Occupational Health Nurse Career Overview | nursing magazine.org (2023)

how long will it be 4-8 years
Job prospects 7% growth from 2019-2029
average earning potential $83,000 SOURCE: American Association of Occupational Health Nurses

What does a company nurse do?

BSN required

optional certification

OHNs fulfill a variety of roles and responsibilities as caregivers, administrators, educators and consultants. Depending on the work environment, these RNs work alongside other medical professionals, business and human resource managers, government officials, and security specialists. The main tasks include:

primary responsibilities

  • Case management for insurance claims, workers compensation and disability benefits
  • Counseling, crisis intervention, and employee assistance programs
  • Development of health and well-being promotion and risk reduction strategies
  • Compliance with Laws and Regulations
  • Hazard identification and risk assessment in the workplace

key skills

  • Interested in health and safety issues
  • Problem solving, communication and teaching skills
  • Ability to work with diverse populations and in risk environments

Occupational Health Nurse Career Overview | nursing magazine.org (4)

(Video) Above and Beyond during a Pandemic: St. Jude Occupational Health Nurses

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Where do occupational physicians work?

RNs can find jobs with OHN in both clinical and non-clinical settings.

hospitals and medical clinics

Many OHNs work in these settings, treating patients with work-related injuries and illnesses, providing emergency services, and conducting drug and alcohol testing.

manufacturing and production departments

The duties of these nurses vary by employer. They can conduct hiring surveys, create employee fitness programs, and act as case managers for insurance claims.


Government agencies use OHNs to conduct risk assessment research, develop industry-wide safety regulations, and create emergency preparedness policies.

Select MSN Online Programs

Why become an occupational physician?

Although not as well known as other nursing specialties, an OHN career offers significant personal and professional fulfillment that promotes well-being and safety in diverse work environments.

Benefits of becoming an OHN

  • Rewarding collaboration with other medical professionals, health and safety experts and business managers who strive to provide safe and risk-free work environments

  • Career opportunities in less stressful non-clinical environments

  • Greater focus on prevention and wellness rather than treatment of illness and life-or-death situations

  • High job satisfaction and competitive salaries, especially for those with advanced degrees, certifications and experience

Disadvantages of becoming an OHN

  • Slower job growth compared to other nursing specialties

  • Additional skills and training required beyond the RN license

  • Possible exposure to hazardous work environments

  • Physically demanding work requires standing and walking for inspection and evaluation

  • Less recognition innursing professionthan other specialties
(Video) Nursing - The Career of a Lifetime, Part 1

This is how you become an occupational physician

Occupational Health Nurse Career Overview | nursing magazine.org (5)

Earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) or an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN).

Atraditional BSNlasts four years compared to two yearsfor a DNA. Accelerated RN to BSN programs or bridge programs can reduce the time it takes to earn a nursing degree.

Occupational Health Nurse Career Overview | nursing magazine.org (6)

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Pass the NCLEX-RN to obtain the RN license.

OHNs must hold a valid RN license in the state where they wish to practice. Graduates of the ADN or BSN programs apply to participate in theexame NCLEX RNthrough the National Nurse Licensing Board.

Occupational Health Nurse Career Overview | nursing magazine.org (7)

Gain experience in occupational health care.

OHN positions generally require approximately five years of experience in medical/surgical or critical care nursing. RNs who wish to obtain OHN certification require a minimum of 3,000 clinical hours.

Occupational Health Nurse Career Overview | nursing magazine.org (8)

Consider becoming a company certified nurse.

Although voluntarily, thecompany certified nurse(COHN) or the Certified Occupational Health Nurse-Specialist (COHN-S) credential can improve hiring prospects and career opportunities.

Learn more about becoming an occupational health professional

Become a doctor at work

How much does an occupational physician earn?

although the USADepartment of Labor Statisticsdoes not provide specific data for OHNs, the organization predicts an average of 175,900 openings for all RNs from 2019 to 2029American Association of Occupational Health NursesIn the 2018 Compensation Survey, the average OHN salary has increased by 11% since 2013. In 2018, OHNs earned an average salary of nearly $87,000.

Compensation varies according to the type of certification and level of completion. Those with COHN-S and COHN-S/Case Manager certifications enjoy significantly higher salaries, earning $95,150 and $97,150 per year, respectively. OHNs what aMaster of Science in Pflegeor a Doctor of Nursing Practice can expect to earn an average annual salary in excess of $100,000.

(Video) Occupational Video - Nurse Practitioner (NP)

Find state-specific salary data

Career progression opportunities

Industry must implement workplace health and safety plans to comply with US regulations. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to protect employees. Increasingly, companies are hiring onsite OHNs to help them achieve compliance, reduce injury and illness costs, and reduce worker compensation and disability claims.

COHN certifications, graduate degrees, and advanced RN training prepare potential OHNs for the most rewarding careers. These credentials prepare candidates for leadership roles that implement health and safety protocols and manage program and staff budgets. OHNs also hold supervisory roles in case management and oversee policies and claims. As consultants, they research and advise corporate clients in the areas of disease prevention, emergency preparedness or compliance with legal regulations.

common questions

How long does it take to become an OHN?

Prospective OHNs usually earn a BSN, which can take up to four years in a traditional program, and then apply for an RN license. A master's or doctoral program requires an additional 2-5 years of study. Many employers prefer to hireNurses certified in occupational medicinerequiring a minimum of 3,000 clinical hours.

What is the difference between COHN and COHN-S certification?

The COHN certification focuses primarily on clinical practice. This qualification is best suited for nurses who spend more than 50% of their time in direct patient care and performing tasks such as spirometry or audiology. Nurses who spend more than half of their time in managerial and administrative practice, dealing with policy development, program planning, and budgeting and fiscal areas will benefit from COHN-S certification.

Can a Licensed Practical Nurse or Licensed Occupational Nurse (LPN/LVN) be an OHN?

An LPN/LVN can only work as an OHN under an RN or Medical Supervisor. These positions require a high school diploma and completion of an approved LPN/LVN program. While LPNs/LVNs can find job opportunities in occupational safety, most employers prefer to hire COHN-certified RNs who hold BSNs or college degrees.

What types of care experience are important for OHNs?

OHNs typically enter the field after earning a bachelor's degree in nursing with specializations or gaining clinical experienceoutpatient care, critical care, emergency care or community health. OHNs can choose to pursue a master's or doctoral degree to strengthen their professional competencies in advanced nursing practice, public health, and business.

Resources for occupational health professionals

  • American Association of Occupational Health Nurses

    This professional association provides education and access to research, public policy information, and resources for practicing occupational and environmental health nurses. AAOHN members enjoy networking opportunities, updates on industry trends, and webinars and digital collections covering topics such as disability case management, health promotion, and safety and environmental regulations.
  • AAOHN career center

    AAOHN's official online career center is free to members and offers a full range of professional services for job seekers and employers. The Career Center offers on-the-job training and helps with checking references, writing resumes and creating LinkedIn profiles. Members can post resumes, apply for jobs and sign up for job alerts.
  • American Council of Occupational Health Nursing

    ABOHN acts as the only independent certification body for OHNs. The board sets professional standards for the field and administers COHN, COHN-S and Case Manager certifications. ABOHN also posts job postings for employers seeking state-certified OHNs.
  • OSHA Office of Occupational Medicine and Nursing

    OOMN, a division of OSHA, helps employers comply with regulations, from enforcement and regulation to public relations and training activities. OOMN administers the OSHA Medical Examination Program for agency compliance officers and clinical programs for physicians and RNs.

related pages

Reviewed by:

Occupational Health Nurse Career Overview | nursing magazine.org (9)

Nicole Galan, RN, MSN

Nicole Galan is a Registered Nurse who earned a Masters in Nursing Education from Capella University and is currently a full-time freelance writer. During her nursing career, Galan worked in a General Medical-Surgical Nursing Unit and later in Infertility Nursing. She has also worked as a freelance writer for over 13 years, specializing in consumer health websites and educational materials for nursing students.

Galan is a paid member of our health review partner network.Learn more about our assessment partners.



What is the career overview for nurse? ›

Nurses advocate for their patients and patients' families. They develop and manage nursing care plans and instruct patients and their families in proper care. As educators, they help whole communities by teaching individuals and groups how to take steps to improve or maintain their health.

What is the employment outlook for this occupation nurse? ›

Job Outlook

Employment of registered nurses is projected to grow 6 percent from 2021 to 2031, about as fast as the average for all occupations. About 203,200 openings for registered nurses are projected each year, on average, over the decade.

What is a registered nurse salary? ›

What is the top occupational concern for nurses? ›

Exposure to infectious diseases, risk of a debilitating back injury and violent acts are just some of the occupational threats nurses face in the workplace. As an early career nurse, it is important to understand the hazards you may encounter at work and how to safeguard your health and wellness in the workplace.

What should be included in a career overview? ›

An effective resume summary follows this formula: Professional Title (if relevant) + Key Experiences (with the total number of years worked) + Top Achievements (preferably measurable results) + Top Skills/Expertise/Unique Values (relevant to the job and industry).

What does describe career overview mean? ›

A resume summary or career profile is a brief statement at the top of your resume. If you are a career changer or have many years of experience, craft a powerful summary to highlight your accomplishments and skills. Show the employer, at a glance, why you're qualified for the job!

Who hires the most nurses? ›

Top Employers of Nurses
  • Hospitals.
  • Clinics.
  • Doctors Offices.
  • Nursing Homes.
  • Hospice Centers.

Is there a nursing shortage? ›

About 100,000 registered nurses left the workforce during the past two years due to stress, burnout and retirements, and another 610,388 reported an intent to leave by 2027, according to a study released by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing.

Are nurses happy in their job? ›

Stress level- As you may know, there are many unhappy nurses due to the high-stress level associated with the profession. The US News report lists a nurse's work environment and job stress to be above average.

What is the highest paid RN? ›

What is the highest-paid nurse? Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists! Earning $195,610 annually, CRNAs earn significantly more than any other type of nurse or nursing specialty.

How much is a nurse paid per hour in USA? ›

Salaries by years of experience in the United States
Years of experiencePer hour
1 to 2 years$42.77
3 to 5 years$44.90
6 to 9 years$46.52
More than 10 years$52.01
1 more row
7 days ago

What state pays nurses the most? ›

In the United States overall, the average registered nurse salary is $82,750 and the median (50th percentile) is $77,600. California, with RN salaries averaging $124,000, is the highest-paying state for nurses as of May 2021 (according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics).

What makes a good occupational health nurse? ›

Interpersonal and Communication Skills

Occupational health nurses interact with others daily. Whether suggesting strategies for organization-wide improvements or delivering care to an injured employee, their interpersonal and communication skills make all the difference in how well they can do their jobs.

What are 3 examples of occupational health? ›

The science and practice of occupational health involves several disciplines, such as occupational medicine, nursing, ergonomics, psychology, hygiene, safety and other.

What is the focus of occupational health nurse? ›

As an occupational and environmental health nurse, you'll deliver health and safety programs and services to workers, worker populations and community groups. The practice focuses on promotion and restoration of health, prevention of illness and injury, and protection from work-related and environmental hazards.

What are the 5 things that should be included in a career plan? ›

5 easy steps for creating a career plan
  • Start with your values. ...
  • Evaluate your skills. ...
  • Decide on your career direction. ...
  • Set clear career goals. ...
  • Review your career plan regularly.
May 12, 2023

What is an example of a career statement? ›

I'll be promoted to sales manager within two years. I'll focus on improving my leadership and communication skills by listening to feedback from my manager. I'll also continue to learn more about sales since it's my big interest and passion and become familiar with my soon-to-be managerial responsibilities.

What is a good summary statement? ›

Your summary statement should be three to five lines describing your strengths, the position/industry you are seeking, and what you will bring to the job. Strengths and traits should be focused on the direction you are moving, not where you are coming from.

What is your career objective best answer? ›

To get an opportunity where I can make the best of my potential and contribute to the organization's growth. Seeking a position in a company where I can launch my career and build a valuable skill set. Seeking a role in an MNC where I can upgrade my skills with time and take the company to the next level.

What should I write in my career objective? ›

Career Objective Examples
  1. Seeking an entry-level position to begin my career in a high-level professional environment.
  2. To obtain a challenging and rewarding position in a dynamic organization where I can utilize my skills and experience to contribute to the growth and success of the company.
Apr 5, 2023

How do you write a summary about yourself? ›

How To Write About Yourself
  1. Begin with an attention-grabbing introduction. ...
  2. Mention your relevant professional experience. ...
  3. Include important awards and achievements. ...
  4. Share relevant personal details. ...
  5. End with a professional yet friendly tone.
Apr 20, 2023

Who are the highest to lowest paid nurses? ›

Highest Paid Nursing Jobs:
  • Neonatal Intensive Care Nurse – $120,000.
  • General Nurse Practitioner – $118,000.
  • Critical Care Nurse – $118,000.
  • Certified Nurse Midwife – $114,000.
  • Informatics Nurse – $102,000.
  • Clinical Nurse Specialist – $95,000.
  • Nurse Educator – $82,000.
  • Legal Nurse Consultant – $81,000.
Dec 5, 2022

What state pays nurses the lowest? ›

The lowest-paying states are South Dakota ($60,540), Alabama ($61,920), Mississippi ($63,130), Iowa ($64,990), and Arkansas ($65,810).

Where is the hardest place to work as a nurse? ›

Most Stressful Nursing Positions
  • Intensive Care Unit (ICU) nurses. ICU is an extremely high-pressure environment and these nurses work with patients who have significant injuries and disease with added morbidity risks. ...
  • Emergency Department nurses. ...
  • Neonatal ICU. ...
  • OR nursing. ...
  • Oncology Nursing. ...
  • Psychiatric Nursing.
Jan 27, 2021

What is the oldest age to become a nurse? ›

There is no official age limit to becoming a nurse.

Why are so many leaving nursing? ›

Many nurses are leaving the profession due to the recognition of their own mental health. Nursing is a mentally exhausting career to be in. For many nurses, they are put into difficult situations and often have little time to process or cope.

What is the average age of a nurse? ›

Average Age Of Nurses

The average age of a registered nurse in the United States is 44, though this may change as the demand for nurses increases.

What is the hardest type of nursing? ›

Possibly one of the most difficult nurse practitioner specialties, a critical care nurse practitioner has to learn to deal with life and death situations daily due to treating the most acutely ill or traumatized patients.

Which nursing specialty has the highest burnout rate? ›

Critical care nurses suffer the highest rates of burnout.

This is mainly due to the nature of the job, as critical care nurses work specialize in the emergency department (ED) and intensive care unit (ICU). As such, their work environment is constantly fast-paced, meticulous, and demanding.

What type of nurses are most in demand? ›

What type of RN is most in demand? All RNs are in demand more than other occupations. The BLS projects 6% job growth for all RNs between 2021 and2031, compared to 5% job growth for all occupations. Some specialties that are in especially high demand are neonatal nursing, surgical nursing, and critical care nursing.

What is the burnout rate for nurses? ›

Very. Results from a 2020 survey indicate that almost two-thirds of nurses (62%) experience burnout. It's especially common among younger nurses, with 69% of nurses under 25 reporting burnout.

How to make 7 figures as a nurse? ›

  1. Become a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) ...
  2. Become a Nurse Practitioner (NP) ...
  3. Become a Nurse Midwife. ...
  4. Advance in Nurse Leadership. ...
  5. Begin travel nursing assignment. ...
  6. Change Nursing specialties. ...
  7. Relocate to a higher paying state. ...
  8. Make sacrifices.

How much do most RN make an hour? ›

This is the 2021 ranking. Click here to see the 2022 edition. The average hourly pay for nurses in the U.S. is $38.74 for registered nurses and $55.05 for nurse practitioners, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' occupational employment statistics survey released March 31.

Where are nurses paid the most? ›

This makes San Jose the highest-paying city for nurses as of May 2021 (according to the BLS). In the United States, the average salary for RNs is $82,750. Additionally, the median (50th percentile) is $77,600. Over $100,000 lower than the San Jose's average nurse salary is Decatur, AL, at $54,410.

What is the most a LPN can make an hour? ›

While ZipRecruiter is seeing hourly wages as high as $37.98 and as low as $14.18, the majority of Lpn wages currently range between $19.95 (25th percentile) to $28.12 (75th percentile) across the United States.

What is pharmacist salary? ›

What is the best state to become a nurse in? ›

Best States for Nurses
  • California. 324,400.
  • Texas. 217,630.
  • New York. 188,300.
  • Florida. 187,920.
  • Pennsylvania. 149,270.
Apr 25, 2023

What states are paying nurses to move? ›

5 Highest Paying States for Travel Nurses in 2022
  1. 1. California. In 2022, it's no surprise that California is still the highest paying state for travel nurses. ...
  2. Hawaii. Hawaii may just be the dream destination! ...
  3. Massachusetts. ...
  4. Oregon. ...
  5. Alaska.

What are examples of occupational nurse? ›

Workplace activities might include health and wellness, case management, ergonomics, workplace safety, infection control, disaster preparedness and others such as travel health. Occupational health nurses fill a variety of roles in their jobs, including clinicians, case managers, educators, directors and consultants.

Which component of occupational health is the most important? ›

Planning. The first key component of any occupational health and safety (OHS) management system is planning. Whether you use a paper-based 'Safety Statement' or dedicated occupational health and safety (OHS) management software, planning should be front and centre of everything you do.

What skills and competencies must occupational health nurses have? ›

Additionally employers frequently list the following as desirable qualities in an Occupational Health Nurse candidate, but they are far less common on most resumes:
  • Human Resources Experience.
  • Workers Compensation.
  • Spirometry.
  • Occupational Health.
  • Compliance.
  • Case Management.
  • OSHA Standards.
  • Communication Skills.

What are the 4 occupational health hazards? ›

Time pressure, lack of control over work tasks, long working hours, shift work, lack of support and moral injury are important risk factors for occupational stress, burnout and fatigue among health workers.

What are the most common occupational health hazards? ›

Physical Hazards

This is the most common type of workplace hazards. Examples of physical hazards include slips, trips, falls, exposure to loud noises, working from heights, vibrations, and unguarded machinery.

What are 4 occupational diseases? ›

What are the most common occupational diseases?
  • Dermatitis. ...
  • Respiratory illnesses. ...
  • Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). ...
  • Hearing loss. ...
  • Cancer. ...
  • Stress and mental health disorders. ...
  • Infectious diseases.
Oct 22, 2020

What is the top occupational health concern of nurses? ›

Types of Occupational Hazards Nurses Face

Nurses are at risk of having an occupational injury, such as musculoskeletal disorders, on the job. This is mainly caused by having to lift or handle patients while moving them to other rooms, transferring them, or adjusting their position in hospital beds.

What is the key concept of occupational health? ›

Occupational health should aim at: the promotion and maintenance of the highest degree of physical, mental, and social well-being of workers in all occupations; the prevention amongst workers of departures from health caused by their working conditions; the protection of workers in their employment from risks resulting ...

What is the use of nursing process in occupational health nursing? ›

Occupational health nurses implement programs to promote health and prevent injury and disease. The nursing process that is commonly used for individual clients is appropriate and useful when the client is a population of workers.

What is the career summary for nurse manager? ›

monitoring quality of service and utilization standards, supervising shift activities, and delivery of patient care. Developed and implemented action plans to improve staff development and the delivery of patient care. Coordinated plans of treatment, customer-focused care, and cost-effective utilization of services.

Why did you choose nursing as a career? ›

Nursing is a good career for a variety of reasons. Some of the top benefits include the ability to make a difference in the lives of others, exciting career advances, and the opportunity to maintain a desirable work-life balance.

What are the 4 major functions of the nurse manager include the following? ›

A Nurse Manager, or Nurse Supervisor, is in charge of overseeing a team of nurses as they provide healthcare services to patients and manage their records. Their duties include training, scheduling and mentoring nursing staff, managing a budget for their team and consulting on patient treatment plans.

What is a good objective for a nurse manager resume? ›

To secure a position as a Nurse Manager where I can apply my knowledge and skills to improve patient outcomes. To bring my leadership and organizational skills to a Nurse Manager role and help create an efficient and effective department.

What are your goals as a nurse manager? ›

Nurse managers are responsible for managing human and financial resources; ensuring patient and staff satisfaction; maintaining a safe environment for staff, patients, and visitors; ensuring standards and quality of care are maintained; and aligning the unit's goals with the hospital's strategic goals.

What is the best answer to why do you want to be a nurse? ›

Patient Care

Directly caring for patients is the biggest part of nursing, and an excellent potential aspect of your answer to the question of “why” you want to be a nurse. If you love working with patients, it could be an ideal entry into your answer to this question. “Human connection has always been important to me.

What are your strengths and weaknesses as a nurse answer? ›

What are your strengths and weaknesses as a nurse? My greatest strength as a nurse is my ability to connect with patients and provide them with compassion and care. I am also very patient and efficient in my work. My greatest weakness is that I sometimes have trouble dealing with the emotional aspects of the job.

What does becoming a nurse mean to me? ›

Nurses take a person's whole range of needs into account, which helps build personal connections, opportunities for closer observation, and, when possible, chances to boost their spirits. The nursing role complements other elements of patient care and can ensure individuals receive the best care possible.


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