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Health and Safety Distance Learning - Study Online for this Socially Responsible Technical Career

Aug 17, 2007
Both the demand and the available options for Health and Safety Distance Learning are high in USA, thanks to the growing public demand for wider and stricter regulations from the government's side to ensure safe and healthy workplaces. Career options include Health & Safety Specialists, and Health & Safety Technicians. If you are responsible to the core, concerned about society's safety, and a troubleshooter by nature, nothing can be more rewarding than one of these careers.

The field of Health and Safety should not be confused with the field of Safety Engineering. The more formal title for Health and Safety is Occupational Safety and Health. While Safety Engineering is a full-fledged branch of Engineering, Occupational Safety and Health is more of a scientific, medical, technical, managerial, & regulatory domain. This is reflected in its administration in the country by Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) coming under the US Department of Labor, and The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) under the US Department of Health and Human Services.

What it Involves

Health and Safety Distance Learning involves taking an Associate, Bachelors, or Graduate Degree in Occupational Safety and Health through the distance or online mode. Several Graduate and Undergraduate Certificate Courses are also available. Those planning to become Health and Safety Technicians can go for an Associate or even a Certificate Course, while those aspiring to become Health and Safety Specialists should go for at least a Bachelors, as the main employer in the domain, the Federal and State Governments, have fixed it as the minimum qualification.

However, there are more Graduate Degree Courses in Health and Safety Distance Learning than Bachelors or Associate Degree Courses. This is mainly driven by the private sector's preference to employ Graduate experts with a firm background in supporting subjects like Science or Medicine.

Various professional certifications available in this domain like the Certified Safety Professional (CSP), Certified Industrial Hygienist (CIH), Occupational Health and Safety Technologist (OHST) require passing stringent examinations, and the training for them are also available through Health and Safety Distance Learning.

Why Health and Safety?

The discipline of Occupational Safety and Health is a fast growing field that is concerned with the safety and health of employees, customers, and the public. While the best managed companies go in for elaborate Health and Safety Departments to stand out in business ethics and cut the loss of employee productivity, many others are forced to create a Health and Safety program, at least to comply with the civil and criminal laws and thus avoid litigation. This has resulted in the field growing steadily over the past several years, and is expected to grow even further, through the next ten years.

Specialists and Technicians in this field get to work in large private firms or Governments (Federal, State, or Local), where the overall benefits will be much better than in smaller organizations. Most Health and Safety Specialists earn approximately between US $40,000 to US $80,000, while Technicians can expect a salary between US $30,000 to US $70,000.

Why Health and Safety Distance Learning?

Since it is a critical service, the private sector as well as governments demand experience in the field as a prerequisite for employment. This has resulted in a preference for those already exposed to the domain, due to work in an allied field obtained after undergraduate education in engineering, biology, or chemistry. As such, it is very important for those aspiring to be a Health and Safety Professional to undertake simultaneous work in this domain or in an allied field. The best option for such candidates is Health and Safety Distance Learning.

Universities & Colleges Offering Health and Safety Distance Learning

Many Universities and colleges offer Health and Safety Distance Learning courses, but the course names tend to be very different from each other. Tulane University offers three Graduate Degrees in the field, which are distinguished for their real-time, live interaction sessions over the internet. Spanning two years, these courses are Masters of Public Health (MPH) in Occupational Health and Safety Management, MPH in Occupational Health for Health Professionals, and Master of Science in Public Health (MSPH) in Industrial Hygiene.

Indiana State University offers a Master of Science in Health and Safety, with a specialization in Occupational Safety Management. The course delivery is primarily through television, but a weekly personal interaction with the instructor might be necessary.

Montana Tech Graduate School of University of Montana offers an online M.S. in Industrial Hygiene. Featuring advanced study in Occupational Health, the course also equips the students for the certification program by American Board for Industrial Hygiene. Montana Tech makes no distinctions between its regular and online students for this course.

Apart from such prestigious Universities, many smaller institutions also offer Health and Safety Distance Learning. However, prospective students need to ascertain the accreditation details as numerous institutions with poor accreditations also offer these courses.
About the Author
Jim Zorn is web master of the Guide to Distance Learning. Please visit to learn more about online colleges and universities, distance learning degrees, majors and courses offered.
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