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OSHA, or Occupational Safety and Health Administration, is a federal agency that monitors working conditions across all industries and professions. The fact that it’s a government agency can complicate getting employment due to the fact you have to “fit” a certain profile for OSHA inspection jobs, but if you can pass a background check and fulfill other requirements, you stand a good chance at getting employment.
What Do OSHA Employees Do?
OSHA professionals take on many different kinds of jobs, such as:
- environmental health
- workplace safety
- warehouse process technician
- air base security officer
- job training
- basic areas workflow coordination
- distribution center associates
- youth care professional
- warehouse supervisor
They do not perform law enforcement duties, but dangerous conditions may be reported to law enforcement, especially if federal laws have been violate. For instance, a company hiring distribution center associates may have to provide safety training; if they do not, they are violating the law.
How to Become an Occupational Health and Safety Specialist or Technician?
A Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Specialist or Technician is responsible for ensuring safety programs and protocols are implemented and maintained in a workplace. They audit workplace practices, investigate mishaps, and develop and deliver safety programs that reduce the risk of injury or illness. Professionals who work in these roles need education plus training and experience. In addition, there are qualities, skills and also certifications that make candidates more desirable for specific jobs.
I Want to Work for OSHA. What Do I Have to Do?
So you’ve seen the latest job alert for OSHA. What do you do? Working for OSHA entails inspecting workplaces for compliance and health and safety violations. Many people start working for OSHA as an entry level inspector and are hired at the GS-6 pay scale, or General Schedule 6. A GS-6 job requires the applicant to have at least one year of experience at the GS-5 level or possess an associate’s or bachelor’s degree. You may also be required to demonstrate specialized experience that’s relevant to the OSHA inspection job you’re applying for.
What Kind of Education Do You Need to Work for OSHA?
In order to work for OSHA without prior employment as an inspector, you should have an associate’s degree at the very least and the degree should cover a type of health and safety training. If you have experience working as a safety inspector in a given field, you can earn certifications in safety and health for a variety of industries and apply for employment at OSHA in a related role. OSHA inspector jobs require applicants to have education, experience, or both in order to be considered as a qualified candidate for the role.
When looking at getting a degree for an OSHA inspection job, you should focus on majoring in a field of study that involves one of the following: health sciences, biology, mathematics, and chemistry. You may also want to earn certificates related to the construction field as OSHA inspector jobs also focus on industrial and construction compliance.
Another avenue towards employment at OSHA is to have military experience working in an inspection role. Having a military career with commendations for the work you did as an inspector is something that can give you an edge when it comes to working for OSHA. The agency recognizes that you underwent training to know how to hold other members of the military accountable for their work, to perform their jobs correctly, and to maintain safety standards at all times. This education and experience translates well to the civilian world and is equivalent to education and work experience for a civilian.
What Experience Do You Need to Work for OSHA?
According to OSHA, the specialized experience requirements to get hired at GS-6 include experience in “identifying, preventing or eliminating safety hazards in a production process or environmental conditions.” You also need to have experience inspecting physical locations for safety violations, the ability to identify an existing problem and how to correct the problem as well as showing how to perform the process in a safe and correct manner after the safety violation has been identified.
If you’ve previously worked as a safety inspector for a private employer or local government for at least one year, you are qualified to work for OSHA under their hiring standards. Inspector jobs can include fire safety inspection, medical technician, industrial hygiene inspector, and any role that involves ensuring safety and health compliance within a given industry. How do you know airlines are delivering high quality care to customers in flight? An inspector.
A successful candidate may work multiple shifts or in part time positions in areas ranging from basic supervision to inventory control. OSHA works to protect life
What Certifications Do You Need to Work for OSHA?
Professional certifications are available through several organizations.
- Board for Global EHS Credentialing (BGC)
- Board of Certified Safety Professions (BCSP)
- National Association of Safety Professionals (NASP)
What Important Skills Do You Need to Work for OSHA?
- Knowledge of OSHA safety standards and regulations: A strong understanding of OSHA laws and regulations will be necessary to work for and enforce the agency’s mission.
- Interpersonal and communication skills: Building or maintaining effective relationships with employers, employees, and other government agencies requires strong communication and interpersonal skills.
- Analytical thinking: OSHA workers are often tasked with analyzing risk factors and making decisions as to whether an organization or employer is in compliance with OSHA regulations.
- Technical expertise: Technical skills are needed to evaluate and inspect workplaces to ensure employers are following OSHA’s guidelines and advice.
What is the Job Outlook and Salary Working for OSHA?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expects employment of occupational health and safety specialists and technicians to grow overall by 13% over the next decade which may result in an additional 17,000 jobs.
|Job Title||Job Growth||New Jobs||Average Salary|
|Occupational Health and Safety Specialists||13%||15,200||$78,570 (BLS)|
|Occupational Health and Safety Technicians||10%||2,500||$57,970 (BLS)|
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), reports the average salary for all occupational health and safety specialists and technicians is $75, 240 per year. As previously mentioned, OSHA inspection jobs typically start at the GS-6 level. The schedule base payscale is based upon the metropolitan area that you live in. That is, if you live in the Chicago-Naperville metro area, you can expect to earn $44,973 as an entry-level inspector. Each schedule has what’s known as a step, and there are 10 steps in each GS. Therefore, you may find yourself hired at the GS-6 level with a step 1 salary for an entry-level inspector. The longer you work for OSHA, the higher your step can go. GS-6 pay maxes out at around $58,000, depending on location, but you may be moved up to the next payscale, GS-7, before you reach step 10 in GS-6.
Getting a raise while working at OSHA is based on time spent in your career. If you have acceptable or exceptional performance, you’ll go up a step in pay during years 1 to 3, every two years at steps 4 to 6, and every three years at steps 7 to 9. It takes 18 years of employment to go from step 1 to 10 if an employee stays in the same pay grade. However, the agency can authorize advancement to a higher step in a shorter amount of time and promote an employee to the next payscale at its discretion.
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Aya Andrews is a passionate educator and mother of two, with a diverse background that has shaped her approach to teaching and learning. Born in Metro Manila, she now calls San Diego home and is proud to be a Filipino-American. Aya earned her Masters degree in Education from San Diego State University, where she focused on developing innovative teaching methods to engage and inspire students.
Prior to her work in education, Aya spent several years as a continuing education consultant for KPMG, where she honed her skills in project management and client relations. She brings this same level of professionalism and expertise to her work as an educator, where she is committed to helping each of her students achieve their full potential.
In addition to her work as an educator, Aya is a devoted mother who is passionate about creating a nurturing and supportive home environment for her children. She is an active member of her community, volunteering her time and resources to support local schools and organizations. Aya is also an avid traveler, and loves to explore new cultures and cuisines with her family.
With a deep commitment to education and a passion for helping others succeed, Aya is a true inspiration to those around her. Her dedication to her craft, her community, and her family is a testament to her unwavering commitment to excellence in all aspects of her life.