4 Careers and Salaries With an Occupational Health and Safety Degree

June 27, 2022

Safety is crucial in the workplace. Occupational health and safety specialists are always in demand to work behind the scenes in almost any field to guarantee employees’ safety. Without someone to identify risks and enforce safety regulations, workplaces would crumble.

Entry-level occupational health and safety degree salaries are competitive, with strong potential for growth. Additionally, because workplaces of all kinds require positions in health and safety, graduates can work in a wide range of fields. 

Occupational health and safety degree graduates can follow a number of career paths. Four of the most popular careers in this field are occupational health and safety manager, health services manager, risk manager, and environmental health and safety (EHS) director. Learning about these roles, their requirements, and projected salaries can help students and graduates decide what career is right for them. 

1. Occupational Health and Safety Manager

Occupational health and safety managers ensure that a company’s health and safety policies are up to date and followed. They may oversee health-related policies and procedures along with creating safety education and guaranteeing the safety of the workplace. Individuals in this role often have supervisory responsibilities. This position is typically in an indoor environment and entails regular weekday and daytime shifts. 


Job opportunities in occupational health and safety management often require a bachelor’s degree in a related field. Furthermore, employers may prefer candidates with professional certification. 

This role requires strong organization, communication, and problem-solving skills. Occupational health and safety managers are often leaders in their organizations, so they must possess the skills to be effective, positive, and approachable. 


The position of occupational health and safety manager offers a median annual salary of about $83,000, with a range between $50,000 and $115,000, according to May 2022 Payscale data. Entry-level professionals made a median of around $61,200, and after five to nine years, these managers made a median of approximately $85,000. 

2. Health Services Manager

A health services manager typically oversees a hospital or smaller medical practice. They’re responsible for a wide range of work, from clerical tasks to coordinating medical and health services to onboarding new employees. This role is generally a managerial position with an emphasis on department management. 


Aspiring health services managers need to earn at least a bachelor’s degree in a health-related field, as well as gain experience in lower-level health-related positions. 

Managerial skills, such as schedule building, recruiting, training, and customer service, are typically needed for a health services manager position. Strong research skills also help professionals in this role carry out their duties. 

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As reported by Payscale in April 2022, the median annual salary for a medical and health services manager was approximately $70,600. Entry-level professionals made a median annual salary of around $61,800, while experienced managers made a median of $102,000. 

3. Risk Manager

Risk managers conduct audits to make sure that employees and companies are following safety rules to minimize hazards in the workplace. They also evaluate hazards and liabilities and research potential outcomes from identified hazards. They may consider both financial and material risks. 


Becoming a risk manager typically requires a bachelor’s degree in occupational health and safety or a related area of study involving risk management. Some employers may also require risk management certification. 

This position demands strong computer skills due to the amount of research and database creation. Likewise, strong communication, collaboration, analytical, and planning skills are important.

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Risk managers earn competitive salaries due to the importance of their work. The median annual salary for risk managers was about $90,500 as of May 2022, according to Payscale. Entry-level risk managers made a median salary of around $65,000, with salaries for those further along in their careers reaching as high as $101,700. 

Salaries also depend on location. For example, Payscale reports that individuals in New York state earned an average of 31.4% more than the national median.

4. Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) Director

An environmental health and safety director’s primary duty is to ensure that all health, safety, and environmental regulations are followed correctly. These regulations may be local, state, or federally recognized. EHS directors also work to implement new safety plans and create goals and objectives to increase effectiveness. Additionally, they arrange and lead site safety, health, and environmental audits and inspections. 


Environmental health and safety directors are usually required to have a bachelor’s degree in occupational health and safety, environmental health and safety management, or a related health or safety field. Many EHS directors have previous experience in a health and safety role, such as occupational health and safety manager. EHS directors should also be certified by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) or another certifying board.

Like other health and safety careers, EHS directors should have excellent interpersonal, analytical, observational, and communicative skills. 

Find out if a degree with Athens State University is right for you.


EHS directors also earn competitive salaries, with entry-level professionals earning $75,000 and up, according to Payscale. The median annual salary for EHS directors was $116,000 as of May 2022, with experienced professionals in the field earning as much as $154,000. 

Payscale states that EHS directors located in Houston, Seattle, and Dallas all earned more than the national median salary. 

Start Your Career in Occupational Health and Safety Today

With the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projecting that positions for occupational health and safety professionals will grow 7% between 2020 and 2030 and the everlasting importance of safety regulations, this field is ripe with opportunity for new graduates. 

Athens State University’s online Bachelor of Science in Occupational Health and Safety Management offers coursework in protecting workers, responding to risks, and developing strategies to prevent further workplace hazards. Learn more about what Athens State can offer you, and jump-start your career in occupational health and safety management today. 


Payscale, Bachelor of Science (BS/BSc), Occupational Health and Safety Degree

Payscale, Average Environmental Health & Safety (EHS) Director Salary

Payscale, Average Medical and Health Services Manager Salary

Payscale, Average Occupational Health Manager Salary

Payscale, Average Risk Manager Salary

Robert Half, “Risk Management Job Description and Duties”

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Health and Safety Specialists 

ZipRecruiter, “Occupational Health Manager: What Is It? and How to Become One?”

You can get the tools you need to start your career, with Athens State University

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