Top 7 Career Paths as a Safety Professional

Interested in a career as a safety professional, but not exactly sure where to start? The key to truly finding success in this rewarding field is to explore every avenue of certification possible. Overall, the role of those serving in this expansive career field is to ensure the conditions for a safe and accident-free workplace. 

Main Industries for those interested in a safety professional career path

Smiling female Safety ProfessionalResponsAble Safety Staffing has scoured extensive surveys to understand why the decision to seek a career path in the safety field is so practical. They list job availability, excellent salaries, career advancement and leadership opportunities as a few reasons professionals should consider safety certification. The Minority-Owned Business also points out that safety professionals can explore a wide range of organizations within both the public and private-sector, including hospitals, restaurants, construction and engineering, manufacturing and large private companies. We’ll go into more details regarding roles and responsibilities, opportunities, salaries and more, as well as the certifications offered by the National Registry of Environmental Professionals® that are needed to apply for particular job titles.   

At the National Registry of Environmental Professionals®, our mission is to provide professional certification and certification programs to those who have the required education, training, and experience to be qualified as various environmental and safety professionals. And as the largest not-for-profit accrediting organization, NREPSM makes it possible for our clients to find the perfect career path to become certified as a safety professional.  

If you’re exploring career path ideas, but you’re not exactly sure where to begin, start by checking out our certification page, where you’ll find 23 possibilities for safety professional certifications. We’ll highlight a few below, including paths that will demonstrate how to get started in entry level safety job titles or how to become a safety manager, among other professions. Read on for 7 different career options for those who have been certified as a safety professional and how to achieve those goals with NREPSM

Interested in learning more about our certifications?

7 Possible Safety Career Paths 

Environmental Management

Possible careers/roles: Policymaker, natural resource manager, land use planner, environmental consultant  

Average salary: $74,038/year 

NREPSM Certification: Associate Environmental Professional – Designed for those wishing to pursue a career in environmental management. This entry level program is aimed at those professions beginning their careers, as well as those professionals who may not possess a college degree. Educational requirements include one year in a bachelor’s degree program, such as environmental engineering, health and science, environmental management or hazardous materials management. Three years of acceptable work experience may be substituted for each year as an academic degree program. No work experience is required. Those interested must pass an exam on pollution prevention, hazardous materials management, emergency preparedness, toxicology, chemistry, and environmental regulations.  

Mold Inspector 

Possible roles/responsibilities: Mold assessment, mold remediation, mold education   

Average salary: $39,639 

NREPSM Certification: Mold Awareness Specialist – Designed for professionals that are knowledgeable in identifying and handling various types of mold issues in facilities, determining health effects of mold and of the safety and well-being of those exposed and determining plans to eradicate mold and improve indoor air quality. Educational requirements include a bachelor’s degree in public health, occupational health and safety or environmental related discipline. Three years of acceptable work experience may be substituted for each year of an academic degree program. Work experience requirements include one year of experience related to mold removal, mold treatment, indoor air quality professionals, etc.  

Health and Safety Engineers

Possible roles/responsibilities: Conduct inspections and audits to identify potential hazards and determine the cause of accidents; Develop and implement safety policies and procedures; Create and conduct testing to ensure various products are safe and comply with government/industry safety regulations 

Average salary: $99,040 

NREPSM Certification: Certified Environmental and Safety Compliance Officer® - This certification was designed to identify working professionals with an understanding of the core laws and regulations related to air, water, waste water pollution, solid/hazardous wastes and safety. Educational requirements include 2 years of full-time employment conducting environmental and/or safety responsibilities for the military, industry or a consultant. Those interested cannot substitute work experience for education. 

Hazard Control Specialist

Possible roles/responsibilities: Identification and appropriate disposal of harmful substances; Management and transport of hazardous material 

Average Salary: $46,300 

NREPSM Certification: Certified Environmental and Safety Logistics Officer This certification is intended for those working within logistics and/or the environmental & safety industry who have knowledge and understanding of supply chain management, DOT regulations pertaining to vehicle markings, Transportation Security Act (TSA), and Hazardous Materials Management within the logistics industries. This certification aims to credential those managing the transportation of hazardous/harmful materials, appropriate marking of vehicles for transport, Hazardous Material Management (HAZMAT) and security technologies. A Bachelor's in Supply Chain Management, or other similar area is required, however, 3 years of appropriate work experience can be substituted for every 1 year of an academic degree program. A minimum of 2 years of experience directly related to HAZMAT or hazardous materials transport is also required. 

Risk Control Specialist

Possible roles/responsibilities: Identifying and analyzing safety risks; Developing risk management strategies; Preparing emergency operations plan 

Average Salary: $63,240 

NREPSM Certification: Emergency Planning Professional - This certification is aimed at professionals responsible for analyzing risk and creating an emergency planning system. Its focus is to assist in threat analysis, preparing an EOP (emergency operations plan), building a team, and participating in all-hazards emergency operations. A BS & BA degree or at least 2 years of practical experience is required, although 3 years of acceptable work experience can be substituted. 

Industrial Hygienist

Possible roles/responsibilities: Analyze, identify, and record workplace hazards or dangers that can result in sickness, impaired health, or extreme discomfort in workers through chemical, physical, ergonomic, or biological exposures.   

Average salary: $96,825 

NREPSM Certification: Registered Industrial Hygiene Professional – Developed to credential professionals responsible for researching, examining, and providing information to manage and prevent potentially dangerous conditions in the workplace, development of procedures to anticipate and mitigate dangerous situations and participating in the development of regulations, on the government or state level, to ensure workplace and community safety. Educational requirements include a bachelor’s degree in engineering, chemistry or physics OR a bachelor’s degree in a closely related biological or physical science from an accredited college or university. Three years of acceptable work experience may be substituted for each year of an academic degree program. Work experience requirements include three years of experience directly related to industrial hygiene.  

Recycling Specialist 

Possible roles/responsibilities: Designs community solid and hazardous waste management programs; sets recycling plans, goals and initiatives; identifies and investigates violations of recycling or solid waste ordinances; ensures compliance with applicable federal, state and local ordinances and guidelines.  

Average salary: $35,703 

NREPSM Certification: Certified Waste Management Professional – Designed to certify professionals responsible for waste minimization and pollution prevention, the voluntary standards and programs related to hazardous waste management, the management and transport of hazardous materials, the treatment, storage and expertise of disposal operations for hazardous waste and the reporting and data keeping relevant to hazardous waste and non-hazardous solid waste. Educational requirements: Minimum of HAZWOPER 40 HR training or a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college. Work experience requirements include five years of work experience related to waste management, waste minimization, treatment and storage, waste transport and business management of waste management facilities.