Certified Occupational Health Nurse: Salary and Career Facts

Explore the career requirements for occupational health nurses. Get the facts about job duties, education, licensure requirements and salary to determine if this is the right career for you. Schools offering Nursing degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Certified Occupational Health Nurse?

Occupational health nurses work in many areas of business and industry with the goal of preventing illnesses and accidents. They keep track of employees' health history and make sure that their work environment is as safe as possible. In the event of a workplace injury or illness, occupational health nurses are responsible for minimizing the negative effects and creating preventative care programs to help minimize future incidents. The following chart gives you an overview about entering this field.

Degree Required Post-bachelor's certificate or master's degree
Training Required 3,000 hours of work experience
Key Responsibilities Develop and train employees in preventative occupational health and safety programs; monitor employee job-related health status; provide on-site care for job-related injuries and accidents
Licensure and/or Certification All states require RNs to be licensed; professional certification is available and may be required by employers
Job Growth (2014-2024) 16% for all registered nurses*
Median Salary (2017) $68,127 for occupational health nurses**

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **PayScale.com

What Would I Do as a Certified Occupational Health Nurse?

Nurses working in clinical environments help to treat sick patients, but nurses working in occupational health work to prevent illness and injury in the workplace. As an occupational health nurse (OHN), you would observe the staff and environment that you are hired to oversee in order to prevent and minimize health risks for workers. You need to be aware of sterile procedures, contagion behavior, industrial hygiene and injury potentials. You could work in a variety of settings, from industrial factories to health care settings.

What Education Do I Need?

OHNs have varying degrees of education and training. At the minimum, OHNs are Registered Nurses (RNs) who hold a diploma or an associate's degree in nursing. Bachelor's degree programs in nursing also are widely available. After you complete your nursing program, you can sit for the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN). Occupational nursing programs are offered at the certificate, post-bachelor's and master's levels. Most of these programs are open to RNs who have at least two years of work experience. You would study industrial hygiene, epidemiology, occupational safety and workplace diseases.

How Do I Become Certified?

The American Board for Occupational Health Nurses, Inc. offers two voluntary certifications for nurses with varying degrees of education and training (www.abohn.org). Eligibility requirements to take the Certified Occupational Nurse (COHN) exam include an RN license and either 3,000 hours of work experience or graduation from a certificate program in occupational health. To take the Certified Occupational Health Nurse-Specialist (COHN-S) exam, you'll need an RN license, a bachelor's degree and 3,000 hours of work experience or a master's degree or certificate in occupational health.

What Salary Could I Earn?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in May 2015 that registered nurses made a median salary of $67,490 (www.bls.gov). PayScale.com reported in January 2017 that occupational health nurses in the 10th-90th percentile range earned between $50,225 and $85,100, with a median of $68,127.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

There are numerous other nursing careers you may choose to pursue with an associate's or bachelor's degree in nursing, including positions in hospitals, clinics or schools. RNs who wish to continue their training and education through a master's degree or certificate program can also prepare for a variety of advanced practice roles, such as a nurse practitioner or nurse anesthetist. Similar to occupational health nurses, individuals in these positions must also be licensed and pass a certification exam. nurse practitioner act as primary care providers and treat and assess patients. Nurse anesthetists provide anesthesia, monitor vitals and provide related care during surgical and other procedures.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools

  • The George Washington University

    The George Washington University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at The George Washington University:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Kaplan University

    Kaplan University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Kaplan University:

    • Doctoral
    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees
    • Certificates

    Online Programs Available

  • Grand Canyon University

    Grand Canyon University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Grand Canyon University:

    • Doctoral
    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Strayer University

    Strayer University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Strayer University:

    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Capella University

    Capella University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Capella University:

    • Doctoral
    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Regent University

    Regent University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Regent University:

    • Doctoral
    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Northcentral University

    Northcentral University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Northcentral University:

    Online Programs Available

  • Penn Foster

    Penn Foster responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Penn Foster:

    • Certificates

    Online Programs Available

  • Brightwood College

    Brightwood College responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Brightwood College:

    • Certificates

    Online Programs Available

  • Benedictine University

    Benedictine University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Benedictine University:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. Next »