Your Quick Guide to the New Occupational Health and Safety Program

Herzing College Ottawa is happy to announce a brand new diploma program called Occupational Health and Safety. It’s 11 months total, including an 8-week internship. We already offer this program in Toronto and Winnipeg, and are excited to add it to the Ottawa campus. 

In this post, we’re breaking down everything you need to know about the training—and the field in general. Find out what topics and skills are covered in class. Explore your occupational health and safety (OHS) job options. See which valuable industry certifications you’ll be eligible for after graduation. 

Understand why demand is growing for OHS professionals in Canada—and see if this career could be right for you. 

Here’s your quick guide to the new program, and if you’re interested, next steps to learn more. 


What is Occupational Health and Safety? 

The field of occupational health and safety is all about protecting employees in the workplace. A Health and Safety Officer does this in several ways: 

✔️ Inspecting workplaces to ensure safety laws are being followed 

✔️ Doing risk assessments to see where safety could be improved to avoid accidents 

✔️ Developing safety training programs, and delivering that training to workers and managers 
Investigating accidents 

✔️ Recommending fines or closures for companies that don’t comply with safety legislation 


Health and Safety Officers play an extremely important role. They ensure workers’ rights are protected. They also help companies avoid the traumatic impact of employee injuries and deaths. A single serious accident can have a huge impact on a business.  

There’s the human cost to the employee and the loss suffered by their family. The company will face an investigation and possible penalties—not to mention loss of productivity, higher insurance costs, and damaged reputation. 

Occupational health and safety professionals help prevent all of that. They work closely with business managers and workers, to minimize risk, prevent accidents, and continuously improve safety in the workplace. This work saves lives. 


Key Features of the Occupational Health and Safety Program 

To get started in the OHS field, you need at least an Occupational Health and Safety Diploma. You can complete this training in under a year—Herzing’s OHS program is just 11 months, including the internship. 

Key features of the diploma include: 

✔️ 11 months long

✔️ 8-week internship (30 hours per week)

✔️ Approved by the Board of Canadian Registered Safety Professionals (the BCRSP is the most important, non-profit OHS organization in Canada) 

✔️ Program graduates are eligible for certification with the BCRSP (these certifications are recognized across Canada, and required by many employers) 

✔️ Flexible training: study on campus in Ottawa OR online (through Herzing Winnipeg )


Earn a Free Emergency Management Certificate with your Diploma 

Graduates of the Occupational Health and Safety Program qualify for the Herzing HOEP benefit. This benefit lets you take a whole other diploma program or certificate for FREE! 

After completing the OHS program, we recommend taking the Emergency and Disaster Management Certificate. This certificate is designed for health and safety professionals, and gives you additional skills in handling emergencies in the workplace. 

The training opens up career paths as an Emergency Management Specialist (another fast-growing field in Canada). 

The Emergency Management Certificate takes 3-6 months to complete, and is done entirely online, at your own pace. Graduates can apply for Associate Emergency Manager (AEM) certification from the International Emergency Management Association of Canada


Regular cost of the Emergency Management Certificate: $2,295 CAD 

Your cost with HOEP benefit: $0 


If you complete the Occupational Health and Safety Diploma, and then do the free Emergency Management Certificate, you will be eligible for 2 very valuable certifications straight after graduation: 

1.The Canadian Registered Safety Technician (CRST) Certification through the Board of Canadian Registered Safety Professionals 

2.The Associate Emergency Manager (AEM) certification through the International Emergency Management Association of Canada. 

Certifications mean more job options, better pay, and increased opportunities for advancement in the OHS field. 


Career Paths in Occupational Health and Safety 

What are your job options in occupational health and safety? Graduates will likely start out as Assistant Health and Safety Officers. You would work under a more experienced supervisor, helping to develop safety programs, do risk assessments, inspections, and safety training. 

After gaining a few years of work experience, you can apply for the more advanced Canadian Registered Safety Professional (CRSP) Certification. This will help you qualify for Health and Safety Manager/Supervisor positions. Graduates of Herzing’s OHS program are eligible for this certification. 

The average starting salary for Health and Safety Officers in Canada is approximately $45,000 (Payscale). However, with experience, salaries range up to $75,000 (Randstad). 

Health and Safety Officers work in many different industries, and for many different types of organizations, including: 

  • Government agencies (they inspect pubic institutions, like schools and hospitals) 
  • Private OHS auditing firms 
  • Manufacturing 
  • Health care 
  • Restaurant and Hospitality 
  • Construction 
  • Mining 
  • Military 

Steady Demand for OHS Professionals Across Canada 

Every year, thousands of Canadians are injured and killed because of unsafe working conditions. Both workers and business owners want to dramatically reduce those numbers and improve workplace safety. Everyone stands to benefit from minimizing accidents at work. 

This has led to steady demand for OHS professionals all across the country.  The latest Job Outlook Report from the Government of Canada shows stable-to-strong growth in this field, in almost every province and territory (report dated July, 2019). 

This is an excellent time to begin building your career in occupational health and safety. 


What Exactly will you learn in Occupational Health and Safety Training? 

The best way to find out if a career in OHS is right for you?  Take a look at the knowledge and skills required for the role. These are the fundamentals you’ll learn in our Occupational Health and Safety program. 

There are 14 courses included in the diploma. They cover all the theory and hands-on skills needed for entry-level Health and Safety Officer positions. Topics include: 

✔️ How to recognize safety hazards in the workplace 

✔️ How to conduct a workplace safety inspection/audit 

✔️ How to prevent fire and other environmental health hazards 

✔️ Ergonomics, workstation design, and how to prevent repetitive stress injuries 

✔️ Hygiene in the workplace 

✔️ Techniques to promote overall worker health and wellness 

✔️ Occupational health and safety laws in Canada, worker rights, and environmental legislation 

✔️ Monitoring risk and preparing for emergencies 

✔️ How to create and deliver safety training for managers and employees 

✔️ Worker’s Compensation Board and disability management 

✔️ How to create health and safety reports and documentation 


Immediately after graduation, Herzing students can apply for CRST certification and get a competitive edge on the job market. 


Is The Occupational Health and Safety Program Right For You? 

If you want to learn more about the new Occupational Health and Safety Program—or are wondering if you’re a good fit for this career—we invite you to reach out for information and guidance. 

You can fill out the Request Information form on this page to get complete program details via email. Or, click below to browse the OHS program for yourself. See detailed course descriptions, and more information about careers and certifications.  

You can also chat live with an Admissions Advisor to book a campus tour and personal advising appointment. We’re here to help! Click to get started.

Explore the Occupational Health & Safety Program




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