Career Outlook: Occupational Health and Safety
Occupational health and safety (OHS) specialists and technicians ensure that workplaces are safe and healthy for employees, the environment and the general public. By inspecting, analyzing and collecting data on environmental factors that could affect a worker's health, safety, comfort and performance, OHS specialists examine how employees are affected by their workplace and how to improve the quality of their environment. This includes adherence to safety and environmental regulations, potential hazards and physical factors like lighting, equipment, ergonomics, materials and ventilation. Some OHS specialists also develop and implement employee safety and training programs. Their ultimate goal is to make workplaces as safe as possible for everyone, and the ROI on this is huge. Not only does investing in occupational health and safety programs reduce accidents and injury, but there are financial benefits to organizations as well. Industry research suggests that investing up front in safety adds up to financial savings down the line.
Jobs in Demand
- 2020 Median Pay: $72,530 annually
- Typical entry-level education: bachelor’s degree
- Number of jobs in 2019: 119,200
- Job outlook 2019-2029: 7% (average growth rate)
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
OHS specialists and technicians are generally needed in industries like manufacturing, construction, government and hospitals, where they do fieldwork and travel to perform inspections. Employers usually gravitate toward prospective hires who are detail-oriented, as they need a keen eye to perform comprehensive inspections. Aspiring OHS professionals should also strengthen their problem-solving and technical skills in order to effectively analyze occupational safety and present solutions to issues they might find. Physical stamina is also important in this profession, as OHS specialists are on their feet for much of their workday.
With enough experience, education and training, there is room for career growth within the OHS field. Some OHS specialists and technicians go on to become health and safety engineers, who design solutions to workplace safety hazards. Certification also goes a long way in the OHS field; not only does it demonstrate proficiency and experience, but it can also open the doors to career advancement. The Board of Certified Safety Professionals offers Certified Safety Professional (CSP) certification, Associate Safety Professional (ASP) certification, Occupational Health and Safety Technologist (OHST) certification and Construction Health and Safety Technician (CHST) certification. The American Board of Industrial Hygiene offers Certified Industrial Hygienist (CIH) certification.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that employment of OHS professionals is likely to rise 7% within the next decade, as new safety regulations change the landscape of workplaces.
Explore Career Opportunities
Hear from industry professionals, instructors and staff about how the Workplace Health and Safety Manager Certificate can help advance your career or provide you with the skills to start a new one. Sign up for a online free information session:
Earning a certificate in OHS is an effective way of gaining credibility and developing skills needed for the job. Designed for prospective health and safety professionals, UC Davis Continuing and Professional Education’s Workplace Health and Safety Manager Certificate Program provides students with the knowledge and skills to examine the critical health and safety issues of a workplace, develop a proactive health and safety program, use regulations as tools to identify and control hazards, and investigate causes of accidents when they occur. Our program uses a hands-on approach to give students practical experience in health and safety management. Students can earn a Workplace Health and Safety Manager Certificate and financial aid if the course is completed within three years.
- 9 courses, complete in as few as 28 months
- Remote and in-person classes
- Real-world training