Occupational health and safety certificate programs are typically offered to working adults who are interested in beginning a career in the field, or to current occupational safety technicians who are looking to enhance their knowledge and skills. These programs are offered through university extension departments or vocational schools and can consist of either just a few courses or up to two semesters worth of study. Highlighting quality improvement measures and risk management procedures, courses are also designed to provide students with a fundamental understanding of how to create and implement policies to ensure a safe and healthy work environment.
In some cases, applicants must have an associate's degree and prior work experience. Other programs have no educational prerequisites. Courses and programs are available online. Voluntary certifications are awarded to qualified candidates by a number of associations. Undergraduate and graduate degrees are also available.
Occupational Health and Safety Certification
Students might learn to follow local, state, and federal laws and policies affecting industrial or corporate workplace environments. They also learn to manage and train personnel and upgrade working environments with the latest safety technologies and practices. Certificate programs in occupational health and safety introduce individuals to basic Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations, as well as management principles and common occupational hazards. Examples of courses include:
- Introduction to occupational health and safety
- Quality improvement
- Safety risk management
- OSHA compliance
- Fire prevention
- Environmental toxicology
Popular Career Options
Any individual with basic knowledge of occupational health and safety standards and management techniques can gain an entry-level technician or management position in the field. Some specific jobs open to occupational health and safety professionals include:
- Occupational health and safety technician
- Environmental protection technician
- Hazardous waste management technician
- Industrial hygiene technician
- Occupational health and safety manager
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts job growth of 6% for occupational health and safety specialists from 2018-2028. During the same decade, the BLS predicts job growth of 7% for occupational health and safety technicians. The median annual salary for a specialist was $73,020 as of May 2018; technicians earned a median annual salary of $50,780.
Certification and Continuing Education
Certification in the field of occupational health and safety is voluntary, but several business organizations encourage occupational safety employees to have credentials of some kind. The Council on Certification of Health, Environmental, and Safety Technicians offers certification for technicians in the field, while the Board of Certified Safety Professionals offers credentialing for managers and specialists. To gain advanced management or leadership roles in occupational health and safety, individuals should consider enrolling in an undergraduate or graduate degree program in the subject.
In occupational health and safety certificate programs students learn about relevant concepts such as regulation compliance, management procedures, human resources, and environmental matters. Graduates may work as occupational health and safety specialists or technicians.