Updated January 2023
Occupational health and safety (OHS) is a broad industry that focuses on the physical, mental, and emotional well-being of people at work.
This field includes all aspects of worker health, from workplace harassment to fire prevention and from ergonomics to emergency evacuation procedures.
OHS professionals are responsible for assessing risks, developing health and safety plans, and delivering training to staff members and management. It’s an incredibly important role, dedicated to protecting lives and helping teams respond appropriately when emergencies strike.
Considering training to become an OHS professional? Take a look at eight reasons occupational health and safety is a good career choice.
1. You don’t need a university degree to start your health & safety career
Many entry- to mid-level OHS positions do not require a university degree.
For example, job postings for roles like Health and Safety Officer, Health and Safety Coordinator, and Health and Safety Specialist often require a diploma or certificate—but rarely a bachelor's degree.
Having a degree in a related field may prove to be an asset, but it is certainly not mandatory to begin your career.
High-level safety manager and risk management roles do often require degrees; however, many advancement opportunities depend on real work experience, not university education.
Prove yourself a valuable asset to your employer, and you will advance your career.
2. Health & Safety diploma programs are quick and practical
You need some form of post-secondary training to start a career in OHS. Luckily, most diploma or certificate programs are quick and practical.
At Herzing, our Occupational Health and Safety program takes just 12 months to complete. Training includes an internship, so graduates can hit the ground running with some real work experience.
Courses cover all the fundamentals of OHS, including:
☑️ Health and safety laws
☑️ OHS workplace procedures and protocols
☑️ Training techniques
☑️ Risk assessments and safety planning
☑️ Hazard recognition
☑️ Worker health and wellness
3. Health & Safety professionals are in demand
Each year, thousands of Canadians are injured or die from work-related accidents. Both government and private businesses are highly motivated to reduce this number.
Governments are developing strict OHS regulations and businesses are hiring professionals who know how to implement those measures.
Failure to comply with health and safety laws can lead to heavy fines, business closures, and serious legal action. Not to mention the terrible toll workplace accidents take on families and whole communities.
Because of this, we’re seeing good demand for skilled OHS professionals across the country.
The Government of Canada Job Bank predicts steady-to-good employment growth in this field across Canada over the next few years.
4. This work is important and makes a real difference
If you’re looking for a career where you can make a real difference in people’s lives, OHS is a great option.
This work deals directly with protecting and preserving human lives. Health and safety professionals make workplaces safer, healthier, and more enjoyable for all.
Think about how much time the average person spends at work. Experts say it’s about 90,000 hours over a lifetime! Imagine the difference a good OHS policy can make to our overall quality of life.
5. Diverse career opportunities
There are occupational health and safety career opportunities in almost every sector of the economy. Options include:
☑️ Service and trade sectors
☑️ Healthcare and education
Health and safety professionals work in both the private and public sectors. Wherever there are workplaces to be inspected and workers to be protected, you will find OHS jobs.
Potential job titles include:
☑️ Health and Safety Officer
☑️ Health and Safety Specialist
☑️ Health and Safety Coordinator
☑️ Emergency Manager
☑️ Health and Safety Manager
Read this post for a more detailed description of careers: Health & Safety Jobs: Explore Your Options
6. Nationally recognized certifications
Canada is home to a very powerful, influential association for OHS professionals. It’s called the Board of Canadian Registered Safety Professionals (BCRSP).
The BCRSP sets high standards for health and safety training, and issues two different certifications for people who meet those standards and work in the field.
The first is an entry-level designation called the Canadian Registered Safety Technician (CRST). You can qualify for this credential straight out of training (provided your diploma program is approved by the BCRSP).
The more advanced credential is the Canadian Registered Safety Professional (CRSP), which requires training plus several years of related work experience.
Both of these designations are respected across Canada and required for many OHS positions. Earning your CRST and CRSP can help you qualify for leadership roles and advance your career (a university degree is not required).
7. You can train online
Too busy to attend classes on campus? Want to work while you earn your health and safety diploma? You’re in luck. Some OHS training programs are now available online.
At Herzing, for example, we offer a completely online Health and Safety certificate program. Students get dedicated support from an instructor while completing the coursework around their own schedule.
8. Competitive salaries
According to the Job Bank, health and safety officers in Canada earn a median wage of $37.44 per hour, or about $78,000 a year. Entry-level OHS professionals can expect to make $22.25 per hour, which works out to about $46,000 a year.
With experience, OHS professionals in manager roles can expect to make over $118,000 a year. The field of occupational health and safety offers competitive salaries at both the beginner and advanced levels.
starting your Occupational Health and Safety career
Rewarding work, good compensation, advancement opportunities, and diverse job options: These are just some of the reasons occupational health and safety is a good career choice.
Interested in learning more about the field? Get started by exploring OHS training programs at Herzing College.
Click below to browse our Occupational Health and Safety diploma program and chat live with an admissions advisor. Learn about application requirements, tuition costs, class schedules, and online learning options. Find out if this career path is right for you. We’re here to help!