Safety Engineering Degree

Have you ever thought about professionals who investigate air crashes? These professionals are actually safety engineers who first investigate the causes of an air crash and then devise measures to prevent such incidents. However, safety engineering is not limited to aviation. You will also find safety engineers working in areas such as manufacturing, product design, and public works. Safety engineering makes sure that engineering systems and products are safe and secure for humans and the environment. The principles of safety engineering can be applied to existing environments and they can also be utilized to design new engineering systems. The work in safety engineering is guided by certain codes and specifications. These guidelines are developed as the users and engineers experience new issues related to safety and work performance. Large scale construction projects and small product designs alike implement safety engineering principles. While reliability engineering determines the success of an engineering project, safety engineering focuses on the possible dangers to the potential users.

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What are the degre es available in safety engineering?

Bachelor’s degree in safety engineering

A bachelor’s degree is not normally offered in the field of safety engineering. However, students can opt for some related degrees such as a Bachelor of Science in Occupational Safety and Health, which covers topics such as construction safety and fire prevention. Another option for students is to go for a Bachelor of Science in Fire Protection and Safety Engineering, which draws on different aspects of health and safety engineering. The degree involves topics such as procedures of arson investigation and safety analysis. Besides classroom instruction, students may also acquire practical experience in laboratories. Graduates of the program may work in areas such as fire insurance, fire protection engineering, and industrial safety.

Master’s degree in safety engineering

This is a comprehensive program which covers a wide range of topics such as environmental concerns, ergonomics, hazardous materials, and safety technologies. Master’s courses may follow the guidelines of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). Generally, the degree also includes field work, which allows students to gain hands on experience in areas such as enforcing and monitoring industrial safety procedures. Graduates have found employment in areas such as industrial hygiene, fire protection, occupational safety, and environmental health. In order to acquire admission, students need to have a bachelor’s degree in engineering or occupational health. They may also need previous coursework in physics, chemistry, math, and biology. Although, coursework can vary depending on the institute, some major courses in the program include ergonomics, industrial hygiene, occupational safety, biomechanical engineering, safety engineering, and product liability control.

PhD in safety engineering

It is not very common to find PhD programs in safety engineering, but you can find doctoral level programs in areas such as industrial or systems engineering, which also cover areas related to safety engineering. Graduates can also work as safety engineers. Admission requirements for a PhD program typically include a master’s degree in a relevant field. Besides, the program will normally require letters of recommendation, statement of purpose  and GRE scores. The program helps students build on their previous knowledge of engineering and gives them opportunities to acquire advanced knowledge and conduct extensive research. The doctoral program ends with the completion of an independent research and successful defense of a dissertation. Candidates also work with their peers in group projects so they can be prepared for the challenges of real world.  In order to gain expertise as safety engineers, students need to complete courses related to advance systems safety engineering, safety training methods, inventory control, technology implementation, human factors in engineering, and engineering logistics.
In addition to degree programs, non-degree programs are also available in the field.

Certificate in safety engineering

Some entry level positions require basic knowledge of safety engineering. For such jobs, students can select a certificate in safety engineering, which covers topics such as product safety design, fire protection, risk analysis, and air pollution. Certificate programs for safety engineers are normally offered at technical colleges, but some engineering departments at colleges and universities may also offer them. The certificate programs require applicants to have completed their high school diploma and the duration can vary from six months to one year. With the help of a certificate, students acquire skills such as assessing risks and designing systems that eliminate danger. Some important topics covered in safety engineering certificates are:  industrial hygiene, ergonomics, regulatory compliance, and accident investigation.

What will be my salary and career prospects as a safety engineer?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual wage for health and safety engineers was $76,830 in May 2012. The income of health and safety engineers ranged from $45,370 to $118,750. Moreover, their employment prospects as predicted by BLS are good, as the employment of health and safety engineers is likely to grow at 11 percent between the years 2012 and 2022. This employment growth is as fast as the average of all occupations. Health and safety engineers have traditionally been employed in manufacturing industries. They work on cost cutting, safety of workers, and also produce safe products for consumers. Now, similar health and safety principles are being applied by safety engineers in new settings such as health care. Health and safety engineers can play an important role in preventing accidents in hospitals. They can also help in cutting down additional costs that hospitals incur due to these accidents. Another factor that can cause an increase in employment of health and safety engineers is the new field of software safety engineering.  Software needs to be designed and maintained in a way that it only works as intended. A glitch in software can damage the equipment or cause injury to people. Safety engineers can help design software that is free from errors and is safe for its users.

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Q:What would be the job requirements for a safety engineering certificate holder?

A:A certified safety engineer would be required to have some practical experience along with a bachelor's degree at least. Key skills needed in these individuals for most jobs in the United States, would include problem solving ability, deductive reasoning, creativity, systems analysis, strong organizational skills, excellent verbal and written communication skills and problem sensitivity.

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