There are many online-only master's degree programs in occupational health and safety, and they're open to students who hold bachelor's degrees in related fields, like environmental health. Students can access online lessons and class materials as their schedules permit, with certain time limits. They may interact with classmates and instructors through online message boards, e-mail or instant messaging functions.
It usually requires between 2 and 4 years to finish a master's program in occupational health and safety, with courses focusing on community and environmental health procedures. Students learn about testing air quality and procedures for handling hazardous materials. They may get information on crisis management and learn about designing safe workspaces. A research project or a master's thesis may be required as well.
While not mandatory, many employers prefer someone who holds certification from a professional occupational health and safety organization. Earning these credentials require a combination of experience, education and training.
Master's Programs in Occupational Health and Safety
Graduates of a bachelor's degree program in a relevant field such as environmental or occupational health are eligible to begin a master's degree program in occupational health and safety. The curriculum centers on community health and tasks and procedures for environmental health, such as testing air quality, designing safe workspaces and using and disposing of hazardous materials safely. Most courses are health-related. The Master of Science can be a terminal degree, and is pursued by those wishing to advance their career beyond the entry level.
Program Information and Requirements
A degree program in occupational health and safety typically takes 2-4 years to complete. Students have the freedom to work at their own pace. Some programs are offered completely online. Instructors combine traditional text with audio and visual presentations online, and communication is conducted via e-mail or chat rooms.
For online instruction, students need access to a computer and the Internet, preferably high-speed. Because some classes involve research and writing papers, word processing and printing capabilities are required.
List of Common Occupational Health and Safety Courses
Courses involving aspects of health in the community, such as waste management, pest eradication and disease control, are at the heart of a master's degree program in occupational health and safety. These are specialized, topic-specific courses designed to educate students for particular career paths.
Basic Environmental Health
This course gives students a broad introduction to the aspects and unique challenges of environmental health, such as wastewater, air quality control and safe food handling and protection. It also covers pest control and collecting and disposal of human and industrial hazardous waste.
Basic Health and Safety Program Management
Through the completion of directed projects, students learn environmental health and safety management principles, goals and techniques. Incorporation of safety procedures into all aspects of every project is a highlight, with students implementing support tools such as industrial hygiene and radiation containment.
In this course, students cover the basics of environmental public health and how it is impacted in times of crisis. Highlights of the course included water supply vulnerability and conservation, disease control, worker safety and safe debris removal.
Many occupational health master's degree graduates are early to mid-career working professionals, and are looking for further advancement. For those looking to stay, or begin careers as an environmental protection officer, industrial hygienist or independent health and safety consultant, the employment news is positive. The U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expected 4% job growth for occupational health and safety specialists from 2014-2024. In November 2016, Salary.com reported the median annual salary for a health and safety manager to be $101,289.
Online master's degree programs in occupational health and safety offer courses that cover possible community health threats, and they help students develop the managerial skills needed to minimize health risks and respond effectively when problems arise. Students can work at their own pace, so they can balance their education with other time constraints.