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shanari

How important are OSH degrees?
« on: March 05, 2015, 09:29:18 AM »
Do you think prospective employers put too much weight on OSH degrees instead of putting more weight on work experience, or vice versa?


Shanari Baird
Training & Marketing Specialist
OSHAcademy
http://www.oshatrain.org


Chris

Re: How important are OSH degrees?
« Reply #1 on: April 01, 2015, 09:58:30 AM »
Larger companies typically want someone that has a degree in OSH to ensure they have the proper education and training for the job. This would especially be the case if you are taking about a management level position. Smaller companies with a smaller budget may not have this requirement, especially if the prospective employee has a solid background in OSH with a lot of experience.

All that said, if you plan to have a career in OSH, I would recommend a degree of some sort. You can earn AA, BS, or MS degrees from colleges and universities around the United States. If you are looking to hire someone to head your marketing department, you probably want them to have a marketing degree. Similarly, if you are hiring a computer programmer, you probably want someone that has a CS degree. Why do employers what to hire someone with a degree? Simple, by earning a degree, you have conveyed your ability to meet the criteria for the degree. This means you should have not only the OSH skills and knowledge, but also the general skills and abilities that go with a degree, such as reading, writing, and basic mathematics.

Thirty years ago, a bachelor's degree was all you needed to set yourself apart. Today, you will likely need a graduate level degree, such as master's or doctorate degree, along with work experience.

If you are serious about working in the OSH field, you need to develop a plan that is going to get you education, experience, and training so that when you do go for that interview, you are the best candidate and deserve the higher income.

Good luck!  :D
Christopher Geigle
General Manager
OSHAcademy
www.oshatrain.org


Daniel

Re: How important are OSH degrees?
« Reply #2 on: June 09, 2015, 01:31:56 PM »
Do you think prospective employers put too much weight on OSH degrees instead of putting more weight on work experience, or vice versa?

Interestingly enough, until just the past few years, I have rarely read job postings that required an actual degree related to safety.  Generally the postings simply required X years of experience and a bachelors degree, preferably in engineering or business related fields, and perhaps a handful of credentials or certificates.

We're starting to see more of a push towards safety degrees now though, although engineering are frequently acceptable substitutes. 

All of this is a significant change from years ago, when degrees were almost unheard of by many professional safety practitioners. 

meredith

Re: How important are OSH degrees?
« Reply #3 on: June 10, 2015, 10:06:24 AM »

Interestingly enough, until just the past few years, I have rarely read job postings that required an actual degree related to safety.  Generally the postings simply required X years of experience and a bachelors degree, preferably in engineering or business related fields, and perhaps a handful of credentials or certificates.

We're starting to see more of a push towards safety degrees now though, although engineering are frequently acceptable substitutes. 

All of this is a significant change from years ago, when degrees were almost unheard of by many professional safety practitioners.

What do you think contributed to this shift in priorities? Do you feel like this is a positive direction for the safety field to head in?

chadclifford7

Re: How important are OSH degrees?
« Reply #4 on: June 10, 2015, 02:16:54 PM »

Interestingly enough, until just the past few years, I have rarely read job postings that required an actual degree related to safety.  Generally the postings simply required X years of experience and a bachelors degree, preferably in engineering or business related fields, and perhaps a handful of credentials or certificates.

We're starting to see more of a push towards safety degrees now though, although engineering are frequently acceptable substitutes. 

All of this is a significant change from years ago, when degrees were almost unheard of by many professional safety practitioners.

What do you think contributed to this shift in priorities? Do you feel like this is a positive direction for the safety field to head in?

I think professionals at any level, in any career field, are better served and more qualified with a function specific education.  How effective is a biology major in running a journalism company?  He/she might make a great manager but we must seek "most qualified", not just "great".  How much are OSH or environmental practices covered during a run-of-the-mill business mgmt or admin degree program?  Companies should seek "most qualified" and generally-speaking, degree fields can be a good starting point.  With the growing number of brick and mortar/online schools adding OSH/ENV degrees, the candidates are out there.  A specific college degree is just a product.  Schools are realizing there is a higher demand for these specialized degrees because that is what industry is looking for.  I support the movement.
Chad Clifford, ASHM

toddsbiyj

Re: How important are OSH degrees?
« Reply #5 on: June 10, 2015, 08:14:02 PM »
I would agree that the push for a field specific degree is good. Unfortunately, all too many times, they want a degree in lieu of experience i.e.; BS in OSH required with experienced preferred or only a minimal amount of experience required. This is where I believe the gap is forming. It is great to have the theory but without experience how can you effectively manage a safety system?   
I previously wrote an article with this issue in mind. You have a degree and worked in a low risk HSE position and achieved CSP and now you are the guy with all the "knowledge" to lead an organization's safety efforts. Or you are , in the eyes of HR, automatically qualified to manage safety in an field which you are unfamiliar. A fine example is my industry, a guy with GradIOSH/ NEBOSH Diploma with experience in construction or some other industry is a supervisor and really doesn't have a good handle on what is actually required in our specific industry.

So yes, I agree that the push for formal OSH education and certification is great but I believe we may be creating a gap in the HSE industry.
Just another safety guy trying to figure it out...........