Ministry of Business and Innovation - Occupation Outlook

Occupation Outlook | Main MBIE Site

Health and Safety Professionals

Job Prospects

Job Prospects... At a glance

Job prospects for health and safety officers are above average, and wages are relatively good. Government and key industries are actively trying to reduce serious work-related incidents, and this means there will be increased demand for health and safety professionals in the next few years. However, getting a job specifically as a health and safety inspector can be tough, as WorkSafe NZ only hires a few new trainees every year and there is stiff competition for vacancies.

How to become a health and safety professional

What they do

Health and safety professionals work to promote health and safety in the workplace and public places, and to ensure that working conditions comply with all regulations. This type of work includes monitoring potential risks, investigating incidents, training employees, developing safety procedures, and inspecting machines and equipment.


Health and safety advisers usually need a diploma in occupational health and safety.

To become a health protection officer, you need a Bachelor of Applied Science (Health Protection major) from Auckland University of Technology, or a Bachelor of Applied Science (Environmental Health major) from Massey University.

There are no formal entry requirements to be a health and safety inspector. However, successful applicants must work as a trainee health and safety inspector for six months, and then as an assistant health and safety inspector for another 12-18 months.

Cost of study

Health and Safety Inspector TrainingBachelor of Applied Science
$0 $20,400 over three years

Successful applicants to trainee health and safety inspector positions receive training for free, although there could be costs involved for applicants in meeting the minimum application requirements, for example, getting a driver’s licence.

A Bachelor of Applied Science is needed to become a health protection officer, and it costs around $20,400 over three years. Certificates and diplomas for health and safety advisers are likely to be cheaper than this, although fees will vary between the different institutions.

Rents vary from place to place. Estimated market rents by region, city and suburb are available on the MBIE Tenancy Services website.

The StudyLink website provides general budget advice for students, and the Sorted website provides help with detailed budget planning.

Tenancy Services:

Where to study

Health and safety adviser qualifications are widely available at polytechnics and private training establishments throughout New Zealand.

A Bachelor of Applied Science for health protection officers is available from AUT in Auckland or Massey University in Wellington.


Income and employment prospects


In 2019, the annual income for health and safety professionals is estimated to be around $70,200.

Estimated Average Income

Source: MBIE estimates based on Statistics NZ Census and Labour Cost Index

WorkSafe New Zealand has the following salary levels for its health and safety inspectors:

  • Trainee health and safety inspector: $62,000
  • Assistant health and safety inspector: $67,000
  • Health and safety inspector: $76,000

Employment and skill shortages

Health and safety professionals’ employment

HistoricProjected Growth
2006 2013 2023 2028
1,257 1,707 2,080 2,280
  4.5% 3.3% 1.6%

Source: Statistics NZ Census and MBIE projections. Percentages are compound annual growth rates.
* Growth projections are based on the category “Health Diagnostic and Promotion Professionals”.

The number of health and safety professionals in employment rose between 2006 and 2013. This trend is expected to continue, and growth at over 3% per year is projected until 2023.  The Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 recently came into effect, and this is likely to contribute to a higher number of health and safety professionals.

Getting employment as a safety inspector can be challenging however. WorkSafe NZ is the only employer, and it recruits a limited number of trainees every year, as their employees often stay in their roles for a long time. As a result, competition is stiff for the limited number of vacancies.

 Employment chart

Source: Statistics NZ Census and MBIE projections

Health and safety professionals are not on Immigration New Zealand's skill shortage list

Immigration NZ, skill shortage list:

Where to find job vacancies

The number of online job vacancies for occupational and environmental health professionals grew stronglyly since 2013. This should mean that it has become easier to find work as a health and safety professional. This is a reflection of increased demand.

Jobs advertised chart

Source: Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment

Health and safety professional vacancies are advertised through public media such as the Trade Me Jobs and Seek websites. Safety inspector vacancies are only advertised on the web page of WorkSafe New Zealand.

Trade Me Jobs:
WorkSafe NZ, careers:

Career path

Health and safety professionals can work for WorkSafe NZ or other government agencies, large private firms, or be a consultant and work for several smaller firms.

Health and safety professionals can specialise in a specific industry, for example health and safety in agriculture or forestry. Some also move into more senior or management roles.

Related occupations

The following occupations are related roles or alternative titles. Some of the roles may require a higher level of skill than entry-level health and safety professionals.

  • Biosecurity Officer
  • Building Surveyor
  • Environmental Health Officer
  • Food Safety Officer
  • Health and Safety Adviser
  • Health and Safety Inspector
  • Health Protection Officer
  • Occupational Health and Safety Officer
  • Quarantine Officer

Other information


More information on health and safety professionals is available on the Careers New Zealand website.

Careers New Zealand:


The Australian New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO) is the official classification of occupations in New Zealand.

The occupation of health and safety professionals has been coded to the following ANZSCO codes for the purpose of this report:

2513 – Occupational and Environmental Health Professionals
3126 –Safety Inspectors