Schools for Aspiring Industrial Hygienists: How to Choose

Dec 08, 2019

Programs in industrial hygiene and related areas are offered at several undergraduate and graduate levels at various colleges and universities throughout the U.S. Master's and Ph.D. programs often require applicants to possess a bachelor's degree in industrial hygiene, public health or a science, such as chemistry or physics, and have several years of work experience in the field.

The primary consideration when choosing an industrial hygiene school is whether the program is accredited by ABET; graduation from an ABET-accredited school is required for admission to many graduate programs, as well as for employment. Students may wish to consider the school's affiliation with local companies and government agencies since this affiliation could appear in the form of internship agreements, academic groups or networking events made available to students.

10 Industrial Hygiene Schools

These institutions offer industrial hygiene programs.

College/University Location Institution Type Degrees Offered Tuition* (2018-2019)
Johns Hopkins University Baltimore, MD 4-year, private not-for-profit Master's, Doctoral Graduate $53,740
Wayne State University Detroit, MI 4-year, public Master's Graduate: In-state $15,780; Out-of state $34,180
East Carolina University Greenville, NC 4-year, public Master's Graduate: In-state $4,749; Out-of state $17,898
University of Washington Seattle, WA 4-year, public Master's, Doctoral Graduate: In-state $15,510; Out-of state $27,801
Illinois State University Normal, IL 4-year, public Bachelor's Undergraduate: In-state $14,516; Out-of-state $26,040
University of Oklahoma-Health Sciences Center Oklahoma City, OK 4-year, public Master's, Doctoral Graduate: In-state $5,119; Out-of state $19,778
Ohio University Athens, OH 4-year, public Bachelor's Undergraduate: In-state $12,192; Out-of-state $21,656
University of Massachusetts-Lowell Lowell, MA 4-year, public Bachelor's, Master's, Graduate Certificate Undergraduate: In-state $15,180; Graduate: In-state $14,590
Texas A&M University-College Station College Station, TX 4-year, public Master's Graduate: In-state $6,552; Out-of state $17,904
University of Iowa Iowa City, IA 4-year, public Graduate Certificate Graduate: In-state $9,785; Out-of-state $28,726

Source: *National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)

School Selection Criteria

A number of things should be kept in mind when choosing an industrial hygiene school.

  • Individuals might want to determine whether a program's curriculum prepares them to sit for one or more certification exams, like those offered by the American Board of Industrial Hygiene (ABIH), Board of Certified Safety Professionals (BCSP) and the Council on Certification of Health, Environmental and Safety Technologists (CCHEST).
  • Many graduate-level industrial hygiene programs pay a student's tuition and provide a small stipend for living expenses, which could enable students to graduate with little or no school debt.
  • Programs that allow students to interact with other hygienists or companies may make it easier for them to find employment after graduation.
  • Many schools only offer undergraduate or graduate studies, so those interested in pursuing both levels of study may want to choose a school that offers undergraduate and graduate programs.

Associate of Science in Occupational Health and Safety

These 2-year degree programs consist of general education and field-specific courses. Most programs also require students to complete courses in chemistry, biology and physics. Courses in the field of study cover topics such as hazardous material management, environmental systems analysis and waste management.

Bachelor of Science in Industrial Hygiene

In addition to taking general education classes and major-specific coursework, students in these 120-credit hour programs usually complete a 1-semester internship, which is sometimes a paid position. Many programs include a capstone research project in which students investigate and present their findings to the department's professors during their senior year.

Master of Science in Industrial Hygiene

These 2-year programs are geared towards students with some education or experience in the field. Students are usually required to write a thesis based on a research topic of their choice, but some programs allow students to complete a comprehensive exam instead. Coursework covers biostatistics, hazard assessment, radiological safety and controlling contaminants.

Doctor of Philosophy in Industrial Hygiene

Ph.D. industrial hygiene programs consist of an average of 72-credit hours and emphasize researching topics in the field. Ph.D. candidates must complete a dissertation based on individually designed research projects. Many schools require students to teach during their studies.

A number of institutions offer an undergraduate degree program in occupation health and safety or industrial hygiene, and it is also possible to pursue graduate degrees or a graduate certificate in these disciplines. Students may focus on the degree levels offered, certification exam preparation, tuition costs and hands-on component of the courses when choosing a program in this field.

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