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How to Become an OSHA Inspector

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) employs OSHA safety inspectors to review and improve workplace conditions. So, this is done per federal health and safety regulations. Becoming an OSHA safety inspector might be rewarding if you’re passionate about workplace safety. So, you can choose from one of three OSHA career tracks. First, gain an OSHA safety inspector certification as needed, depending on your interests as a health reviewer.

Acquiring the Required Education to Become an OSHA Safety Inspector

Choosing from One of Three Career Paths

Potential OSHA safety inspectors can choose from the three employment paths. The OSHA safety inspectors primarily specialize in occupational health and safety, safety engineering, and industrial hygiene. The path you choose will assist you in deciding which college classes to take and which OSHA certifications to obtain later.

  • Occupational health and safety inspectors work on employee comfort matters, such as lighting and ventilation.
  • Inspectors of Safety Engineering examine designs and methods that assist workplaces in complying with health and safety regulations.
  • Industrial Hygiene Inspectors address environmental issues such as noise, hazardous chemicals, and biohazards.

Obtain a Bachelor’s Degree Relevant to OSHA’s Safety and Health Standards

You can prepare yourself to become an OSHA safety inspector by studying life sciences, such as biology or occupational health, and physical or mathematics disciplines, such as chemistry or engineering. Therefore, in order to set yourself apart from other candidates, consider majoring in a biological science subject and minoring in a physical or quantitative discipline.

  • A civil or mechanical engineering degree will give you the best chance to launch your career as a safety engineering inspector.
  • To be certified, safety engineering inspectors must have a bachelor’s degree.

Enrolling in OSHA Online Courses Relevant to Your Career as an OSHA Safety Inspector

Although on-the-job training is standard in OSHA professions, having a working knowledge of federal health and safety standards might help you stand out as a desirable candidate.

  • If your college offers health and safety courses, take classes related to your chosen career path. These may include courses on risk communications and handling hazardous materials.
  • If you wish to work as an industrial hygiene inspector, you need to take a hazardous materials handling course.

Get a Master’s or Doctorate Degree to Qualify for more Lucrative Jobs

To excel in your career as an OSHA safety inspector, you will most likely require a master’s or a Ph.D. degree. The most appropriate degree options would be engineering, occupational health and safety, environmental health, industrial hygiene, health physics, biosecurity, emergency preparedness, or safety management. Besides, the average annual OSHA inspector salary in the United States as of September 18, 2023, is $48,792 a year, making it the best career choice in today’s occupational landscape.

How to Become an OSHA Safety Inspector Without a Degree?

Individuals often search for this common query regarding landing an OSHA Safety Inspector job without a bachelor’s degree. Though it is possible to some extent, it may require a combination of fundamental education, experience, and certification. 

Since a degree is not always a strict requirement, you can take the following steps to become an OSHA safety inspector without having a bachelor’s degree:

  • Understand the Requirements: Become familiar with OSHA’s requirements for OSHA safety inspectors.
  • Earn Relevant Work Experience: Since OSHA highly values adequate work experience in industries pertinent to health and safety, take the initial step by taking entry-level job positions such as safety technician, safety coordinator, or safety specialist to obtain hands-on experience.
  • Get Certified: Enroll in various OSHA certifications, such as the Certified Safety and Health Official (CSHO) designation, which will enable you to demonstrate your awareness and commitment to workplace safety.
  • Enroll in OSHA Online Training: With various OSHA online training courses designed to enhance site safety knowledge and skills of individuals under OSHA standards, you can opt for any OSHA online course of your choice from a reputable and OSHA-authorized OSHA Training Institute or OSHA training provider.
  • Networking: By joining professional organizations, such as the American Society of Safety Professionals (ASSP), and attending workshops and seminars, you can form a vast network with others in the site safety field and get regular updates on the latest industry trends, OSHA regulations, and best practices.  
  • Start Preparing for Interviews: Be prepared to discuss your relevant work experience, certifications, and OSHA safety training during interviews. Outline any achievements or projects that prove your commitment to workplace safety.

Gaining Work Experience to Become an OSHA Safety Inspector

OSHA Safety Inspectors and Occupational Health Technicians collaborate to collect data for analyzing and improving workplace settings. Most technical occupations demand a high school diploma as a minimum qualification. Apply for a technical position to obtain relevant experience while completing your bachelor’s degree.

  • Look for vacancies for OSHA safety inspector jobs at your local OSHA offices and surrounding hospitals, construction companies, and safety consulting agencies.
  • As a high school student seeking technician jobs, you should opt for English, mathematics, chemistry, biology, and physics.

Apply for OSHA Safety Inspector Jobs Outside of OSHA

OSHA is not the only employer of OSHA Safety Inspectors. Private companies also require occupational health and safety inspectors to ensure compliance with OSHA regulations and guidelines is met. OSHA safety inspector jobs in these companies will demand similar qualifications to those offered by OSHA. They both require a science-related degree and a hands-on knowledge of federal OSHA safety regulations. If you are initially unable to secure a job as an OSHA safety inspector, you may find work with other employers. The experience gained here will help in getting to work as an OSHA safety inspector in the future.

Seek Jobs that Require Communication Skills

OSHA safety inspectors must have excellent communication skills to negotiate with companies and create inspection reports. To improve your chances of becoming an OSHA safety inspector, look for a profession that needs written and oral communication.

Obtain OSHA Safety Inspector Certifications

Although certification is not required for most OSHA positions, it will certainly help your application stand out. However, you must complete a series of classes and pass a given test at the end of your certification course to get an OSHA safety inspector certification.

Become an OSHA Inspector

How Long Does it Take to Become an OSHA Safety Inspector?

It requires at least an average of 1-2 years of adequate job training to become an OSHA Safety Inspector. Additionally, obtaining an OSHA safety inspector certification, such as an OSHA 30 Certificate, will more likely help you to achieve the job faster.

Search Online for Vacant OSHA Positions in your Area

Check the Department of Labor’s website for OSHA safety inspector positions regularly. Before applying for these jobs, you must create a Department of Labor profile with your personal information.

Acing an OSHA Safety Inspector Job Interview

You should have at least 3 to 4 safety work experiences to talk about during your interview to let your interviewer consider you as someone keen on occupational health and safety. It would be best to discuss instances where you have improved working conditions in previous jobs.

Things to do after becoming an OSHA Safety Inspector

Complete on-the-job Training

Even if you still need relevant health inspector experience, it is okay. As an occupational health and safety inspector, you will likely receive training in federal and state safety regulations, inspection procedures, and hazard recognition. The training time will vary depending on your education and prior job experience. However, it can typically last for a month.

Be Prepared for Frequent Travel as an OSHA Safety Inspector

It is different from a typical 9-5 desk job. You will be required to frequently visit other offices, factories, hospitals, etc., for inspections. Most of your working hours will be spent out in the field. You will be working more than 40 hours a week. You may also be on duty during odd hours to address emergencies. If you prefer sitting behind a desk, you are not the right fit for such a job.

Keep Building on your Safety Skills

It is crucial to keep enhancing your occupational safety skillset, even when you become an OSHA safety inspector. Enrolling in the OSHA 30 online training course will help you improve those skills, enhance your credentials, and go a long way in advancing your career as an OSHA Safety inspector.