In this article, we profile the top 15 most affordable online master’s in safety management programs of 2020.
Affordable graduate degrees in safety management are available online from some of the nation’s top ranked, accredited colleges and universities. Safety management is an expansive field that employs health and safety engineers, occupational health specialists, and safety techniques. Through research from reputable sources, we found affordable options for master’s safety management online degrees.
Top 15 Most Affordable Online Master’s in Safety Management Programs Methodology
We looked at approximately 40 colleges and universities listed by the Center for Educational Statistics (NCES) College Navigator that offered affordable master’s in safety management online programs. We narrowed our original pool of schools by applying the following criteria: Accreditation, online completion options, school or program rankings with U.S. News and World Report, and graduate tuition/fees less than $18,000 per year. We listed the programs according to raw affordability.
Below is our list of the most affordable master’s in safety management online programs for 2020.
#15 – Oakland University
Online Master’s in Safety Management
Rochester Hills, Michigan
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $17,712
Developed through a cooperative effort between the School of Health Sciences and the School of Business Administration, the online safety management programs at Oakland University offer a unique blend of courses and curriculum. Courses emphasize both business and risk assessment. These courses are delivered entirely online and cover topics like advanced safety and health administration, applied system safety analysis, legal environment of business, and risk assessment and loss control. Admission to the program requires an earned bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution with a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0. The GRE is also required. Oakland University ranks with major publications like U.S. News and World Report. In fact, U.S. News ranks the school #230-#301 in best national universities.
#14 – University of Findlay
Online Master’s in Environmental, Safety and Health Management
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $16,000
Designed to prepare students for leadership positions in the environmental industry, the online master’s in safety management is a fully online and flexible two-year program. Classes are offered every eight weeks and move at a rigorous pace. These courses include environmental health and epidemiology, organizational theory and behavior, production operations and auditing, and public policy and communication. Elective courses can be taken from four different areas of concentration, such as accounting and human resources, disaster management, laws and policy, and pollution and waste control. U.S. News and World Report ranks University of Findlay #37 in best regional universities in the Midwest and #51 in best value schools.
#13 – Lewis University
Online Master’s in Public Safety Administration
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $14,550
Lewis University’s online master’s in safety management is a 36-hour program that provides students with courses and curriculum designed to meet the needs of public safety professionals. The fully online program offers a comprehensive understanding of emergency management and response, environmental protection, and public safety. Courses include fiscal management for public safety administrators, labor relations in the public sector, public safety law and civil liability, and public safety training – management and development. Lewis is ranked and accredited. In fact, U.S. News and World Report ranks the institution #20 in best regional universities in the Midwest and #36 in best value schools.
#12 – Central Washington University
Online Master’s in Safety and Health Management
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $11,116
The master’s in safety management online program at Central Washington University prepares students with executive-level skills and knowledge to work in the environmental health industry. Following an online format that takes two years and one summer to complete, the program engages students with online discussion, real-world projects, and distance learning classes. Some of the required courses include advanced industrial hygiene, crisis management and continuity of operations, EHS analytics, EHS research methods, and risk management principles and practices. To apply, students must submit three letters of recommendation, official transcripts, and hold an earned bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution. CWU ranks #48 in best regional universities in the West, #51 in best value schools, and #10 in top public schools.
#11 – Eastern Kentucky University
Online Master’s in Safety, Security, and Emergency Management
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $10,570
Eastern Kentucky University’s master’s in safety management online program helps prepare students for work in the safety industry. Nearly every sector of the U.S. economy relies on safety measures and practices. EKU offers an online master’s program that can be completed in just two years. Coursework is 100% online and flexibly designed to meet the educational needs of working students. Courses include corporate compliance, industrial safety management, and personal and environmental hazards. The program and school are nationally recognized. In fact, U.S. News and World Report ranks EKU #76 in best regional universities in the South and #28 in top public schools.
#10 – Indiana University
Online Master’s in Applied Health Science – Safety Management
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $10,564
Indiana University’s online master’s in safety management prepares students for a wide variety of occupations protecting the public from threats in several different contexts. Specifically, the curriculum focuses on developing graduates to assume safety management jobs in both the public and private sectors. Courses include introduction to research in safety management, managing occupational health programs, principles and foundations in public health, and safety management in business and industry. The program requires completion of 30 credits and is delivered entirely online, making it an excellent option for working professionals. U.S. News and World Report ranks Indiana University #89 in national universities.
#9 – West Virginia University
Online Master’s in Safety Management
Morgantown, West Virginia
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $9,990
The Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering offers a master’s in safety management online that can be completed entirely online with no campus visit requirements. The program has five different start times, ensuring students do not have to wait lengthy periods of time to matriculate. Additionally, individuals with military service may receive credit due to their experience in the armed forces. Students from all academic backgrounds are welcome to apply. Application requirements include a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution and 3.0 minimum GPA. West Virginia is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. The program is accredited by the Applied Sciences Accreditation Commission of the Accreditation Board of Engineering and Technology. U.S. News and World Report ranks West Virginia #205 in national universities.
#8 – Murray State University
Online Master’s in Occupational Safety and Health
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $9,114
Murray State University offers one of the most affordable online safety management programs designed to prepare those working in the field for leadership positions. The program is especially relevant for individuals with a bachelor’s degree in occupational safety. The 100% online degree is accredited by the Applied and Natural Science Accreditation Commission of ABET. The cohort-based program’s courses are all taught by Murray State professors and requires no on-campus residencies. Courses may include current literature and research in safety and health, industrial hygiene and safety program development, legal aspects of safety and health, and occupational safety and health organizational leadership and management. Murray State is ranked #34 in regional universities South by U.S. News and World Report.
#7 – University of Wisconsin
Online Master’s in Environmental Safety and Health
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $8,957
Through its College of Business and Economics, the University of Wisconsin Whitewater provides working professionals with an online master’s in safety management that requires no on-campus time. The program’s part-time structure means students can continue with their careers while also pursuing their graduate degree. The part-time model still allows for completion in just two years. The program’s curriculum is approved by the Board of Certified Safety Professionals as a GSP Qualified Academic Program. Students can choose from a 30 or 36-credit option. U.S. News and World Report ranks the University of Wisconsin Whitewater in multiple categories including #12 in top public schools and #65 in regional universities Midwest.
#6 – University of Alabama
Online Master’s in Advanced Safety Engineering Management
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $8,100
The University of Alabama Birmingham offers a master’s in safety management online through its School of Engineering. The program is unique in that it blends engineering concepts and principles with advanced safety curriculum. The program is designed for current safety professionals and is the first engineering degree of its kind to offer a safety emphasis and be offered entirely online. Students from all backgrounds are welcome to apply, although a bachelor’s degree in engineering is recommended. No GRE is required, and students can finish in just five semesters. Courses may include crisis leadership and safety critical design, human performance and engineering design and policy issues in prevention through design. U.S. News and World Report ranks University of Alabama Birmingham #157 in national universities.
#5 – University of Central Missouri
Online Master’s in Occupational Safety Management
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $8,067
The University of Central Missouri offers a master’s in safety management online that offers students a rich experience preparing them for leadership positions in the field. Students will gain experience through engagement with curriculum, cutting edge curriculum, conference attendance, and paid internships. Working professionals are not required to attend conferences or participate in internships. The online program is designed for current and aspiring safety professionals to pursue their graduate degree in an efficient and convenient manner. Graduates are conferred the degree along with the designation of Graduate Safety Practitioner noted on his or her transcript. U.S. News and World Report ranks the University of Central Missouri in multiple categories such as #63 in best value schools and #81 in top regional universities Midwest.
#4 – Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
Online Master’s in Occupational Safety Management
Daytona Beach, Florida
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $7,980
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University offers an online master’s in safety management for working professionals, many of whom are employed in the safety and health field. The program is practitioner based and focuses on teaching students the necessary skills and functions to excel as a top safety professional and leader. The curriculum also assists students in preparation for certification by the Board of Safety Professionals. Courses may include disaster preparedness and emergency response, hazard control methods in occupational safety and health, human factors and ergonomics, and occupational safety and health management. U.S. News and World Report ranks Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University #46 in best value schools and #15 in top regional universities South.
#3 – Indiana State University
Online Master’s in Occupational Safety Management
Terre Haute, Indiana
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $7,616
Indiana State University offers one of the most affordable master’s in safety management online that requires no campus visitations. The program is especially relevant for those working in safety occupations that need a graduate degree to improve their career standing. The university is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. The program is accredited by The Association of Technology, Management and Applied Engineering (ATMAE). The 33-credit program can be completed in just one calendar year with most students taking two years to graduate. Students are given a maximum of seven years to complete the degree. U.S. News and World Report ranks Indiana State #230 in national universities.
#2 – Southeastern Oklahoma State University
Online MBA with Emphasis in Safety
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $5,022
Southeastern Oklahoma State University offers one of the most innovative online safety management programs in the country. The program is housed within The John Massey School of Business and blends business coursework with safety concepts and practices that prepare students for top safety occupations across a wide spectrum of contexts. The program is accredited by The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. Courses may include advanced safety program management, contemporary issues in management, crisis preparedness and occupational security, and data analysis for managers. U.S. News and World Report ranks Southeastern Oklahoma State University #96 in top regional universities West.
#1 – Columbia Southern University
Online Master’s in Occupational Safety and Health
Orange Beach, Alabama
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $3,735
Columbia Southern University offers the most affordable of all online safety management programs in the country based on its low tuition rates and fees. The program is recognized as a Graduate Safety Practitioner Qualified Academic Program by the Board of Certified Safety Professionals. The 36-credit program allows students to transfer up to 18 credits from other institutions and programs upon approval. Courses may include advanced toxicology, business ethics, emergency management, integrated safety management systems, and system safety engineering. Because the program is entirely online, it serves as an excellent choice for current or aspiring safety professionals that need the convenience of a distance education.
Frequently Asked Questions
What can I do with a master’s in safety management online degree?
A master’s in safety management opens doors to a wide spectrum of careers in a variety of industries. Careers may include industrial safety management, fire safety, construction safety, hazard control, emergency management, workplace safety, healthcare safety management, and much more.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a common career for those with a master’s in safety management is an occupational health and safety manager. These individuals lead teams of occupational health and safety technicians and specialists who analyze work environments and processes to determine potential risk factors. Their job is to minimize and mitigate risk as well as develop procedures and training programs when an occupational hazard occurs. Additionally, their job is to make sure individuals and organizations are aware of and adhere to safety regulations and laws.
The job often blends knowledge from a large variety of fields including information technology, engineering, healthcare, and communications. Safety managers are often required to complete several hours of continuing education to keep abreast of changing safety regulations and laws. Safety managers can work for a specific organization or they may provide consulting for several different organizations within a particular sector such as healthcare, manufacturing, emergency management, product and consumer safety, and more.
What is the job outlook for individuals with master’s safety management online degrees?
According to the United States Government’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, the occupational growth rate for individuals with a graduate degree in safety management or a related field is expected to be slightly above average. For context, all occupations are expected to increase by 7% during the time period of 2016-2026. Bureau of Labor Statistics data shows occupational health and safety technicians and health and safety engineers’ growth rates will be 8% and 9% respectively.
Because these occupations require just a bachelor’s degree, those with a master’s degree in safety should expect to have an advantage in obtaining positions. Demand is driven by increased regulatory compliance and an ever-increasing litigious work environment. Applicants with a background in engineering, sciences, multiple fields, or healthcare will have the best prospects.
As with other occupations, employment levels vary by region. The top states employing safety professionals include Texas, California, New York, and Pennsylvania. Individuals living in these areas or those willing to relocate should see improved prospects compared to other geographic regions.
Major employers hiring safety specialists and managers include the federal government, local government, scientific and engineering consultancies, and state government. Other hiring sectors include commercial construction, scientific research and development, and architectural and engineering services.
How much can I earn with a master’s in safety management online degree?
An individual with a master’s in safety management online degree can earn a very attractive salary compared to the average occupational salary, according to our research conducted using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The salaries among safety jobs reflect the diversity of safety occupations that cross several industries. Health and safety engineers earn an average salary of $89,310 per year. The lowest 10% earn $53,170, while the highest 10% earn $142,970. For context, the average salary for all occupations is $38,640.
Safety and health engineers working in the management, scientific, and technical consulting services earn the highest average annual wage of $98,240 followed closely by $98,220 for engineering services. Manufacturing, government, and construction pay approximately $82,000 per year.
Occupational health and safety specialists earn an average of $73,020. The highest 10% earn $108,520 per year compared to the lowest 10% that earn $42,450. The salary does not deviate much across industries such as manufacturing, hospitals, construction, and government.
Those with a master’s degree in safety management can expect to earn salaries towards the top end of the salary data. Individuals such as managers, directors, and other leadership positions should also expect to earn top industry annual salaries.
What are the admission requirements for master’s in safety management online degree programs?
Admission requirements for safety management online graduate degrees vary from institution to institution. Because higher education is a stratified system of rankings, programmatic requirements are largely predicated on the rank and reputation of the school. The higher the ranking, the more stringent the admission process becomes.
Higher ranked institutions, such as tier one schools, generally want a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution and a minimum of a 3.0 undergraduate GPA. Depending on the program, the undergraduate degree may have to be related to safety management or engineering. Also, top-ranked institutions require students to submit standardized test scores such as the GRE, GMAT, or MAT. This requirement often dissuades students from applying, as the test preparation process, including completing the exam, can be arduous. The best institutions will also require students to achieve certain percentile scores on the exam. Many programs do not require standardized test scores, or embed easy to achieve test score waivers, allowing students to bypass the requirement.
Some online safety management programs are engineering based and require students to have either an undergraduate degree in engineering or a set of prerequisite courses that ensure they have a background in math and science. For non-engineering based programs, students typically need a bachelor’s degree in any field.
How long does it take to earn an online master’s in safety management degree?
The time to complete a master’s in safety management online varies depending on the program and student. Because online graduate degrees cater to working professionals, it is common for programs to allow students to attend part-time or structure their programs in a way that makes attending full-time plausible for students with full-time jobs and other outside responsibilities. According to research, the average student completes their online master’s in safety within 2-3 years. Attending full-time while in graduate school typically means taking a minimum of two courses per term. It is common for institutions to structure courses that are eight weeks in length, which allows students to take two courses per 16-week term without having to take more than one class at a time.
Online programs, in particular graduate degrees, pride themselves on their combination of rigor and flexibility. While some students can assume full-time course loads, others cannot. For students who need to take longer to complete, the vast majority of programs have extended completion times of 5-7 years. These extended times account for terms where students may need to stop out temporarily or reduce their course load. It is important for online students to know and understand these types of policies and procedures when deciding on which programs to apply.