Planning a career in occupational and environmental safety management? Expect a median salary in the $48,820 to $70,920 range, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. And while graduates can work in a variety of fields and locations - like healthcare facilities, construction sites, oil and gas operations and manufacturing plants – you might take a close look at New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania - they’re all in the top five for employment opportunities for occupational health and safety specialists.

That career overview came from David Shafer, Thiel College’s Environmental Safety Management program coordinator, during a recent Pittsburgh Business Times Ask the Experts panel discussion on the growing need for environmental safety management education.

Thiel College is a private liberal arts institution in Greenville, Pennsylvania. Shafer, who has been leading Thiel’s new program since late last year, said the college’s environmental safety program offers internship and job shadowing opportunities and uses environmental science as the major’s core component.

The panel included Dave Mulvihill and Josh Cress from Zelienople, Pa.-based Deep Well Services, an oil and gas well services company that worked closely with Thiel to develop and launch the program.

Shafer said the participants from Deep Well Services “are excellent examples of how an environmental health and safety degree can lead to greater responsibility and authority,” Both Dave Mulvihill and Josh Cress have safety management degrees and are now managers in their organization.

Shafer has been active in the field of environmental safety for nearly 40 years as a consultant, government contractor, college educator and employer. As a certified safety professional and certified environmental, safety and health trainer, he has led safety training sessions and programs across the U.S.