Online Schools for Health Inspectors: How to Choose

Jan 02, 2019

Health inspection is a career heavily reliant on experience, so the depth of knowledge you wish to acquire will be an importance factor in your selection of a certification or degree program. Since class schedules differ between programs, finding a program that you can fit into your own schedule will be another important consideration.

How to Select an Online Health Inspector School

Students considering online health inspector schools must make their decision based on several key factors. Health inspectors work in a variety of professions to insure that regulations by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) are followed. Many online degrees that serve as entry-level education for health inspectors are available from schools around the country. Students must weigh program type then with their time requirements.

Type of Program

Aspiring health inspectors have a variety of choices when it comes to educational programs. Many different degree types and levels can be used to prepare for a career as a health inspector. Generally, employers prefer to hire inspectors who already have several years of related experience. Those who wish to enter the field immediately after graduation might want to consider a certificate or degree in workplace health and safety. Prospective health inspectors should always choose a degree that will provide them with whatever knowledge is necessary for the field in which they will be an inspector.

Completion and Time Requirements

The time requirements for an online degree for health inspectors varies greatly from profession to profession. Some degree programs feature a flexible schedule that allows students to complete class work at whatever times they are free and communicate with the rest of the class asynchronously by message board. Other programs and classes require students to attend at specific times of the day or week to participate in video conferences or view streamed or televised lectures. Students should choose a program that fits their schedule and needs.

Online Program Options for Health Inspectors

Online Workplace Health and Safety Certificate

An online certificate in workplace health and safety can serve as entry-level training for health inspectors. Employers often offer further on-the-job training for those who graduate from such a program. In addition to core coursework, students can usually choose from elective classes, depending on the profession in which a prospective health inspector will work. Common courses include:

  • Workplace safety
  • Industrial hygiene
  • OSHA regulations
  • Hazardous material regulations

Online Bachelor of Science in Workplace Health and Safety

An online bachelor's degree in workplace health and safety is similar to a health and safety certificate program but normally goes into much more depth. Bachelor's degrees in health and safety may be intended for working adults and often have flexible scheduling options. Major requirements for this degree include:

  • Construction safety
  • OSHA standards
  • Industrial hygiene
  • Toxicology
  • Risk management

Schools with Online Programs for Health Inspectors

The University of Alabama offers an online Health and Safety Management Certificate program for people who are currently working in the field. Students take core courses that go over the fundamentals of health and safety management, then choose six electives relevant to their work. Electives can cover management of health and wellness programs as well as ergonomics and industrial hygiene.

Columbia Southern University's Occupational Safety & Health BS degree gives students a more comprehensive bachelor's degree option. The program satisfies standards for several certification organizations and offers diverse study choices with an adaptable 120-credit-hour curriculum. 36 of the credit hours must be completed in upper-level courses.

For individuals who have already established a career in the field, a master's program such as the online Master of Science in Occupational Safety offered by East Carolina University will equip students to serve as trusted leaders and managers. Both thesis and project options are available to enrich the academic experience. Courses total roughly 36 credit hours, and applicants must have completed an accredited baccalaureate degree where they earned at minimum a 2.7 GPA, as well as having successful completed a statistics and chemistry lab course..

Certificate and bachelor's degree programs in workplace health and safety can provide a solid education for prospective health inspectors. Applicants should consider that bachelor's programs can offer more in-depth and specialized learning options. A certificate program, however, could be completed more quickly and thus afford faster entry-level work and on-the-job training.

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