With the wide variety of courses on offer in the field of occupational health and safety (OHS), choosing the right one is a confusing task for many. It’s natural, then, to feel a little unsure of which study direction will guide you towards your career goals.

The purpose of this article is to clear up the confusion, by recommending which distance learning OHS courses you should take to prepare you for the specific OHS role or career you’re interested in.

Remember that certain industries and companies will have additional requirements over and above the courses we recommend. For example, if you want to work as a safety officer in the construction industry, you need to be registered with the SACPCMP (South African Centre for Project Construction Managers & Plumbers). So, it’s important to do your research on industry requirements, as well as on the recommendations of the organisation you want to work for.

Here is our overview of some of the most popular OHS roles, and how to prepare for them.


Safety Officer

Safety officers are appointed to perform the main health and safety duties in the workplace. They play a role in ensuring that the working environment is safe for employees and other relevant parties.

Recommended courses for this career

These three courses follow on from each other, with the Awareness Certificate being the first level, the Facilitation Certificate the second level, and the Internal Auditor Certificate the third level. If you want to become a safety officer, then it is advisable to take all three courses.

Note that these courses will prepare you for most entry-level jobs in the industry, so either of the above two options is a great way to build the foundations for a career in OHS.


Health and Safety Manager

Health and safety managers are responsible for ensuring that organisations meet OHS obligations, and for driving and managing the improvement of health and safety in the workplace. It is recommended that you first do a general OHS course in order to gain knowledge of the field, before moving on to management courses.

Recommended courses for this career

You don’t necessarily have to do all these courses directly after one another: you could first do the general course and find a job in the OHS field. This will allow you to build some experience, before you decide to pursue management ambitions.


Environmental Protection Officer

Environmental protection officers ensure that environmental regulations are adhered to in industries such as construction, mining, and manufacturing. They may be tasked with keeping track of a company’s impacts on land, water and air quality, and conversely, advising on dangers that the environment might pose to employees.

Recommended courses for this career


Health and Safety Representative

Health and safety representatives are normally employed in other positions within an organisation, but are designated to serve on a committee in the workplace. (Designating health and safety representatives is a compulsory requirement at companies that employ more than 20 people.)

Health and safety representatives may be required to act as liaisons between employees and management, assist with identifying hazards and risks, help with investigations, and assist health and safety officers.

Recommended courses for this role
Since this isn’t a permanent job position, you won’t necessarily require any formal qualifications for this role. But the Oxbridge Academy Skills Certificate: Health & Safety is a good option if you want to develop your knowledge of the OHS field and perform your role efficiently. Your organisation may also recommend a few short learning programmes.


What else can you do with your OHS course?

With your OHS course, combined with other qualifications and relevant experience, the following careers are within reach:

  • OHS Specialist
  • OHS Inspector
  • Health and Safety Practitioner
  • Mine Examiner
  • Compliance Advisor
  • Wellness Specialist
  • SHE Officer
  • Industrial Hygienist
  • Environmental Health and Safety Advisor

If you have any questions about which courses are best-suited to your career of choice, feel free to contact us!


Also Read: