Occupational and Environmental Health Nursing

Occupational and environmental health nurses care for employees and aim to improve the safety of their workplaces. Find out what education, licensure and certification is required for this position, and explore undergraduate and graduate degree programs in occupational and environmental health nursing.

Is Occupational and Environmental Health Nursing for Me?

Career Overview

According to the American Association of Occupational Health Nurses (AAOHN), the practice of occupational and environmental health nursing involves providing safety and health programs to workers, preventing injuries from work hazards and promoting lifestyle changes to improve workers' health. This field, which is commonly known as occupational health nursing (OHN), includes a wide variety of possible jobs. As an OHN, you may work to ensure regulatory compliance on the part of employers, treat workers in the workplace or review workplaces for hazards and make recommendations for improvements. You may also counsel employees, design corporate health programs or coordinate the care of injured workers.

In order to work in this field, you will need to have excellent interpersonal and communications skills. You will also need to be highly detail-oriented. Most OHNs earn degrees in nursing in order to become qualified as registered nurses (RNs). Occupational health nurse practitioners generally hold master's degrees and occasionally doctoral degrees in nursing.

Employment Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), as of May 2012, median wages for RNs were $65,470 per year (www.bls.gov). Employment opportunities were expected to grow by 19%, which is faster than average, between 2012 and 2022. In 2012, there were about 2.7 million RNs employed, the majority of whom were employed by hospitals.

How Can I Become an Occupational and Environmental Health Nurse?

Education and Licensing

Nurses generally enter the field by earning a 2-year associate's degree, 3-year nursing diploma or a 4-year bachelor's degree. Coursework in nursing will include anatomy and physiology, psychology and microbiology. You will need to be licensed by passing the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses.

Certificate programs in occupational and environmental health nursing are offered by many colleges and include coursework in industrial hygiene, occupational health, industrial toxicology and epidemiology. At both the bachelor's and master's degree levels, specialized programs in either environmental or occupational health nursing are available, and these can generally be done partially online.

Certifications

The American Board for Occupational Health Nurses (ABOHN) credentials nurses as certified occupational health nurses (COHN) or certified occupational health nurse-specialists (COHN-S). COHN certification is available for nurses who successfully complete an exam and have either 3000 hours of related work experience or a certificate in occupational health. This certification focuses mostly upon direct care.

The COHN-S certification is available for nurses with bachelor's degrees or higher. It requires either 3000 hours of work experience, certification in occupational health nursing or graduate level education with a concentration in occupational health. This certification focuses more on health care management, education and consultation.

Related Articles for Occupational and Environmental Health Nursing

View More Articles

Related Videos

  • What Does a Health Inspector Do? - Video

    Health Inspectors help keep the public safe by inspecting a variety of locations for health and safety hazards. They may also be called environmental health specialists or occupation health specialists.
  • What is Environmental Management? - Video

    Environmental Management is the active management of society's impact on the environment. Students who study Environmental Management can work in a wide range of industries, including waste disposal, pollution control, public health, environmental protection and recycling.
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

  • George Mason University

    George Mason University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at George Mason University:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • The George Washington University

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

    Popular programs at The George Washington University:

    • Master
    • Certificates

    Online Programs Available

  • Kaplan University

    Kaplan University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Kaplan University:

    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

  • American University

    American University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at American University:

    • Master

    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

  • 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

  • Saint Joseph's University

    Saint Joseph's University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Saint Joseph's University:

    Online Programs Available

  • Colorado Technical University

    Colorado Technical University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Colorado Technical University:

    Online Programs Available

  • University of the Southwest

    University of the Southwest responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at University of the Southwest:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4
  5. Next »