Are you interested in OHS as a career? Do you want to know more about what an OHS professional does?
To find out about what an OHS professional does...
You may also want to visit the Safety Institute of Australia website
Before you look at universities and OHS programs there are a few questions your need to think about:
Do I want to work as an OHS practitioner or OHS professional?
What level qualification do I want to study?
What might be my specialty area?
What learning mode suits me best?
Practitioner or professional?
Before selecting an OHS program you need to decide if you want to work as an OHS practitioner or OHS professional. Practitioners study through the Vocational Education and Training (VET) system while OHS professionals study through a university.
Certification of generalist OHS professionals and practitioners is currently being implemented in Australia. Certification as an OHS practitioner requires completion of a VET Diploma in OHS while certification as a generalist OHS professional requires completion of an OHS qualification at the Bachelor degree, Graduate Diploma or Masters level. There are some exceptions to these qualification requirements. For information on OHS professional certification contact the Safety Institute of Australia.
VET qualifications are provided by Technical and Further Education Institutions (TAFE) which are government supported and by private registered training organisations (RTOs). Bachelor degrees, graduate diplomas and masters qualifications are provided by Universities. Bachelor degrees are usually studied full-time although some universities make provision for part-time students. Entry to a graduate diploma or masters program usually requires a degree in another discipline and, in Australia, is usually studied by part-time mature age students.
These qualification levels, including expected duration, are described in the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) which establishes the requirements for education and training qualifications in Australia. The detail of this framework is given at www.aqf.gov.au. The Accreditation Board has worked with OHS educators and OHS professionals to develop OHS Professional Capability Statements. These statements are referenced to the learning outcomes for the various qualification levels under the Australian Qualification Framework (AQF) and describe what an OHS graduate should be able to do. Potential students should review these capability statements as part of identifying the qualification best suited to their needs.
Click here to download the OHS Professional Capability Statements. (coming soon)
Practitioner education – find a VET Diploma in OHS
Information on providers of Diploma in OHS is available at TGA (Training.gov.au)
To search for RTOs delivering the Diploma in OHS you will need to use the Nationally recognised training option in Quick Search. Insert the qualification code BSB51312 and follow the links until you get a list of providers. The resultant list may be quite short as the new qualifications were only endorsed in December 2012 and it will take some time for all RTOs to have their scope approved.
You may wish to go back to the Quick Search and this time use the qualification code BSB51307. As the resultant list of RTOs does not include contact details you have to click on the RTOs website.
Professional education; Find a university level qualification
Before you look at individual universities there a few important things to think about including your special OHS interests and the learning mode that suits you best.
If you are considering a professional role then you should also consider the OHS ‘specialty’ areas as this may inform your choice of program and the university.
There are three main ‘specialty’ areas of OHS
Generalist OHS professional
For more information on the generalist OHS professional role go to www.sia.org.au
For more information on occupational hygiene as an area of practice go to www.aioh.org.au
For more information on occupational ergonomics as an area of practice go to www.ergonomics.org.au
A generalist OHS professional education is a good place to start whatever the nature of your preferred specialty. However as different programs have different emphases it is good to keep your preference in mind when selecting a program and university.
OHS professional education programs in Australia are presented in a range of modes including
- Face-to-face requiring regular attendance at lectures and other activities
- Block mode where compulsory intensive on-campus learning/teaching activities are combined with off-campus learning and assignment activity. There are variations in the sequencing, frequency and duration of the on-campus intensive sessions across the providers.
- Distance mode with optional on-campus workshops that may be of one or two days duration for all or some subjects
- Full distance mode
Each provider has electronic on-line student support. The extent of the support, and the way the on-line facility is used as part of the teaching and learning, varies across the universities.
As part of selecting an OHS program of study you need to think about what mode suits you. Some questions to consider include
- What mode suits my style of learning? Do I need the discipline of attending regular lectures? How important is interaction with students or lecturers? How is interaction supported or facilitated in the various programs?
- What geographical limitations do I have?
- What time issues do I have? Is a block mode a realistic option? Will I make the time for independent study for full distance mode?
- How important is practical work? How is practical work and the development of practical skills supported in the various modes?
Selecting a program
The on-line register of accredited OHS professional education programs should be your first step in selecting an OHS program. You should also use the links to each university’s web site to find out details of the program. Any further queries should be followed up by a telephone call to the course administrator or coordinator.
Click here to go to the list of OHS programs.
AQF 7 (Bachelor level)
AQF 8 (Graduate Diploma)
AQF 9 (Masters by Coursework).
Do you want to have input into the accreditation assessment for the OHS professional education program you are studying or make constructive comment about the program you are studying?
Accreditation of OHS professional education programs is based on course design, resourcing and information, admission criteria, teaching and learning, assessment practices and course monitoring.
See the detailed accreditation criteria.
As part of the assessment for accreditation university and program documentation is analysed, information is sought from academic leaders, course coordinators, teaching staff, administrative staff, past and present students, and where practical employers of past students.
If as a current student you would like to provide confidential feedback on the program you are studying and your experiences click here (coming soon) to answer the survey questions.