school plus have four years engineering experience before taking a state licensing test. Licensed engineers are called professional engineers.

Tips & Warnings

  • Many community colleges and four-year colleges also offer degrees in engineering technology. Engineering technology programs train people for hands-on work rather than jobs that require the use of theoretical knowledge.
  • Mining safety engineering falls under mining engineering.
  • Check the college and university degree programs at the ASSE website. A list of accredited colleges and the specific curricula offered is available.

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