HSE Director Career Path
How To Become a Safety ManagerA safety manager conducts meetings, audits, and inspections to make sure businesses meet compliance assessments. If you have a strong leadership background and boast technical skills, you might find a career as a safety manager. In this article, we cover the five steps needed to become a safety manager.
Earn a degree.
Safety managers typically need at least a bachelor's degree in occupational health and safety or a related field, such as biology, chemistry, or engineering. Most of these programs cover topics that include program management, safety, inspection, and federal laws. If you hope to work at construction sites, you should consider obtaining a bachelor's degree in construction management or engineering. These degree programs usually include topics such as construction safety, blueprint reading, and construction equipment.
What skills do you need to be a Safety Manager?
- Exceptional Communication
- Microsoft Office Suite
- Excellent Communication
- Written Communication
- OSHA 500
Gain safety-related experience.
Most employers want to hire safety managers who have some experience in the field since that means they likely know about safety programs. If you plan to work in the construction industry, seek entry-level construction positions that can give you experience working with cranes, scaffolding, and scissor lifts.
Join a trade organization.
When you join a trade organization, you gain access to industry updates, ongoing training, and networking opportunities. You might also learn about national and local conferences, which you can attend and meet others in the industry. Some of the more popular trades to consider joining include the American Biological Safety Association and the American Society of Safety Engineers.
Obtain OSHA certification.
Although certification is voluntary to become a safety manager, securing it can give you a competitive edge over other candidates in the job market. Four of the more common certifications available include the following:
- Certified Safety Professional (CSP): The Board of Certified Safety Professionals (BCSP) offers this certification, which you can obtain if you have at least a bachelor's degree and four years of experience working in safety. You must pass an exam and hold another BCSP certification.
- Associate Safety Professional (ASP): Another BCSP certification, the ASP verifies your ability to perform worksite assessments to locate potential hazards and evaluate risks. You need at least a bachelor's degree and one year of experience working in safety. To obtain certification, you must also pass an exam.
- Occupational Health and Safety Technologist (OHST): SPAN International offers this certification, which requires five years of experience in health and safety or the completion of certain college courses. You must also pass an exam.
- Construction Health and Safety Technologist (CHST): Also offered by SPAN International, this certification focuses on construction safety management principles. You must pass a comprehensive exam.
Become an OSHA-authorized trainer.
Some employers want safety managers who have earned authorization from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Having this authorization means you can teach construction safety programs to other employees. To obtain authorization, you need at least five years of experience in construction safety or three years of experience along with a degree in occupational health and safety. You also need to pass two OSHA trainer courses.
HSE Director Career Path
Related careers in the Skilled Labor & Manufacturing Industry
Interested in other Skilled Labor & Manufacturing careers? Below are occupations that have high affinity with HSE Director skills. Discover some of the most common HSE Director career transitions, along with skills overlap.