Occupational safety and health professionals strive to create and maintain safe and healthy work environments for employees as well as the general public. For example, an occupational safety and health professional working on a construction site will develop and implement guidelines to ensure that workers are safe and kept from harm, to protect property, and to make sure people passing by or working near the site are kept safe as well. If this sounds like a career that interests you, you may want to consider earning a degree in occupational safety and health. An online degree in occupational safety and health will give you skills needed to recognize and prevent hazards, abide by federal and state laws and regulations, and develop safe-work policies, and it can be earned at your own pace from the comfort of your home.
Classes and Assignments of an Occupational Safety and Health Major
Occupational safety and health degree programs begin by instilling students with a sense of awareness as it pertains to safety and accident prevention. Much of this will involve learning OSHA codes and regulations, studying hypothetical and real scenarios, and familiarizing yourself with state and federal laws. Some of the courses you will take early on in the program will focus on subjects such as construction safety, fire prevention, hazardous materials, and OSHA standards.
In addition to taking quizzes and tests over your study material, some of your assignments may include writing up a set of guidelines and policies that will ensure a safe work environment, or assessing a physical work environment and writing a report about your findings, such as noting code violations, identifying potential hazards, and describing how to correct the offenses. Students pursuing online masters occupational health and safety degrees may be required to complete internship programs.
Degree Levels for an Occupational Safety and Health Major
- Associate. Online associate occupational health and safety degrees will cover introductory-level safety and health courses, such as fundamentals of occupational safety and health, hazardous material management, introduction to fire safety, and legal aspects of occupational safety and health. This degree will qualify you for an entry-level position as an occupational safety and health technician or a related position such as a building inspector.
- Bachelor's. Online bachelors occupational heath and safety degrees will cover all of the introductory-level courses required to establish a foundation of safety, as well as more advanced courses, such as total environment health and safety management, industrial hygiene, toxicology, and accident investigation. A bachelor's degree will qualify you for a position as an occupational safety and health specialist, or, if your degree includes a concentration in fire science, you could begin a career as a fire inspector or investigator.
- Master's. A master's degree in occupational safety and health will expand upon the topics you learned about during your bachelor's program, with advanced courses like safety engineering, advanced ergonomics, emergency management, and occupational safety and health research methods. A master's degree can be used to advance into a management position in the occupational safety and health field.
A Future as an Occupational Safety and Health Manager
Occupational safety and health professionals spend the majority of their time in the field. Your work environment can vary depending on the industry you work in, and can range from an office building, to a factory, to a construction site. Much of your time will be spent inspecting work spaces, machinery, structures, air quality, and more to prevent hazards and accidents, and to ensure safety.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), occupational safety and health technicians are expected to see a 14% increase in employment through 2018, and earn an average of $47,520 a year, though job availability could vary depending on the industry you work in, the company you work for, where in the country you work, the amount of experience you have, and more. Specialists are expected to see an 11% increase in employment through 2018, and earn an average of $65,610 a year, though your salary could also vary from this, depending on several factors.
Students with a degree in Occupational Safety And Health are considered well prepared for becoming occupational health and safety specialists.