How to Become a Safety Coordinator

How to Become a Safety Coordinator: Career Path Guide

To become a safety coordinator you typically need a diploma or a degree in occupational health and safety, or a closely related field.


You can also get into this career by working your way up with an employer that hires safety coordinators; they may even help pay for any classes you will need to take to move into the role of safety coordinator.


If you want to become a safety coordinator, you first need to determine if this career path is a good fit for your skills, interests and personality traits. If the following description sounds like you, then you’re probably well suited for a career as a safety coordinator:


• You have a keen interest in occupational health and safety

• You are comfortable motivating and educating others

• You are assertive and self-confident

• You are able to proactively identify and prevent hazardous situations and take measures to correct them

• You are comfortable resolving conflicts and reprimanding employees, when necessary

• You are interested in a career that combines office work with site work

• You are interested in a lucrative career path in the construction industry


Below we've outlined what you'll need to begin a career as a safety coordinator. We've also included helpful information for this career, such as job description, job duties, salary expectations, educational requirements, a list of possible employer types, and much more!



Education Needed to Become a Safety Coordinator

In order to become a safety coordinator, you typically need a college diploma or undergraduate degree in a field closely related to Occupational Health and Safety, Human Resources, or a Similar Field.


If the demand for safety coordinators is high enough in your region, employers may hire you directly out of school without relevant work experience, provided you have relevant post-secondary education.


Although some employers may accept many years of relevant work experience as a substitute for post-secondary education, many prefer to hire candidates who have a post-secondary degree or diploma in a related field in addition to relevant work experience.


Success Tip: Try browsing safety coordinator jobs on job search websites in order to see the educational requirements that various employers have for safety coordinators.




Safety Coordinator Job Description

Safety coordinators are responsible for developing and implementing safety programs for manufacturing facilities, as well as construction and mining sites and projects. They are also typically responsible for providing safety related training.



Safety Coordinator Job Duties

• Perform construction site and shop safety inspections

• Provide documentation and communication related to the results of inspections

• Make recommendations regarding necessary corrective measures based on the results of inspections

• Provide training to personnel on a variety of health and safety topics

• Provide technical testing and monitoring services as necessary

• Ensure all site and regional safety regulations and legislation are adhered to



Who Creates Jobs for Safety Coordinators?

Safety coordinators may be hired on a part-time, full-time or contractual basis. The following types of organizations typically employ them:


• Mining companies

• Oil and gas extraction and refinement companies

• Heavy-duty machine operation companies

• Construction companies

• Professional, scientific and technical service companies

• Safety consulting companies

• Municipal, provincial/state and federal government agencies

• Manufacturing companies

• Agricultural production companies

• Utility companies

• Construction companies

• Industrial maintenance companies


Certification Needed to Become a Safety Coordinator

Although certification as a safety coordinator is largely voluntary (as there is no legislation regulating this occupation in Canada or the United States), many employers encourage or require it. Certification is available through several organizations, and the exact credentials may vary by the safety coordinator’s area of specialty (such as oil and gas, construction site, mining, etc.).


Voluntary certification for safety coordinators typically requires completion of an educational program and/or a specified amount of work experience, combined with the successful completion of an exam.




Experience Needed to Become a Safety Coordinator

Even with a related diploma or degree, some employers may require that you have a 1-5 years of work experience related to the operations of the company you wish to work as a safety coordinator for. The experience requirements may vary on the following factors:


• The discretion of the employer

• The level of competition for safety coordinator job vacancies

• The demand for safety coordinators in a specific region

• The industry in which the employer operates


Employers that require work experience in addition to education typically do so because they deem it necessary for gaining the required knowledge and on-the-job competencies (such as working knowledge of construction site safety) that relate to laws, rules and regulations specific to your employer’s region and industry.


Working entry-level positions, such as an assistant to a safety coordinator, will provide valuable on-the-job experience and facilitate career advancement. Some employers may even pay for any required schooling that you need to advance your safety coordinator career.


Success Tip: While you are in school, try looking for a job as an assistant to a safety coordinator or working as support staff for the safety department of an employer you’d like to work for when you graduate.



Safety Coordinator Salary

The salary level of safety coordinators can vary, typically depending on the following factors:


• Their level of education

• Their level of experience

• Any certification they may have

• The region in which they work

• The size of their employer

• The industry sector in which they work


Safety Coordinator Salary Alberta: According to the 2013 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey, Albertans working in the Inspectors in Public and Environmental Health and Occupational Health and Safety occupational group earn an average salary of $78,831 per year.


Safety Coordinator Salary Canada: According to Service Canada, the average salary level of Canadian workers in the Inspectors - Public and Environmental Health and Occupational Health occupational group is $55,376 per year.


Safety Coordinator Salary United States: According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary level of American workers in the Occupational Health and Safety Specialists occupational group is $66,790 per year.



Characteristics Needed to Become a Safety Coordinator

In order to enjoy performing the duties of a safety coordinator, you need to have certain characteristics. Taking enjoyment from your job duties is important, as it helps you maintain a positive attitude towards your work, which can lead to having a long and successful career.


• An interest in occupational health and safety

• Strong drive for results

• Assertive and self-confident

• Open-minded and objective

• Good level of personal health and physical fitness

• Enjoy having clear rules and methods for work

• Could see yourself taking enjoyment from acting as an advocate for workers



Skills Needed to Become a Safety Coordinator

In order to become effective in a career as a safety coordinator and perform your job duties with competence, you need to posses a certain set of skills, including:


Occupational Health & Safety Skills: First and foremost, safety coordinators need to have excellent working knowledge of safety and environment laws, rules and regulations of the industry they work in. They must also be able to proactively identify and prevent hazardous situations and take necessary measures to correct them, and ensure that employees and subcontractors to ensure they are compliant with safety procedures.


Communication Skills: Safety coordinators must be able to communicate effectively when training employees, as well as when monitoring them on the job. For example, Safety coordinators must be able to motivate employees to appreciate the importance of Health  & Safety when delivering training programs. When on the job, they must have the ability to delegate and influence others to follow safety rules and regulations. They must also be able to let management know when regulations are not being adhered to, and must be able to apply mediation and conflict resolution skills when disagreements arise.


Technical Skills: Safety coordinators also need an array of skills in the use of technology in order to perform their jobs effectively; they must be proficient in the use of various office software, including Microsoft Outlook, Word and Excel. They must also be able to work with complex testing equipment.



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Safety Coordinator Career: Work Environment

Working Hours: The working hours of safety officers vary considerably from one job to the next, as their hours typically reflect the hours of the workplaces they are responsible for. Some work standard weekday working hours, while others may be involved in shift work that involves evening and/or weekend work. Overtime may be required on occasion, particularly after an incident or a hazardous situation has been identified.


Work Setting: Safety coordinators are typically based out of an office, which may be their company’s head office, or a site-based office. They also spend a considerable amount of time on site (which may be a construction site, production facility, etc., depending on the industry in which they work). Safety coordinators may be responsible for a large territory, or a single site. Their jobs may involve a good amount of travel, as they may have to commute to and from their job site, or multiple job sites, throughout the day or week.


Working Conditions: Safety coordinators spend a lot of their time on site or in the field where they may be exposed to potentially dangerous situations. They are commonly required to enter confined spaces, climb ladders and work in dusty conditions. They may also be required to reprimand employees or contractors that are not obeying site, company and governmental safety policies and regulations. 



Careers Similar to Safety Coordinator

Listed below are careers in our database that are similar in nature to Safety Coordinator, as they may involve many of the same skills, competencies and responsibilities.


Chemical Safety Officer

Environmental Auditor

Food Safety Auditor

Human Resources Coordinator

Public Health Inspector



References: Safety Coordinator Career Information

Please consult the references below to find more information on the various aspects of a career as a safety coordinator.


Occupations in Alberta:Occupational Health and Safety Officer.” (March 31, 2017). ALIS website - Alberta Learning Information Service. Retrieved January 13, 2020.

Healthcare:Occupational Health and Safety Specialists and Technicians.” (September 4, 2019). Bureau of Labor Statistics - United States Government website. Retrieved January 13, 2020.


Please Note: Some of the information for this career guide was gathered from actual job postings, which due to the brief nature of their online presence, are not listed here as sources.




Scholarships for Becoming a Safety Coordinator

Scholarships listed for majors that apply to becoming a Safety Coordinator can be found on our All Scholarships by Major page.


Success Tip: Be sure to apply for any scholarships that you even barely qualify for, as there are millions of dollars of scholarships that go unused every year due to a lack of applicants!



Becoming a Safety Coordinator: Applicable Majors

Studying one of the university majors listed below is an excellent starting point to becoming a safety coordinator. Click on the links to find out what else you can do with these majors!


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