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Degree Overview: Bachelor of Science (B.S.) Degree in Occupational Safety and Health

Majors Overview August 27, 2014

Receive information about a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree program in Occupational Safety and Health and its education requirements, coursework, job and wage outlook, and continuing education choices.

Bachelor of Science (BS) Degree Programs in Occupational Safety and Health

Students who complete Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree programs in Occupational Safety and Health can pursue careers as occupational safety and health specialists. Students enrolled in these programs are trained to evaluate workplaces in respect to potential hazards such as air quality, and safety violations, among others. Students can expect to recognize dangers, determine risk and make recommendations to employers, with a fair degree of expertise. A significant aspect of the job includes a firm grasp of laws and regulations relating to safety and health. Schools offer bachelor’s degree programs in both distance learning and campus-based formats, whereby both part- and full-time students may be accommodated.

Education Requirements

Admission criteria typically require incoming students to hold a GED certificate or high school diploma. Those enrolled in these degree programs are expected to have a strong grasp of science and math; schools usually prefer applicants with strong high school grades in these subjects.

Coursework

Students enrolled in occupational safety and health bachelor’s degree programs will be prepared for various potential hazards and situations. Core coursework may include topic areas such as:

•Fire prevention practices
•Principles of industrial hygiene
•Fundamentals of ergonomics
•Hazardous materials management
•Environmental regulations
•Health and safety laws

Job and Wage Outlook

Over the 2010 – 2020 decade, a slower-than-average job growth rate of 9% has been predicted for occupational safety and health specialists, with nearly 59,610 individuals in the country employed in these positions (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). In May 2012, these professionals brought home an average annual wage of $66,790 (BLS).

Continuing Education Choices

While a bachelor’s degree would suffice to obtain work in the field, those who complete a bachelor’s degree program can seek continued education by earning master’s degrees in a field such as industrial hygiene, among those pertinent to occupational health and safety. While professional certification is optional, candidates would boost their career prospects by volunteering for certification as offered by the Board of Certified Safety Professionals, the American Board of Health Physicists and the American Board of Industrial Hygiene, among others.

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