Occupational Health Specialist

Occupational Health Specialist Careers

Employment concerns can range from finding a job that support quality of life in terms of finances, to also finding work that supports a safe and healthy lifestyle.  Public health careers can not only offer openings for new jobs, but also support jobs that aid in the working conditions of others.  Occupational health specialists are in demand, not just as a great career option, but also because they improve the working conditions for the public.

With many industries seeing a downturn in hiring, public health still provides steady jobs that also offer advancement,  Occupational health specialists can help to extend this chance to other sectors by creating safer and more productive work spaces.  If you are interested and finding a good career path as well as helping the public work environment, then the position of occupational health specialist is the path to take.

What Is An Occupational Health Specialist?

Occupational health specialists ensure that work environments are conducive to wellness.  This can include the inspection of storage and disposal of hazardous materials in industrial work environments, but can also include ensure sanitary process are enforced at any business location.  Occupational health specialists may check for adherence to local health and safety regulations, but will also educate employees about preventive practices to cut down on the spread of communicable disease.  This job considers overall implications in wellness and addresses the practices that can most promote them in the workplace.

As an occupational health specialist, you would be expected to perform the following duties:

  •   Assess the work environment for health and safety risks.
  •   Evaluate employee and management behavior in relation to better practices for wellness
  •   Conduct interviews with the staff to determine any health concern.
  •   Develop protocols to create healthier work environments.
  •   Enforce current codes for health and safety in the workplace.
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Other skills that can aid you as an occupational health specialist will include:

  •   Critical thinking:  You will need to be able to connect and establish cause and effect for factors that may create health risks.
  •   Observation:  You will need to be able to identify practices, environmental, and structural issues that could be a factor in workplace wellness
  •   Communication:  You will also need to be able to express your concerns in a reasonable and logical manner.  This may include both written and verbal information.
  •   Problem solving:  Coming up with preventive and interventive strategies will also be a part of this job.

Nature Of The Work

Occupational health specialists will divide their time between the office and on site work.  In the office environment, you will need to draft reports and suggestions for standards of practice that create a healthier workplace environment.  In some cases you may need to present these suggestions and findings at municipal hearings in order to propose stronger health and safety regulations.  Often, this information will be presented to business managers as a teach out to the staff.

On site work will require that you observe workplaces and consider structural, industry, and practice related factors in the context of staff health.  This will require some travel to different places of business, and may include several days of observation to isolate habits that are at risk for the spread of disease or for safety concerns.

Education And Training

Occupational health specialists may gain employment with a four year Bachelor’s degree.  The course focus should include workplace safety, engineering, biology, and chemistry.  As well, a familiarity with local laws and regulations on workplace health is necessary, and this may require experiential training.  Most four year undergraduate programs provide some learning labs, but many applicants will complete an internship to gain this experience.

Although many employers do not require any certification for this position, it is generally encouraged to gain credentialing.  This can help in job advancement and may also lead to higher pay grades.  Credentialing occurs through industry examination, and some states will require continuing education in order to maintain this designation,

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Occupational health specialists can enjoy a good salary, even at an entry level.  The low end of wages starts at over $40,000 per year.  Most occupational safety specialists will make closer to $66,000 per year, and this is standard for a number of employers.  With higher education and greater experience, advanced positions in this field may earn as much as $98,000 annually.  This presents an attractive career path for many people who are searching for a stable job.

The growth in this industry is also fairly steady.  Increases in employment are above the national average, and an expected 7% rise is projected between 2012 and 2022.  This presents a picture of good stability for job retention, with continued opportunities for new applicants.  If you are interested in employment that can offer you good entry level benefits as well as the room to advance, then a job as an occupational health specialist may provide a viable option.

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