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Master Degree Programs in Occupational Health Overview

Majors Overview August 1, 2018

This article talks about master’s degree programs in occupational health and their educational requirements, coursework, career options, job and wage outlook, and continuing education options.

Master’s Programs in Occupational Health

Armed with experience and a bachelor’s degree, students who are enrolled in the master’s program are taught basic safety management procedures and techniques applicable to various healthcare-related jobs. Students can usually complete these programs in 2-3 years. Students may gain real world experience via an internship or practicum. They may be required to complete a final research paper or project or take a comprehensive exam.

Educational Requirements

Admission criteria typically require incoming students to hold a baccalaureate degree from an accredited school. Coursework in subject areas such as trigonometry, chemistry, and algebra are also necessary for incoming students. Two years of prior work experience can enable holders of a bachelor’s degree in a field unrelated to safety or health management to enroll in the program.


The focus of program coursework is on management and safety issues. Core coursework may cover topic areas such as:

•Safety legislation and compliance
•Transportation management safety
•Human factors in safety management
•Occupational systems analysis
•Health and human performance
•Research methodology in health and safety
•Health safety supervision and management
•Assessment and control
•Safety inspection
•Communication in organizational safety

Career Options

Program graduates can seek careers as occupational health and safety specialists. In 2017, 101,800 individuals in the United States were employed as occupational health and safety specialists (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics).

Job and Wage Outlook

Occupational health and safety specialists are expected to see a job growth of eight percent, over the 2017-2027 decade; in May 2017, these professionals brought in an average annual wage of $67,720 (BLS).

Continuing Education Options

While certification is voluntary, candidates with certification are preferred by many employers. Various organizations, such as the American Board of Industrial Hygiene, the American Board of Health Physicists, and the Board of Certified Safety Professionals offer certification programs. While certification norms vary by organization, passage of a written examination is a common requirement. Program graduates who seek continued education may pursue a doctorate.

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