Professional development

Job Outlook 2014

Students often find an environmental, health and safety major is the perfect mix of science and helping people – so why aren't more aware that EHS is a career option?


What attracts people to EHS?

Job demand and good salaries are not the only factors that drive people to become safety professionals. This year’s Job Outlook survey included space for respondents to explain what attracted them to the field, and many described motivations such as wanting to make a difference, being faced with interesting challenges each day, and having a job that uses both science and people skills.

In their own words:

“Bottom line, I want to help workers survive a workday.”

“I worked in the steel industry and saw many injuries. I was an hourly worker and thought something should be different. I decided that I wanted to make a difference.”

“I enjoy working with all levels of associates from top management to hourly associates.”

“It is also a noble profession, [and] while sometimes thankless, it is great to know that you are making an impact.”

“New challenges each day.”

“Not a desk job. Interacting with people.”


“I love to use critical thinking skills daily to solve real-world problems that arise. It is never boring or monotonous.”

“The safety profession allows me to influence people in a positive way while challenging me intellectually.”

“Endless education opportunities.”

“The combination of biology, physics, psychology, law and human interaction.”

In conversations with students, Wells hears a common reason for their interest in EHS: service. “[This] generation is more about helping each other, working with each other,” Wells said. “So when you look at the safety and health profession, it’s serving your fellow man, and it fits right in with what we’ve been teaching these kids for the last decade as far as community service goes.”

On the following pages, some readers share their journey to becoming a safety professional.

> Next: Veteran EHS pros talk about how they got their start

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