Pursuing an Occupational Health and Safety Degree: A Guide for Working Professionals

Occupational health and safety is a growing field that aims to ensure the wellbeing of employees in their work environments Professionals in this area implement safety programs, conduct training, inspect work sites, and investigate accidents to prevent illnesses, injuries, and fatalities on the job

As businesses look for new ways to protect their workforce, the demand for qualified health and safety personnel continues to rise. That makes now an ideal time to earn an occupational health and safety degree.

In this article, we will explore the benefits of pursuing this degree as a working professional. We’ll cover key topics like:

  • Job outlook and career paths
  • Required education and skills
  • Finding the right online program
  • Tips for balancing work, school, and life

Whether you want to launch a new career or advance in your current role, a degree in occupational health and safety can prepare you for success. Keep reading to learn more!

In-Demand Careers for Safety Grads

An occupational health and safety degree opens doors to a wide range of careers. Here are some of the top jobs you can pursue:

  • Safety manager Develop implement, and evaluate health and safety programs for an organization. Work with all departments to ensure compliance.

  • Industrial hygienist Identify and assess workplace hazards Recommend controls like ventilation, protective gear, and safety procedures.

  • Ergonomist: Improve workplace design to prevent musculoskeletal disorders and repetitive stress injuries.

  • Loss control specialist: Inspect facilities and operations to minimize property loss and liability claims.

  • Training and development specialist: Design, deliver, and evaluate safety training programs for employees.

  • Compliance officer: Inspect facilities to ensure adherence to government health and safety regulations.

  • Risk management specialist: Analyze potential risks and determine ways to limit financial losses.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), demand for these professionals is projected to grow by 7% from 2020-2030—faster than the average for all occupations. Positions like compliance officers are expected to see even more dramatic growth at 14%.

Clearly, an occupational health and safety degree offers bright career prospects. Let’s look at the typical education requirements next.

Required Education and Coursework

To gain the skills needed for health and safety roles, most employers look for applicants with at least a bachelor’s degree. Common majors include:

  • Occupational safety and health
  • Industrial hygiene
  • Environmental health and safety
  • Occupational health and safety technology

Coursework covers topics like:

  • Hazard identification and control
  • Safety program management
  • Industrial hygiene
  • Ergonomics
  • Fire protection
  • Environmental regulations
  • Accident investigation
  • Safety engineering

Some schools also offer a minor or concentration in occupational safety. This provides a solid foundation to complement another major like engineering, chemistry, or business management.

In addition to a degree, getting certified can further boost your job prospects. Popular options include:

  • Certified Safety Professional (CSP)
  • Associate Safety Professional (ASP)
  • Occupational Health and Safety Technologist (OHST)

Many online programs offer courses aligned with certification requirements. We’ll highlight some top choices next.

Finding the Right Online Occupational Safety Program

Pursuing an online occupational health and safety degree allows busy professionals to advance their education on a schedule that fits their lifestyle. Here are some key factors to look for when researching schools:


Make sure the program holds regional accreditation from an agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. This helps ensure you receive a quality education.

Faculty Expertise

Look for instructors with professional experience in occupational safety. They can provide valuable insights from the field.

Customizable Degree Plans

See if you can tailor electives to your interests or transfer applicable credits to maximize savings.

Certification Preparation

Find out if the curriculum covers exam content for certifications like the CSP.

Student Support Services

Online learners need access to advisors, tutors, tech support, libraries, and other resources.

With the right program, you can gain career-relevant skills on your own schedule. But balancing work, school, and personal responsibilities takes commitment. Read on for some tips.

Balancing Work, School, and Life as a Working Student

Going back to school poses unique challenges for working professionals. Here are some strategies to help you manage it all:

  • Set a schedule: Block out dedicated study time each week. Treat it as seriously as you would time at the office.

  • Get organized: Use calendars, to-do lists, and notes to stay on top of assignments, family events, and work projects.

  • Find support: Talk to supervisors, instructors, and loved ones about your academic goals. Having cheerleaders helps you stay motivated.

  • Evaluate your habits: Cut out activities that waste time. Limit distractions like social media and TV.

  • Create a study space: Set up a quiet, comfortable spot at home to learn. Have books, notes, and tech tools at the ready.

  • Take care of yourself: Don’t let school dominate your life. Make time for healthy meals, exercise, and fun with family and friends.

  • Be flexible: Accept that your routine may change from week to week. Adapt your schedule as needed.

With grit and good planning, you can strike a balance. The investment will pay off!

Start Your Journey Today

Now is an excellent time to pursue an occupational health and safety degree. The job outlook is strong and online options make education accessible.

To learn more about launching your career, explore Southeastern Oklahoma State University’s online Bachelor of Science in Occupational Safety & Health. Their experienced faculty can provide the specialized knowledge you need to succeed.

What are you waiting for? Advance your skills, earnings, and job prospects. Request info or apply now to start your degree journey!

occupational health and safety degree

Educate Employers on Healthier, Safer Work Practices

Join a dynamic field that makes the workplace a safer place when you become an occupational safety and health specialist. With your Occupational Safety and Health Bachelor of Science from University of Houston-Clear Lake, youll develop skills to anticipate, recognize and evaluate potential hazards. Through hands-on assignments and real-world experiences, youll be equipped with the knowledge needed to make the workplace safer for employees as well as the community and environment. Choose between our industrial hygiene and safety specializations to align with your desired career path.

Focuses on anticipation, identification and evaluation of hazardous conditions and practices. Geared more towards engineering and physics aspect of safety, ergonomics and management of occupational safety and health programs and regulations. Occupational Safety and Health, Safety Specialization, B.S.

Involves anticipation, recognition, evaluation, prevention and control of workplace environmental factors or stresses that may impair health or cause significant discomfort for individuals. Geared more towards assessing workplace stressors.Occupational Safety and Health, Industrial Hygiene Specialization, B.S. The Occupational Safety and Health Program Bachelor’s of Science specializations in Industrial Hygiene and Safety are accredited by the Applied and Natural Science Accreditation Commission of ABET,

Land a Rewarding Career While Fulfilling a Regional Need

With successful completion of your degree, youll be qualified for a variety of lucrative jobs in the occupational health and safety fields. Most graduates of programs with the industrial hygiene or safety specializations find immediate post-graduate employment with oil and gas companies, OSHA, manufacturers, construction companies or chemical plants. Nationally, the Gulf Coast is a leading employer of health and safety professionals. Equipped with the knowledge and practice you will receive with the Occupational Safety and Health B.S. from UHCL, your professional options include occupational health and industrial specialist, hygienist or researcher.Request InfoHow to ApplyVisit

Take your education to new heights in University of Houston-Clear Lakes College of Science and Engineering. Learn the next steps to being admitted now.

Understanding the classes you need to take for your degree at University of Houston-Clear Lake is crucial to planning out your education. The links below will allow you to view the full degree requirements and give you an understanding of your academic experience. If you are currently attending a community college in Texas, see each “Transfer Guide” to view what classes can be taken at your local community college, and transferred to UHCL to complete your degree.

Occupational Safety and Health B.S. Transfer Guides:

Calculate the price of your science or engineering degree at UHCL with our Cost Estimator function.

  • Freshman Deadlines
  • Fall Priority – July 15 Final – August 1
  • Spring Priority – November 1 Final – December 1
  • Summer Priority – March 1 Final (Summer Session I & II) – May 1
  • Transfer Deadlines
  • Summer 2024 Priority – May 1 Summer I Final – May 22 Summer II Final – June 28
  • Fall 2024 Priority – August 1 Final – August 12 Returning UHCL Students – August 14
  • Spring 2025 Priority – December 1 Final – January 6 Returning UHCL Students – January 8
  • International Deadlines
  • Fall Priority Deadline – May 1 Extended Deadline – June 1
  • Spring Deadline – October 1
  • Summer* Deadline – April 1

For more information regarding deferring your application, please visit Deferring International Admission.

Students interested in qualifying for scholarships &/or applying for visas outside the U.S. should apply and submit the application documents/test scores by the priority deadline

*International freshmen applicants will not be accepted for Summer semester.

Degrees in Occupational Health and Safety

Where can I get a degree in Occupational Safety & Health?

At Columbia Southern University (CSU), students interested in advancing their careers can pursue an online Bachelor of Science in Occupational Safety and Health. This online occupational health and safety program can elevate graduates to advanced leadership roles in the field.

Why should you choose an online occupational health & safety degree program?

By enrolling in an online bachelor’s degree program, you can begin to develop the skills and knowledge necessary to embark on your new career path. Explore online occupational health and safety degree programs. Discover career opportunities, curriculum, and admissions requirements in this rewarding field.

What can I do with a BS in Occupational Safety & Health?

Learn to identify and analyze potential workplace hazards, infractions and risks with the Bachelor of Science in Occupational Safety and Health. In this online degree program, you will explore topics ranging from employee safety education and regulatory compliance to policy and enforcement.

What is an online bachelor’s degree in Occupational Safety & Health?

An online bachelor’s degree in occupational safety and health (OSH) gives students an overview of workplace safety standards, processes, and challenges. OSH professionals strive to protect employees and the public by enforcing safety practices.

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