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Masters Degree in Occupational Health: Program Overview

Students who are interested in advanced studies in occupational health and safety may pursue a master's degree in the field. Get more information about what you need to apply, what to expect from the program, and what you can do after finishing.

Essential Information

In Master of Science programs in Occupational Health and Safety, students are trained to manage safety concerns in the workplace, especially in industrial and healthcare settings. Students can also expect to research ways to prevent and respond to hazardous conditions and gain real world experience through a practicum or internship. Prior to graduation, students may be required to pass a comprehensive exam or submit a final research paper or project.

In order to apply, students must hold a bachelor's degree in a related field a bachelor's degree in an unrelated field with two years of professional experience. They must also have completed coursework in chemistry, trigonometry, and algebra. Most programs take two to three years to complete.


Master of Science Degree in Occupational Health

Common course topics in these programs include the following:

  • Communications in organizational safety
  • Safety inspections
  • Risk assessment and control
  • Health safety supervision and management
  • Research methodology in health and safety
  • Health and human performance
  • Occupational systems analysis
  • Human factors in safety management
  • Transportation management safety
  • Safety legislation and compliance

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

Graduates of a master's degree program in occupational health can work as occupational health and safety specialists. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov), these professionals held 70,300 jobs in the United States in 2014. The job growth rate for occupational health and safety specialists is expected to be 7% from 2014-2024. The mean annual salary of these workers was $71,790 in May 2015.

Continuing Education

Although many employers request that occupational health and safety specialists gain certification, not all employers require it. Certification is available through a variety of organizations, such as the American Board of Health Physicists, the American Board of Industrial Hygiene, and the Board of Certified Safety Professionals. Requirements for gaining certification from each organization vary, although most require students to pass a written examination.

Through theoretical coursework, research experience, and practical training, students in master's degree programs in occupational health and safety gain the risk assessment and response skills they need for specialist positions in the field.

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