Bachelor's degree programs in occupational safety and health train students to evaluate workplaces with regards to safety violations, air quality and other potential hazards. Students become experts in recognizing dangers, determining risk and making recommendations to employers. A bachelor's degree program is offered in both campus-based and distance learning (online) formats, in order to accommodate full-and part-time students. Graduates can pursue voluntary certification in the occupational safety and health field.
Bachelor of Science in Occupational Safety and Health Overview
These degrees involve an understanding of math and science. Applicants to bachelor's degree programs in occupational safety and health must possess a high school diploma or GED with strong grades in these subject areas. These programs prepare students for a variety of careers involving potential hazards and hazardous situations. An understanding of health and safety laws and regulations is an essential part of the job. Common courses include but are not limited to the following:
- Hazardous materials management
- Fundamentals of ergonomics
- Principles of industrial hygiene
- Fire prevention practices
- Health and safety laws, environmental regulations
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly 70,220 occupational safety and health specialists were employed in 2015 (www.bls.gov). Job growth between 2014 and 2024 was expected to be slower than average, with a 4% increase. As of May 2015, occupational safety and health specialists earned a median annual salary of $70,210.
Continuing Education Information
Some employers require a master's degree in a field related to occupational health and safety, such as industrial hygiene, though most only require a bachelor's degree. Though credentialing in this field is optional, it is widely preferred by employers. Credentialing organizations include the American Board of Industrial Hygiene, the American Board of Health Physicists and the Board of Certified Safety Professionals.
Students who earn a Bachelor of Science in Occupational Safety and Health learn how to detect various workplace hazards and advise employers on mitigating risks. It should be noted that some employers prefer applicants with master's degrees and/or certification.