When it comes to finding a stable and well-paying career, it can be better to be safe than sorry.
That’s because safety professionals are increasingly in demand. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs for occupational safety and health specialists are expected to grow by 9 percent by 2022 and those for occupational safety and health technicians will increase by 13 percent.
But these jobs don’t just offer growth potential, they also provide real earning power and security. The BLS estimates the median income for an occupational health and safety specialist to be more than $60,000 a year. A recent National Safety Council survey of industry professionals found that more than 90 percent felt that their job was stable.
Because of the increased demand for safety workers in the construction industry, UC San Diego Extension recently teamed up with the Associated Builders and Contractors to offer a unique, accelerated certification program that features hands-on training, including a three-week paid internship. The inaugural session of the “Safety Specialist Professional Certificate,” an intensive three-month program, begins on July 13 and is open to anyone looking to make safety a long-term career.
The course will give students an overview of a variety of safety standards, instructing them on the basics of everything from electrical inspections to proper scaffolding practices to fall protection. The coursework is by no means theoretical as students will be able to see how rigging and scaffolding are built and learn how to calibrate and use air sampling machines and other Occupational Health and Safety protocols.
Bob Harrell, a safety consultant who serves as a lead instructor for the program, said the certificate is designed to help students secure entry-level jobs while preparing them for future career growth. Through the partnership with the Associated Business and Contractors, he said, it became clear that employers in the construction industry wanted more than just strong technical skills.
“The feedback we’ve heard is that leadership and communication with workers, as well as with upper management, are the most valuable skills on the job,” Harrell said.
As of winter 2015, applications were still being accepted for the program, which costs $8,500. Eligible students can use their Department of Veterans Affairs educational benefits as this is an approved certificate. To find out more about this and other UC San Diego Extension safety certification programs, visit http://osha.ucsd.edu/ or call (858) 534-9272.