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How do I Become an OSHA Inspector?

Mary McMahon
Updated Mar 02, 2024
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Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) inspectors investigate workplaces to confirm that they are complying with laws pertaining to health and safety at work. A person who wants to become an OSHA inspector will need to attend college, pass examinations and background checks, and then receive training through OSHA. Current job openings at OSHA are listed on their website and it is possible to start an application that can be used to apply for multiple positions, not just at OSHA but at other linked government agencies.

Someone with plans to become an OSHA inspector should receive a college degree in the sciences; OSHA is always in need of people like biologists and engineers. With a college degree, people can acquire relevant work experience, which is required for some OSHA inspector positions. For example, if someone is interested in inspecting oil rigs, it would be advisable to get a degree in a field like chemistry and to spend several years working on oil rigs to become familiar with them.

With a degree and some work experience, it is possible to apply for OSHA inspector jobs. OSHA may require people to pass an examination, depending on the position, and applicants will also need to pass a background check. Once accepted, candidates can be provided with OSHA training. This familiarizes them with the law and also provides them with information about how to conduct inspections and enforce the law.

Once someone has become an OSHA inspector, there are usually continuing education requirements. The law changes periodically and inspectors need to keep current so that they perform inspections accurately and provide pertinent information. People who are engaged in continuing education are more likely to be selected for promotion as they are perceived as more committed to their work with OSHA.

A would-be OSHA inspector should be prepared for a lot of travel and field work. OSHA inspections take place in workplaces that can be scattered far and wide and the inspections are random, which takes inspectors to numerous locations, sometimes in a very short time period. Careers at OSHA usually come with generous benefits including benefits that are designed to compensate for long hours on the road and in the field. Someone who wants to become an OSHA inspector can look forward to a life-long career if he or she is willing to put in the hours to keep up with changes in the field.

Practical Adult Insights is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a Practical Adult Insights researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
By anon1005866 — On Dec 07, 2021

A college degree is not a requirement. 1 year of specialized experience can be substituted for education at the GS-7 level for the OSHA job series 0018-Occupational Safety and Health Specialists. OSHA does a great job training its employees.

By anon342214 — On Jul 18, 2013

One thing this article did not mention is there are specific safety management and occupational health degrees. Having a degree specializing in safety will go a long way if you want to work for OSHA. I have a safety management degrees and work as the safety director for a petroleum lubricants company. Yet I get calls out of the blue fairly often from OSHA recruiters, asking if I would be interested in working for OSHA.

By oopart28 — On Jul 02, 2011

There is so much that goes in to this field of work, and it varies within each industry. I am currently working on a degree in biology with plans to enter the occupational safety and health industry.

As part of an assignment I was working on, I recently familiarized myself with the OSHA compliance checklist. The information on the checklist itself depends on where you are and what you are looking for.

Some of the topics covered are logs of occupational injuries and illnesses, incident reports, emergency plans, and hazardous material operations. I thought the checklist was a good way to get a feel for the process of inspecting a job site.

By SalmonRiver — On Jul 01, 2011

My uncle works at the mine outside of town. The mining company has many safety regulations and my uncle works closely with the OSHA investigators and inspectors. Since pretty much any business with employees has to comply with OSHA regulations, being an OSHA inspector should be a job with a lot of career options.

With the potential for travel and great benefits, I may look in to getting a degree that would be in line with this kind of work. I have been interested in being an OSHA investigator. The median salary is nice, and getting on with a government job would be a plus in my opinion.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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