Master of Science in Occupational Health and Safety
The Master of Science or MS occupational health and safety program trains students for supervisory, management, and training roles in business, industry, government, and education. This type of degree gives students professional recognition, which is a plus in the job market. The program approaches occupational health and safety from a technical and scientific point of view with a fair amount of research and practice.
Master of Public Health in Occupational Health and Safety
The Master of Public Health or MPH in Occupational Health and Safety is typically a 45-credit program that approaches the subject through the lens of public health. This type of degree focuses on the equation between health and safety within the workplace and among people outside the workplace.
Specializations in Masters in Occupational Health and Safety Programs
Specializations are an excellent choice for those who want to focus on an area within occupational health and safety. Moreover, they usually lead to niche jobs and better career prospects. Some specializations and concentration areas for online masters in occupational health and safety students to consider are:
- Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences This specialization is for students passionate about using their scientific skills to address human health issues associated with the natural environment. From water quality to workplace safety, students are trained to solve problems to keep communities safe and healthy.
- Health, Safety, and Environment (or MPH in Health, Safety, and Environment) This specialization provides students with a strong foundation to advance in their careers by providing them with the best knowledge and skills they need to address the health, safety, and environmental challenges of evolving regions, countries, and the world. The course also covers the fundamentals of exposure assessment and analytical methods, which include persistent issues of air and water quality, solid and hazardous wastes, worker safety, legal requirements, etc.
- Applied Health Science (or MS in Applied Health Science) This specialization provides students with the knowledge of what makes us sick or keeps us healthy and uses this to potentially solve various health problems. The course’s principal focus is on organizing and deriving interventions that meet our health needs.
- Safety Engineering (or MS in Safety Engineering) This Specialization provides students with the knowledge and principles of safety engineering and the proper application of engineering methods for a safe work environment.
- Industrial Hygiene This specialization helps students learn how to evaluate and manage workplace hazards that threaten the physical safety of workers from chemical and biological agents such as toxic vapors, mold, and dust that affect their health in their working environment.
- Risk Control and Safety Management The function of risk assessment and safety management in occupational health and safety is to identify potential dangers and the impact they may have on people and processes. The objective is to identify hazards before analyzing and evaluating the risks they pose and ensure safety against them.
Curriculum and Skills Gained in Masters in Occupational Health and Safety Online Programs
Master in occupational health and safety online degree programs are designed to cover the wide range of occupational health, safety, and environmental management systems knowledge required for an organization’s success. These programs provide students with a strong foundation in health and safety by developing the skills necessary to effectively develop, implement, and evaluate health and safety systems in the workplace. The curriculum of an online masters in occupational health and safety degree can vary by university and program but will primarily contain some of the following courses:
- Environmental Health and Epidemiology This course introduces the diverse and dynamic elements of nature and population and how they affect each other. The course describes how epidemiology is an important tool for assessing impacts related to environmental safety and health. It is designed for people of all backgrounds with limited biomedical sciences, statistics, or advanced math training. This course aims to provide the basis for public health research and the fundamental basis for setting toxicological standards.
- Law and Regulations This course deals with the Industrial Safety and Health Act and related legal and constitutional issues. Case studies improve the critical thinking and research skills needed to resolve problems, resolve conflicts, and express and communicate ideas in the subject area. Students will also learn to relate Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) concerns to actual environmental, safety, and health decisions.
- Safety Management This course mainly focuses on behavior-based safety management practices in the work environment. Safety and health management includes studying the structure of the company and the collective support of employees. Management topics include employee motivation, organizational culture, risk identification, assessment and prevention, regulatory compliance, benchmarking performance, auditing, and records management.
- Industrial Hygiene Principle
This course introduces students to the basic principles of occupational hygiene assessment and management. Using case studies and calculations, students are familiarized with the basics of toxicology and the behavior of various gasses and aerosols.
A few more examples of courses students can expect are:
- Advanced Ergonomics
- OSHA Regulations
- Recognition of Occupational Diseases
- Safety, Health, and Environment (SHE)
- Radiation Protection
- Fire Protection Technology
- Human Factors Engineering
- Advanced Industrial Hygiene
- Air Pollution
- Control of Occupational and Environmental Hazards
Some of the skills individuals with an online masters in occupational health and safety would have gained upon graduating include the ability to:
- develop team-based implementation strategies for workplace safety and health initiatives;
- explain basic toxicological mechanisms and dose-response relationships in the context of workplace toxicants;
- create testable models that prove the link between occupational exposures and negative health effects;
- create and implement regulatory-compliant plans to address specific workplace safety and emergency response concerns;
- apply federal and state regulations pertaining to worker (occupational) safety and health protection;
- formulate expert advice for dealing with safety and health issues;
- recommend sound management solutions for challenges in occupational safety and health;
- list current quantitative risk assessment methods and approaches for various occupational safety and other health risks;
- identify risks, deploy action plans, and measure and improve performance when managing complex safety and health programs;
- develop effective workplace analysis, as well as hazard prevention and control systems; and
- protect workers’ health and safety by anticipating, evaluating, and controlling hazards in the workplace.
Accreditation for Masters in Occupational Health and Safety Online Programs
Accreditation is a term that includes both initial and ongoing accreditation of schools, post-secondary education institutions, or programs that propose to meet the standard requirements of nationally recognized accreditation bodies. Accreditation endorses the academic and administrative quality of schools, educational institutions, and programs. While programmatic accreditation, whereby universities offer masters in occupational health and safety online accredited degree programs are hard to come by, these degree programs may instead be pursued at accredited universities. The foremost accrediting agencies in the United States are:
- New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC)
- Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
- Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
- Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
- Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)
- Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC)
Some colleges offer QAPs or Qualified Academic Programs certified by the Board of Certified Safety Professionals (BCSP) or the Institute of Hazardous Materials Management (IHMM), through which students automatically qualify for certification and licensure. Occupational Health and Safety master’s programs can also be accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering & Technology (ABET) or the Association of Technology, Management, and Applied Engineering (ATMAE).
Learn why accreditation is essential from the Accreditation Guide.
Timeline for graduation from Online Masters in Occupational Health and Safety Programs
The length of an online masters in occupational health and safety program depends on the university and the structure of the program. If students can learn at their own pace, it can lead to early graduation or late graduate, depending on their pace and chosen courses. Those who learn in a cohort and complete the curriculum at the same time as their peers may require a while longer to complete the degree.
Typically, the online masters in occupational health and safety is a 50 to 60 credit hour degree program, and when taken up full-time, it requires about 2 years, sometimes stretching over to 3 years at some universities. Working professionals for want the flexibility of spending less time a week completing the program would usually require 2 to 4 years to graduate.
Online Masters in Occupational Health and Safety Programs Admission Requirements
A bachelor’s degree from an accredited university or school is typically required to pursue an online masters in occupational health and safety. Naturally, colleges would prefer applicants with a background in occupational health and safety, but those from a related background can also easily apply. Apart from an undergraduate degree, here are some common masters in occupational health and safety requirements:
Some universities may ask students to take part in a video or phone interview as part of the application process.
The GRE or GMAT score is usually not a requirement to apply to a master’s in occupational health and safety online program. However, it is advisable to check the university requirements for exact information