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Safety is No Accident

Illustration of a woman safety inspector on a building site with the text "Safety jobs that pay"

Keeping people safe is an important job. Did you know there are many growing careers that focus on protecting workers and the general public? People in these occupations combine technical knowledge with an understanding of safety regulations to inspect, monitor and respond in a variety of settings.

Here are 10 safety-related occupations all pay at least the median annual wage – and six require less than a bachelor’s degree.

 

Agricultural inspectors

What they do: Agricultural inspectors examine agricultural products, processing equipment and facilities, and fish and logging operations to make sure they comply with the laws around safety and quality.

2020 median pay: $46,700

Typical entry-level education: Bachelor’s degree

Number of jobs (2019): 15,200

Projected growth, 2019-29: 2% (slower than average)

Occupational openings, 2019-29 annual average: 2,200

CareerOneStop career video  

 

Construction and building inspectors

What they do: Construction and building inspectors ensure buildings and infrastructure – such as bridges, highways and water systems – comply with safety regulations. They also inspect electrical, heating and plumbing systems.

2020 median pay: $62,860

Typical entry-level education: High school diploma or equivalent

Number of jobs (2019): 120,800

Projected growth, 2019-29: 3% (as fast as average)

Occupational openings, 2019-29 annual average: 13,500

CareerOneStop career video

 

Emergency management directors

What they do: Emergency management directors prepare plans and procedures for responding to natural disasters and other emergencies. They also help lead the response during and after emergencies, often in coordination with public safety officials, elected officials, nonprofit organizations and government agencies.

2020 median pay: $76,250

Typical entry-level education: Bachelor’s degree

Number of jobs (2019): 10,400

Projected growth, 2019-29: 4% (as fast as average)

Occupational openings, 2019-29 annual average: 700

CareerOneStop career video

 

Fire inspectors and investigators

What they do: Fire inspectors examine buildings in order to detect fire hazards and ensure that federal, state and local fire codes are met. Fire investigators determine the origin and cause of fires and explosions.

2020 median pay: $64,610

Typical entry-level education: Postsecondary nondegree award

Number of jobs (2019): 14,200

Projected growth, 2019-29: 6% (faster than average)

Occupational openings, 2019-29 annual average: 1,500

CareerOneStop career video

 

Forest fire inspectors and prevention specialists

What they do: Forest fire inspectors and prevention specialists assess outdoor fire hazards in public and residential areas. They look for fire code infractions and for conditions that pose a wildfire risk. They also recommend ways to reduce fire hazards. During patrols, they enforce fire regulations and report fire conditions to their central command center.

2020 median pay: $42,150

Typical entry-level education: High school diploma or equivalent

Number of jobs (2019): 2,300

Projected growth, 2019-29: 24% (much faster than average)

Occupational openings, 2019-29 annual average: 300

CareerOneStop career video

 

Health and safety engineers

What they do: Health and safety engineers develop procedures and design systems to protect people from illness and injury, and property from damage. They combine knowledge of engineering and of health and safety to make sure that chemicals, machinery, software, furniture and other products will not cause harm. 

2020 median pay: $94,240

Typical entry-level education: Bachelor’s degree

Number of jobs (2019): 26,400

Projected growth, 2019-29: 4% (as fast as average)

Occupational openings, 2019-29 annual average: 1,700

CareerOneStop career video

 

Occupational health and safety specialists

What they do: Occupational health and safety specialists inspect workplaces safety, health and environmental issues. They also help design procedures to protect workers from hazards.

2020 median pay: $76,340

Typical entry-level education: Bachelor’s degree

Number of jobs (2019): 100,500

Projected growth, 2019-29: 4% (as fast as average)

Occupational openings, 2019-29 annual average: 5,500

CareerOneStop career video

 

Occupational health and safety technicians

What they do: Occupational health and safety technicians conduct tests and measure hazards to help prevent harm to workers, property, the environment and the general public.

2020 median pay: $53,340

Typical entry-level education: High school diploma or equivalent

Number of jobs (2019): 22,100

Projected growth, 2019-29: 5% (faster than average)

Occupational openings, 2019-29 annual average: 1,200

CareerOneStop career video

 

Public safety telecommunicators

What they do: Public safety telecommunicators, usually known as police, fire, and ambulance dispatchers, answer emergency and nonemergency calls from people who need help. They also monitor the status of first-responder agencies.

2020 median pay: $43,290

Typical entry-level education: High school diploma or equivalent

Number of jobs (2019): 98,300

Projected growth, 2019-29: 6% (faster than average)

Occupational openings, 2019-29 annual average: 9,200

CareerOneStop career video

 

Transportation inspectors

What they do: Transportation inspectors examine and monitor equipment, systems or goods in connection with the safe movement of cargo or people.

2020 median pay: $78,400

Typical entry-level education: High school diploma or equivalent

Number of jobs (2019): 30,200

Projected growth, 2019-29: 2% (slower than average)

Occupational openings, 2019-29 annual average: 2,900

CareerOneStop career video

 

You can explore these and hundreds of other occupations in the BLS Occupational Outlook Handbook. And you can find career exploration and assessment tools in the Department of Labor’s O*Net Resource Center.

 

Cal Hockemeyer and Patricia Tate are economists in the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Follow BLS on Twitter at @BLS_gov.

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