Guide to Online Occupational Health & Safety Degrees
Occupational health and safety experts are essential in the workplace. From construction sites to hospitals, they work behind the scenes to ensure the safety of staff and the general public. Fire safety, hazardous materials, chemical classifications and reactions, and industrial hygiene are just some of the areas these professionals need to be well-versed in to protect employees, customers, and clients. Occupational health and safety specialists and technicians make $70,480 per year, on average. The need for experts in the field is projected to grow by 4% over the next decade. Continue reading for a list of the most popular accredited online schools offering occupational safety degrees or for more information on careers and accreditation in occupational health and safety.
Most Popular Accredited Online Schools for Occupational Safety Bachelor's Degrees
|Rank||School||Annual Tuition||Recommend Rate|
|# 1||Waldorf University||$8,700||100% (15 reviews)|
|# 2||Columbia Southern University||$6,600||79% (177 reviews)|
|# 3||Eastern Kentucky University||$19,444||33% (3 reviews)|
|# 4||Southeastern Oklahoma State University||$15,390||Add Review|
|# 5||Trident at AIU||$9,240||77% (88 reviews)|
|# 6||Indiana State University||$19,836||83% (6 reviews)|
|# 7||Capitol Technology University||$25,540||100% (1 review)|
|# 8||Central Washington University||$23,053||100% (1 review)|
|# 9||Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University-Worldwide||$9,360||36% (11 reviews)|
|# 10||Troy University||$13,520||50% (12 reviews)|
|# 11||University of Alaska Anchorage||$24,762||100% (1 review)|
|# 12||University of Wisconsin-Whitewater||$16,265||Add Review|
Online Occupational Safety Degree Overview & Career Information
Online occupational safety programs can be found at the associate, bachelor's, master's, and certificate level. Associate degrees prepare students for some entry-level work in the field, as well as for transfer to a bachelor's degree program. A bachelor's degree is necessary for most occupational safety specialist jobs. At the master's level, graduates will have more opportunities for advancement, as there are some positions which may require a master's degree. A certificate can add to an individual's resume and enhance their skill set, and may be enough to qualify them for certain entry-level jobs, depending on the certificate level and their other work experience.
Online Bachelor's Degrees in Occupational Safety
An online bachelor's degree in occupational safety is what is most commonly required for occupational safety specialist jobs. A bachelor's program will provide students with advanced knowledge and skills in the field. Graduates may be qualified for jobs in fields such as construction, fire science, and manufacturing. Interested individuals can find these online occupational safety degrees at colleges and universities across the country.
Applicants to an online bachelor's program need to have a high school diploma or equivalent and will need to submit high school transcripts and any college transcripts they may have. Other application requirements may include a personal statement or essay and/or SAT or ACT scores. A bachelor's degree usually takes four years and 120 credit hours to complete.
Coursework in an online occupational safety bachelor's degree program will include general education requirements in math, science, humanities, and social sciences. Core classes for the major will cover topics like industrial hygiene, fire safety, industrial ergonomics, toxicology, legal aspects of health and safety, construction safety, workers' compensation, fire prevention, and handling hazardous materials. Some schools will require a senior capstone project or an internship that must be completed prior to graduation.
The Importance of an Accredited Online Occupational Safety Degree
When deciding which online degree program to apply to, it is important to keep both programmatic and regional accreditation in mind.
If a college or university has been regionally accredited, that means that an independent agency has evaluated that school on several factors, such as strength of curriculum and quality of faculty, and decided that the school meets certain standards of academic excellence. Students want to make sure they choose a regionally accredited school for many reasons, including the ease of which credits transfer between accredited institutions, and because federal financial aid can only be used at accredited schools.
There are also agencies that accredit programs covering specific subjects. The Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) is the predominant accrediting agency for programs in engineering and engineering technology, computers, and applied science. Occupational safety programs fall under ABET's accreditation jurisdiction. Students should try to choose an online occupational safety program that is accredited by ABET, as this will help to ensure that they are receiving an education that meets a rigorous set of standards and that they will learn the skills relevant to the profession.
Careers in Occupational Safety
Professionals who earn an online occupational safety degree will be equipped with the knowledge necessary to work in various industries. Much of their work will center around making sure businesses and individuals are acting in a safe and responsible manner and that they are following different safety codes and regulations. They may help with the design and implementation of programs and procedures to stop injuries and diseases from occurring in the workplace. Occupational safety specialists might also be involved in coming up with environmentally friendly business practices. Possible job titles include Plant Safety Manager, OSHA Trainer, Construction Site Safety Manager, and Corporate Safety Director.
Depending on the particular job desired, advanced training and education may be needed. For example, some positions require a master's degree in health physics, industrial hygiene, or similar. Professional certification is also available. It is not usually required to find a job, but it can make an applicant more competitive, and some employers prefer to hire someone who is certified.
Frequently Asked Questions About Occupational Safety Degrees
What does an occupational safety specialist do?
Occupational safety specialists evaluate workplaces and procedures to ensure they meet regulation requirements for health and safety standards. They look for things that are potentially dangerous to someone’s health and that are harmful to the environment. They also create and implement policies that protect workers and the general public, and teach employers how to ensure workplace safety.
How long does it take to get a degree in safety?
Entry-level positions often require a bachelor’s degree, which takes four years, on average, to complete. There are also certificates and associate degrees available, which can qualify applicants for positions as technicians or other roles in the field. These usually take two years or less to complete.
What are the benefits of being OSHA certified?
Many employers require safety professionals to complete training hours with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Completing these 10- and 30-hour training courses tells employers a professional is up-to-date on basic safety and health practices in the field. The certification also bolsters a professional's resume and qualifies individuals for more positions.