Online Bachelor's in Occupational Health and Safety Degree Programs

Positions within the occupational health and safety industry are critical in today’s world. Because safety is paramount to public and private workplaces, occupational safety professionals are often called in to investigate risks and help organizations reduce accidents, hazards, and injuries.

If you enjoy helping others and are detail-oriented, this career could be a good fit. Our guide will detail the coursework required for the degree, financial aid options, job outlook, and potential salary. By the end, you will better understand whether this degree is right for you.


What Is an Online Bachelor’s Degree in Occupational Health and Safety?

An online bachelor’s in Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) equips you with the knowledge and skills to make workplaces hazard-free through accident investigation and emergency management courses. In addition, online programs allow you to study at home and complete courses on a flexible timeline.

What coursework is required?

Like all bachelor’s programs, a Bachelor’s Degree in OHS requires a foundation of general education courses and degree-specific coursework.

For example, fire prevention, industrial ergonomics, industrial hygiene, and toxicology are just a few standard courses in an online bachelor’s degree in Occupational Health and Safety.

An online bachelor’s degree in Occupational Health and Safety will include program-specific classes such as:

OSHA Standards

This course highlights the basic compliance principles with federal (OSHA) regulations.


This Toxicology course teaches students the possible adverse effects of pesticides, food additives, drugs, and industrial chemicals.

Industrial Hygiene

This course introduces students to the technical concepts of industrial hygiene. It also highlights the significance of the industrial hygienist in safeguarding employee health and safety.

Construction Safety

The construction industry is significant, and this course explores the safety practices within the industry to prevent severe injury or death.

Introduction to Workplace Safety

Frontline workers have a lot of risk in their daily jobs, so this course highlights the significant hazards, including the industrial environment.

Legal Aspects of Safety and Health

This course delves deeper into the federal agency overseeing the Occupational Safety and Health industry (OSHA) and explains the legal responsibilities of the employers.

Fire Prevention and Code Enforcement

Code enforcement teaches students about building codes and the fire inspection process.

Interactions of Hazardous Materials

A safety officer must know how to handle hazardous materials in an emergency or incident. This class teaches students about inherently dangerous compounds and mixtures.

Industrial Ergonomics

This course highlights the principles of ergonomics in the industrial environment. It also shows how to create a good workplace design based on user data.

These courses help prepare you for on-the-job tasks. Some are more theoretical, while others offer hands-on tips and techniques to keep employees safe. For example, chemical classification courses help prepare you to identify toxic chemicals and implement appropriate cleanup steps.

Also, prepare to study general education classes to build a foundation for your health and safety courses. General education courses in an online bachelor’s program typically include humanities, science, math, social sciences, and communication. If you’ve already completed some general education courses, you may be able to transfer the credits to your new program.

There are also program-specific electives, such as Accident Investigation, Fleet and Driver Safety, Principles of Fire and Emergency Services Safety and Survival, and Risk Management. These electives will further solidify what you’ve learned in your program.

By program completion, you will have learned about school bus safety, hazardous materials, fire inspections, first responder safety, regulatory compliance, construction safety, building codes, and OSHA standards.

Are there program concentrations?

Some programs offer concentrations for students wishing to focus on a particular aspect of occupational health and safety. For example, explore oil and gas, fire protection, environmental science, or construction safety concentrations to enjoy a specialized program as you prepare for the next step in your career.

Not sure which area you wish to specialize in? Apply for a general occupational health and safety bachelor’s degree to keep your options open as you explore various careers.

How long is the program?

If you cannot spend four years pursuing a standard bachelor’s degree, consider an accelerated program to receive a bachelor’s in as little as 36 months. It’s also possible to transfer some of your general education credits to the program to reduce the duration.

What Can I Do with an Online Bachelor’s Degree in Occupational Health and Safety?

As a degree holder, you’ll have the opportunity to apply for a position in one of these professional roles:

  • Construction and Building Inspector
  • Occupational Health and Safety Specialist
  • Safety Manager
  • Injury Prevention Specialist
  • Fire Inspector
  • Environmental Protection Agent
  • Environmental Scientist
  • Intelligence Analyst
  • Industrial Hygienist
  • Safety Coordinator
  • Occupational Health Nurse
  • Health and Safety Engineer
  • Professor
  • Safety Trainer
  • Well-being Manager

Most bachelor’s degree programs in occupational health and safety cover many topics to prepare you for any of these professional roles. Other degrees offer concentrations and elective courses to focus on your preferred position.

Average Salary for a Bachelor’s Degree in Occupational Health and Safety

Some of the most common professions associated with this bachelor’s degree program offer competitive salaries and are expected to grow as fast as (or faster) than the national average job growth. For example, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, or BLS, found a 2021 median pay of approximately $61,640 per year for construction and building inspectors.

Occupational health and safety technicians and specialists earned a median pay of $74,870 per year in 2021. The median annual wage for fire inspectors was $63,080 per year in the same year. Health and safety engineers earned approximately $99,040 per year in median yearly pay.

These salaries are the median pay for some common professions associated with the degree. They typically require at least a bachelor’s degree, and some positions require on-the-job training or work experience. The median salary for all Bachelor of Science, Occupational Health and Safety degree holders was about $71,200, according to PayScale. These median and average salaries are for positions across the United States, so wages can vary depending on your job location.

What Is the Job Outlook for those with a Bachelor’s in Occupational Health and Safety?

One of the fastest-growing careers in the health and safety industry is fire inspector. According to BLS, the number of fire inspectors is projected to grow by as much as 6% between 2021 and 2031. Other careers are expected to grow roughly the same as the national average.

This growth means there will be more openings for these positions in the future than there are now. In addition, as the demand increases for fire inspectors and other health and safety roles, you may be able to negotiate for a higher salary or other benefits due to your experience and education.

Working as an inspector, safety officer, or another role can be a gratifying career. These positions allow you to utilize your expertise to save lives and reduce facility expenses. By working to reduce fires, chemical spills, and other environmental concerns, you’re promoting a greener future from inside corporations. 

Many salaries in this industry are competitive, so you can enjoy a comfortable salary and competitive benefits. In addition, these professional roles are available in hospitals, construction sites, industrial facilities, and other commercial locations, so you can choose to work on your feet, in an office, or a more flexible role.

How Much Does a Bachelor’s Degree in Occupational Health and Safety Cost?

Many scholarships and employer reimbursement programs are associated with occupational health and safety, so the tuition price varies. According to U.S. News, online bachelor’s degrees typically cost less than on-campus ones, averaging between $38,500 and $60,600. In addition, an accelerated program may be even more affordable than a standard or part-time option.

It’s important to factor in other costs related to your studies. If you’re looking to study full-time, then you need to have a plan to pay for your living expenses while you study. One significant benefit of an online program is that you don’t need to relocate to a new city or region, so you don’t have to pay for moving expenses or new accommodations.

Is Financial Aid or Scholarships Available?

If you’re worried about the tuition cost, most accredited online universities accept the same federal financial aid as brick-and-mortar schools. So, online students are generally eligible to complete the FAFSA form or Free Application for Federal Student Aid. The FAFSA form determines eligibility for Pell grants and federal student loans.

You can also explore scholarships as opportunities to reduce the cost of your program. For example, some online programs offer full-tuition scholarships for students who excel or those with financial challenges. In addition, look for non-profit organizations willing to help you pay for your fundamental occupational health and safety degree.

For example, the American Society of Safety Professionals provides scholarships to students beginning their educational journey at the undergraduate or graduate level. Other organizations in the industry may offer similar scholarships.

Also, ask your current employer if they offer scholarships to students pursuing a bachelor’s degree. Even if you’re not working in the same field as your degree program, they may encourage you to begin your higher education with a small scholarship.

Additionally, with the flexible schedule of an online program, you can work while going to school. Working is often challenging if you attend a brick-and-mortar university or college. Ask if you can arrange payment plans with your program in addition to grants, scholarships, or loans.

What Licenses or Certifications are Required?

While entry-level jobs are available for new graduates, you may want to be more marketable to move forward in your career. Certifications may provide you with more job opportunities and a higher salary. In addition, some companies require OSHA certification (completion of a training course), as it helps them set consistent standards.

Two beginner training programs include OSHA 10 and OSHA 30. The OSHA 10 program is an entry-level training program for non-supervisory roles. This two-day training can be completed online or in person and will take 10 hours. The OSHA 30 program is more intensive and designed for those with a supervisory role. The four-day class requires 30 hours of coursework.

Both training courses will teach you how to identify and avoid job-related hazards, the employer’s responsibilities, what protections are guaranteed to the employees, and how to file a complaint if these things are not met.

Some additional certifications in the industry are:

  • Certified Occupational Safety Specialist (COSS)
  • Construction Certified Safety and Health Official
  • Environmental Master Certification
  • General Industry Certified Safety and Health Official
  • Risk Management Master Certification
  • Safety and Health Master Certification

There are many certifications depending on what your focus is, and some employers may require you to be certified or licensed. However, one of the benefits of being certified or trained by an OSHA program is that they are the leading source of workplace safety.

Being OSHA-compliant has many benefits because of its reputation across numerous industries. In addition, OSHA certification courses reflect the most updated industry safety procedures, so you can rest assured that your training isn’t outdated.

Is an Online Occupational Health and Safety Degree Right for Me?

If you’re passionate about helping others and creating a safer workplace, a career in occupational health and safety may be right for you. For example, some positions inspect worksites, while others help plan a secure site. Explore health and safety careers in various industries to find the right job for your personality and career goals.

One of the best things about this degree is that it prepares you for a role in practically any industry. So, if you like to work indoors, you can choose a position and industry where you can do that. Likewise, other positions will be a good fit if you prefer the outdoors. For example, you can work in the insurance industry, for the National Park Service, healthcare, hospitality, construction, and more.

However, just like any career, it can be challenging. Some professionals in the industry report that some parts of the job can be pretty overwhelming. For example, it can be traumatizing if you have to investigate a death in the workplace or deal with a severe injury. In addition, you may deal with chemical spills, explosions, or environmental breaches in specific industries. You must be resilient and even-keeled to get through these stressful situations.

 In addition to handling stress and challenging situations, attention to detail and a commitment to safety are critical skills that can help you become a successful employee in the industry.

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