General Overview of Online Certificates in Occupational Health Nursing
Online occupational health nurse certificate programs are rare. However, there are more general programs in occupational health that are applicable to nurses. These programs provide advanced training in the recognition, prevention, and treatment of job-related diseases and injuries as well as the reduction of these ailments' occurrences. These certificates are useful for healthcare professionals and nurses seeking work in the sectors of public health, occupational hygiene, and occupational health. These programs may be offered as graduate-level certificate programs or continuing education programs that award a certificate of completion. They are open to both working professionals and students.
Occupational health certificate programs are offered fully online and typically provide an instructor-led mode of training. They may also offer a great deal of flexibility and can be completed at students' own pace. Program lengths can vary, with continuing education programs consisting of around nine months of instruction and credit-granting programs allowing up to three years for completion in some cases. The occupational health nurse certificates do not directly lead to any certification; however, some of the programs can be used to meet the requirements for certification from organizations like the Occupational Hygiene Training Association (OHTA).
Information About Occupational Health Nurse Certificate Programs
The minimum criteria for admission to online, credit-granting certificate programs in occupational health is a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution. As a part of the application process, students might have to submit official academic transcripts, letters of recommendation, a resume, and, in some cases, a personal statement that describes their academic goals. Continuing education programs generally do not have any special admission requirements.
The total credits required for completion of these programs vary. Credit-granting programs can require the completion of around 18 credit hours of coursework (or 5-6 courses), including both core courses and electives that allow students to specialize in such areas as sustainability, food systems, health security, and toxicology. Continuing education programs may only require the completion of around three courses.
Some programs specify a minimum grade in each of the courses and a minimum overall GPA to be eligible for the certificate. Others only specify the completion of course portfolios, which can include completed assignments, tests, and workplace evaluations. Programs might even award distinctions on students' certificates to those who complete project papers as a part of the coursework.
Occupational health certificate programs can include courses like occupational epidemiology, ergonomics, industrial hygiene, and toxicology, airborne particles, and occupational health management. These courses give a comprehensive understanding of the theoretical knowledge and practical skills required in the career.
Instruction is delivered via course modules that can include reading and practical assignments, group discussions, and access to professional journals via a school's library. Students can also receive feedback from their instructors as well as guidance on their project paper, should they choose to complete one. However, students who undertake a project will need access to special recording instruments.
Career Outlook after an Occupational Health Nurse Certificate
Occupational health certificate programs are beneficial for nurses who want to get into the field of occupational health and deliver care for employers that can include companies, government agencies, and non-governmental organizations. Graduates could also continue their education in an occupational health nursing master's or doctoral degree program.
According to April 2020 data from Payscale.com, the median annual salary of an occupational health nurse was $71,883. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that employment of registered nurses was expected to increase 12% over the 2018-2028 decade, with some employers preferring applicants who have experience in a specialty.
Online certificate programs in occupational health nursing are rare, but related programs in general occupational health also provide advanced knowledge in preventing, controlling, and treating work-related illnesses and injuries. These programs offer courses in epidemiology, industrial hygiene, and ergonomics.