High school students interested in becoming occupational health specialists should take courses in english, mathematics, chemistry, biology, and physics. A bachelor’s degree is needed in occupational health, safety, or a related scientific or technical field, such as engineering, biology, or chemistry.

For some positions, a master’s degree is required in industrial hygiene, health physics, or a related subject. Typical courses include radiation science, hazardous material management and control, risk communications, and respiratory protection. These courses may vary, depending on the specialty in which a student wants to work. For example, courses in health physics focus on topics that differ from those in industrial hygiene.

Work experience is often important in this occupation. Internships are not required, but employers often prefer to hire candidates who have been an intern.

Although occupational health specialists learn standard laws and procedures in their formal education, they also need a moderate amount of on-the-job training for specific work environments. For example, all workplaces must meet a certain standard for air quality. However, an occupational health specialist who will inspect offices needs different training than one inspecting factories.

Although certification is voluntary, many employers encourage it. Certification is available through several organizations, depending on the field in which the health specialists work. They typically must have graduated from an accredited educational program and have work experience to be eligible to take most certification exams. To keep their certification, occupational health specialists are usually required to complete periodic continuing education.

What are Occupational Health Specialists like?


Based on our pool of users, occupational health specialists tend to be predominately investigative people. Take our career test to see what career interest category best describes you.

Occupational Health Specialists by Strongest Interest Archetype

Based on sample of 112 Sokanu users

Are Occupational Health Specialists happy?


Occupational health specialists rank among the least happy careers. Overall they rank in the 22nd percentile of careers for satisfaction scores.

Occupational Health Specialist Career Satisfaction by Dimension

Percentile among all careers

Education History of Occupational Health Specialists

The most common degree held by occupational health specialists is Environmental Science. 7% of occupational health specialists had a degree in environmental science before becoming occupational health specialists. That is over 7 times the average across all careers. Business Management And Administration graduates are the second most common among occupational health specialists, representing 7% of occupational health specialists in the Sokanu user base, which is 1.1 times the average.

Occupational Health Specialist Education History

This table shows which degrees people earn before becoming an Occupational Health Specialist, compared to how often those degrees are obtained by people who earn at least one post secondary degree.

Degree % of occupational health specialists % of population Multiple
Environmental Science 7.1% 1.0% 7.0×
Business Management And Administration 7.1% 6.3% 1.1×
Community And Public Health 7.1% 0.8% 9.0×
Biology 6.2% 3.4% 1.8×
Human Resources 3.5% 0.9% 3.8×
Industrial Engineering 1.8% 0.3% 5.5×

Occupational Health Specialist Education Levels

73% of occupational health specialists have a bachelor's degree. 18% of occupational health specialists have a master's degree.

No education 0%
High school diploma 3%
Associate's degree 6%
Bachelor's degree 73%
Master's degree 18%
Doctorate degree 0%

How to Become an Occupational Health Specialist

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