How to Become A Occupational Health Nurse

Occupational health nursing a broader field within the general area of nursing and is focused on the management and prevention of work related injuries. This area has gained more importance in recent years due to growing business activity and the need for safety at work. A majority of these nurses are found in organizations and work towards developing safety laws and eliminating all kinds of occupational hazards. Occupational health laws have been designed by the government that must be complied with by all businesses. It is the key responsibility of an occupational health nurse to make sure these laws are observed.

Occupational Health Education Programs

Having at least a bachelor’s degree in nursing is mandatory for occupational nurse careers. Nursing programs are available at all levels of post-secondary education. Students can opt between LPN program, RN programs, certification programs, BSN and MSN degree program. Each program is aimed at preparing students for a career in nursing. However, students who have just graduated from high school are recommended to develop fundamental nursing skills through basic LPN or RN programs. Becoming a licensed practitioner nurse can lead to entry level careers and also set a solid base for acquiring advanced nursing education.

A bachelor degree in nursing will take four years to complete and is popularly pursued by many students. It is an advanced level program and can also be earned online. The first three years of the program are dedicated to providing students with an in-depth understanding of advanced nursing concepts, and the development of specialized nursing skills. The importance of skill development cannot be undermined in the field of nursing as it involves a lot of patient interaction and involvement in medical processes. During the last year of the program, students can pick a nursing specialty according to their future career goals. Occupational health nursing can be pursued as a specialization area.


Certification programs and licensing

Occupational nursing certificate programs are designed to certify students in the core specialty and can be completed in 6 to 8 months at various nursing institutes. Many healthcare organizations prefer nurses who have acquired certifications in a specific field. The course structure is usually job-oriented and covers all major job tasks expected in a certain profession. With an occupational health nurse certification, one can expect better job opportunities in the professional field.

Licensing is also another major step that must be completed to become an occupational nurse. All nurses in all specialties are required to earn professional licenses by clearing the National Council Licensure Examinations held by a state nursing board. Occupational nurses must pass the Certified Occupational Health Nurse-Specialist examinations COHN-S.
Career Opportunities
With the completion of 3000 hours of clinical experience and a valid license, one can expect to earn over $50,000. Occupational nurses are in demand by all kinds of organizations such as hospitals, clinics, manufacturing firms, factories, plants, and government agencies. The main job responsibilities that are part and parcel of this career are mentioned below.



  • Monitor and assess workplace environments
  • Identify health hazards
  • Devise health safety plans
  • Provide first aid and screening to workers
  • Provide counseling and support


Ask an Expert

Q:How to become an occupational health nurse?

A:Occupational nurses help treat and look after people at workplace settings. To become an occupational nurse, you must have a bachelor degree in nursing and a certification in occupational nursing. Apart from this, you need to earn a valid license from the state nursing board and complete the minimum training requirements.

Q:Can you give me some information about an occupational health nurse?

A:Occupational health nurses are professionals who provide healthcare services to the worker population. These nurses focus upon promotion, restoration of health, prevention of disease, and protection from work hazards. To become an occupational health nurse, you must have a degree in this field along with a license. Browse through our page for more information.

Q:After completing occupational health nurse training, what will I be required to do on the job?

A:As an occupational health nurse, you can seek work in health and safety teams of various organizations. Your main job is to attend to medical emergencies at workplaces, ensure health safety of employees, manage employee health records, and promote safety. Take a look at our page for more detail about occupational health nurses.

Q:What does a certified occupational health nurse do on the job?

A:Certified occupational health nurses provide healthcare services to workers. These nurses promote safety and health in workplace settings of all kinds, and help identify and mitigate any health hazard. The job duties may include tasks such as providing emergency medication, responding to any medical emergency in workplaces, and educating workers about health safety.

Q:Can you please tell me about the certification criteria for occupational health nurse certification?

A:The American Board for Occupational Health Nurses is the leading association that offers certification in this specialty field. Individuals must meet the requirements for certification which include the following: individuals must have an AND, LPN, or RN degree; must have completed at least 3000 hours of work in occupational healthcare settings; and must pass the certification examination conducted by the board.

Q:What occupational health nurse programs are accredited and approved?

A:Accreditation is important to check when selecting a nursing school or a nursing program. There are many accredited schools that offer accredited nursing programs. You can individually check with each school and learn about their accreditation status. Unaccredited programs may lead to difficulty in getting a license or a professional nursing job.

Q:How to become a certified occupational health nurse?

A:To become an occupational health nurse, you must have an RN or BSN degree. You can further pursue a masters degree and specialize in occupational health. One of the most important requirements to becoming an occupational health nurse is getting certification. The American board of Occupational Health nurses offers certification in this area.

Q:What are the typical courses of an occupational health and safety degree?

A:In an occupational health and safety degree, students are likely to cover typical courses such as pollution control, construction safety, accident prevention, safety administration, and more. The coursework will vary from school to school, and will also depend upon the level of degree e being pursued. For more detail, browse through our page.

Q:Can you give me a list of common courses covered in an occupational health nurse certification course?

A:An occupational health nurse certification course will cover important areas such as the industrial hygiene, occupational safety and ergonomics, epidemiology, toxicology, work and safety techniques, work hazards, and more. The coursework will vary from school to school and will depend upon other factors. Take a look at our page for more information.

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