The Top Occupational Health and Safety Degree Programs Online

Completing an occupational health and safety degree program online is a convenient, efficient, and affordable way to being a new career. For people pursuing a career in occupational health and safety, there have been significant changes over the past decades, including new health and safety legislation, education about hazards in the workplace, and new directions in the relationship between safety, health, and productivity, global competition, technological changes, and environmental pressures and costs. All of these factors combine to make modern health and safety careers more challenging and important than ever. While there are several occupational health and safety degree programs available online, many are hybrid programs requiring distance learners to also complete coursework on a physical campus. Among online or distance providers of OHS education, the top three certification programs are the OSH Academy, the Institute of Technology Sligo, and the University of Washington. Do you have questions about OHS certification? Here are answers to common questions. 

What are some of the online occupational health and safety classes I may be required to take online?

While requirements vary from state to state, some of the basics include Introduction to occupational health and safety, accident investigation, safety management, industrial hygiene, toxicology, research and planning, workers compensation, and fire safety. 

If I get a Certificate in Occupational Health and Safety, Certificate in Occupational Health and Safety Leadership, or Certificate in Advanced Safety, where will I find a job?

Graduates with Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) certificates are professionals who are in high demand within many industries. You could find a career working in a hospital setting, a construction company, a manufacturing company, an airport, university, local government, steel mill, or any business or organization that might value worker health and safety. 

Once I have gotten certification, am I now recognized as an OHS professional?

Certificates issued by a training provider can only "certify" you have completed a formal course of study. Training providers cannot issue certificates certifying students as "qualified" safety professionals or trainers just by completing a training course or program. It's also important to know that OSHA does not "certify" anyone as a qualified safety professional after only completing a training course. Be careful not to associate with training providers who claim students will be credentialed professionals after completing a course. 

Will my online training be recognized by OSHA?

Yes, as long as it is compliant with OSHA rules. OSHA recognizes safety training that meets or exceeds the training required by OSHA rules. As long as you online distance learning is "compliant" with OSHA regulatory requirements, it is generally be acknowledged by colleges, universities, public and private sector organizations, and insurance companies worldwide.

How long will it take to get my certification?

That depends entirely upon your state and your level of educational involvement, as well as the level of certification desired. Attending online classes part-time will obviously take longer than attending full-time, and individual courses have different timelines. According to OSHA rules, an online OSHA 10 or OSHA 30 course needs to be completed within six months from the course start date. 

What types of OHS certifications are available?

There are several. Here are a few: Emergency Safety Specialist, Construction Safety and Health Specialist, Safety and Health Leadership, General Industry Safety and Health Specialist, Maritime Safety and Health Specialist, and Occupational Hygiene Awareness certificates. 

What is an Occupational Hygienist?

Occupational hygienists are dedicated to ensuring the health and safety of employees in the workplace and the general community. Some work in pharmaceutical, petrochemical manufacturing, public utilities, steel, mining and other industries, while others are employed in hospitals, national governments, or work as consultants for academia or research.

What is advanced safety management?

Advanced safety management is a specialized area of occupational health and safety (OHS) involving the study of international safety systems, theories of how accidents occur, and other specific knowledge and skills that are essential for reducing, controlling or eliminating a variety of (and potentially all) workplace hazards. 

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