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ASSE Survey Finds Education Pays

For members of the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE), education and experience pay…big time. A compensation analysis survey found that members with college degrees and/or professional certification earn $10,000 or more above those without.

The survey found the average member salary in 2003 was $74,000, with half of the respondents receiving a bonus of between $1,000 - $5,000. The majority of those surveyed anticipate a salary increase this year of about 4.6 percent, or between 1 and 5 percent of their current salary base.

The survey, conducted by Block Research Inc., found that professional ASSE members (those with a P.E., CSP, CIH, CHP, CRSP or IOSH-RSP or BA from an accredited college plus 10 years of safety experience) earn nearly $10,000 more than those without professional certification. The survey also found that having a Bachelor's degree adds nearly $12,000 to a safety professional's salary and a Master's degree adds nearly $20,000 compared to safety professionals with a high school diploma only. A certified safety professional (CSP) designation adds $10,500 to a salary. In addition to salary and bonuses, 61 percent of ASSE members say they are reimbursed for professional development, with the annual amount spent per employee ranging from $1,000 to $10,000.

The survey found that safety, health and environmental (SH&E) practitioners with 10 or more years' of experience earn about $20,000 more than those with less than 5 years' experience. As responsibility and stature within a company increase, so too, does salary rising from $57,410 for entry-level positions to $97,760 for executive-level positions.

Survey results found the electronics and finance industries ranked the highest in terms of compensation for SH&E practitioners, with education and agriculture ranking the lowest.

The 34-question survey developed by ASSE was sent to a randomly selected group of 2,500 members and professional members. Of the 1,624 returned surveys, respondents represented all business categories with more than half from the manufacturing, construction, insurance, services and public administration sector. The median age of the respondents was 46-50 years of age and 93 percent work full time, with 7 percent self-employed. In the majority of the companies represented by respondents, safety and health functions are grouped together, with environmental functions handled separately. Fifty-one percent surveyed say they are responsible for 100 percent of their company's safety, health and environmental budget.

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