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Occupational Health Nurse

An occupational health nurse is a registered nurse with certification in occupational health and safety. They deliver health education programs to employer organizations, promoting employee health, safety and wellness in the workplace. They also help get sick or injured employees well and back to work.

  • Avg. Salary $80,129.00
  • Avg. Wage $42.88
  • Minimum Education 4 years post-secondary
  • Outlook N/A
  • Employed 42,600
  • In Demand Medium
Also Known As

Health and Wellness Advisor, Industrial Nurse, Occupational Health and Safety Specialist

NOC Codes

In Canada, the federal government groups and organizes occupations based on a National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. This alis occupation may not reflect the entire NOC group it is part of. Data for the NOC group can apply across multiple occupations.

The NOC system is updated every 5 years to reflect changes in the labour market. Government forms and labour market data may group and refer to an occupation differently, depending on the system used. Here is how this occupation has been classified over time:

  • 2006 NOC: Occupational Health Nurses (3152.2) 
  • 2006 NOC-S: Registered Nurses (D112) 
  • 2011 NOC: Registered nurses and registered psychiatric nurses (3012) 
Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

29%
29%
Average Wage
Starting
Overall
Top
  • Certification Provincially Regulated
  • Strength Required Lift up to 20 kg
Interest Codes
The Occupational Health Nurse is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Occupational Health Nurses
SOCIAL

Interest in speaking to advise employees about health and safety, and to advise personnel departments of health findings pertinent to employees' work capabilities

METHODICAL

Interest in compiling information to keep records of persons treated and to record employees' personal and medical data

DIRECTIVE

Interest in operating medical equipment to perform tests; and in arranging for ill and seriously injured employees to be transported to hospital

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. 
It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn More

Duties
Updated Dec 15, 2016

Duties and responsibilities vary from one position to another. In general, occupational health nurses:

  • identify and treat work and non-work related injuries and illnesses
  • conduct testing or screening programs (such as audiometric testing, pulmonary function testing, ergonomic assessments, alcohol and drug testing, blood pressure screening)
  • test employees for fitness to work or for fitness to perform specific jobs
  • provide emergency care in the workplace and arrange for further care if needed
  • provide health counselling and referral services to other health care professionals (such as doctors, psychologists, physiotherapists)
  • work with others in the company to plan, introduce and assess employee wellness programs (such as immunization programs, safety training, fitness programs)
  • promote corporate compliance with provincial occupational health and safety laws and Workers’ Compensation requirements
  • help with disability case management (by co-ordinating health care and early intervention to promote the safe and timely return to work of ill or injured employees)
  • help identify health and safety hazards in the work setting, and suggest controls (or work with an occupational health and safety team to keep work environments as safe as possible)
  • collect data (such as incidents of illness, injury) and study it to measure the effect of workplace safety programs
  • prepare incident reports and keep records
  • create and keep employee health records confidential
  • design and lead health safety and wellness training programs
  • prepare and manage a budget
  • operate medical and surveillance equipment
  • use research findings to suggest and draft health and safety policies.
Working Conditions
Updated Dec 15, 2016

Occupational health nurses may work in hospital, government, educational, or industrial settings. They can be exposed to biological and chemical hazards, distractions and noises. They usually work standard weekday office hours but may have to work evening or weekend shifts in industrial settings. Some travel may be required in companies with more than one location.

Nurses are often exposed to contagious diseases. They routinely handle items that weigh up to 20 kilograms.

  • Strength Required Lift up to 20 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Dec 15, 2016

Occupational health nurses need to have:

  • problem-solving and critical-thinking skills
  • excellent speaking and writing skills
  • organizational skills
  • the ability to make good decisions quickly (especially when under pressure)
  • patience, understanding and a caring attitude
  • flexibility and enthusiasm
  • the ability to work alone and to lead and work well with others
  • good negotiation skills (for settling disputes)
  • leadership skills
  • basic knowledge of business principles
  • knowledge of research principles (to analyze and interpret data).

They should enjoy:

  • working with and consulting others
  • compiling data for records in an orderly manner
  • operating medical equipment
  • caring for ill and injured employees.
Educational Requirements
Updated Dec 15, 2016

Occupational health nurses are registered nurses who should have additional education in the field of occupational health. In Alberta, registered nurse status requires a bachelor’s degree in nursing with specialization in a particular field (such as occupational health). Occupational health nurses may also need advanced first aid certification.

Employers generally prefer to hire registered nurses who have:

  • at least 5 years of nursing experience
  • job related certification (for example, instructor certification to teach first aid, audiometric certification, spirometry certification, advanced cardiac life support certification)
  • successful completion of a certificate program in occupational health nursing from a post-secondary school
  • successful completion of the Canadian Nurses Association national occupational nursing certification exam
  • continued related post-secondary education (such as courses in management, research, toxicology, disability management, audiometry or spirometry)
  • used computer software for data management, presentations, communications or medical testing.

Some employers require applicants to have a valid driver’s licence with a clean driving record.


Required Education

The following schools offer programs and courses that meet this occupation’s educational requirements. Other eligible programs and courses may be available.

Grande Prairie Regional College

Grant MacEwan University

Mount Royal University

University of Calgary

University of Lethbridge


Related Education

The following schools offer programs or courses that are related to this occupation but are not required to enter the field.

Grant MacEwan University

Northern Alberta Institute of Technology

University of Victoria

For a broad list of programs and courses that may be related to this occupation try searching using keywords.

Certification Requirements
Updated Dec 15, 2016

An occupational health nurse is a registered nurse practising in the specialty field of occupational health.

Nurse - Registered

Registered nurses provide professional nursing services, deliver health education programs and provide consultative nursing services to promote, maintain, and restore patient health.

Legislation

Under Alberta’s Health Professions Act [pdf] and Registered Nurses Profession Regulation [pdf], registration with the College and Association of Registered Nurses of Alberta (CARNA) is mandatory. Only registered members who have an active practice permit may provide the restricted activities specified in the Regulation and call themselves registered nurses or use the initials RN.

What You Need

Registration requires successful completion of:

  • An approved nursing education program or equivalent
  • The NCLEX-RN national licensing exam

Applicants who have been out of practice for a period of time may have to demonstrate that they are currently competent to practice.

Once registered, members then apply for a practice permit. Annual requirements including minimum number of practice hours and continuing competence must be met to keep the permit active. For detailed official information about registration requirements, visit CARNA.

Working in Alberta

Registered nurses who are registered by and in good standing with a regulatory registered nurse body elsewhere in Canada may apply for registration in Alberta. For more information, see What if I am already certified in another province or territory in Canada? and the CARNA website.

To learn about certification for internationally educated registered nurses, see Registered Nurse Registration Process.

Contact Details

College and Association of Registered Nurses of Alberta (CARNA)
11120 - 178 St.
Edmonton, Alberta T5S 1P2
Canada

Call: 780-451-0043
Toll-free: 1-800-252-9392
Fax: 780-452-3276
Email: carna@nurses.ab.ca
Website: www.nurses.ab.ca

 

Additional  Information

In addition to meeting the certification requirements for registered nurse, those wanting to work as an occupational health nurse should consider a Canadian Certificate in Occupational Health (COHN-C) through the Canadian Nurses Association.

COHN-C certification indicates an advanced level of professional competence in the field of occupational health. While it is not mandatory, it is the preferred standard for employment nationally.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Dec 15, 2016

Occupational health nurses work for:

  • large companies
  • public sector employers
  • industry groups
  • occupational health consulting firms.

Some self-employed nurses provide services for several employers on a contract basis.

Experienced occupational health nurses may advance to supervisory or management positions responsible for workplace health and safety programs.

Occupational health nurses are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 3012: Registered nurses and registered psychiatric nurses. In Alberta, 96% of people employed in this classification work in the Health Care and Social Assistance [pdf] industry.

The employment outlook [pdf] in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • trends and events that affect overall employment (especially in the Health Care and Social Assistance industry)
  • location in Alberta
  • employment turnover (work opportunities that come up when people leave existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities that come up when new positions are created)
  • size of the occupation.

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

Wage & Salary
Updated Dec 15, 2016

Incomes for occupational health nurses vary depending on the employer and the nurse’s hours, educational qualifications, experience and responsibilities. For more information, see the Alberta Occupational Health Nurses Association’s (AOHNA) report on the current Canadian Occupational Health Nursing Salary Survey.

For information about current collective agreements in the public and not-for-profit sectors, see the Health Sciences Association of Alberta (HSAA) website.

Registered nurses and registered psychiatric nurses

Survey Methodology

Survey Analysis

Overall Wage Details
Average Wage
Average Salary
Hours Per Week

Hourly Wage
For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Starting
Overall
Top
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $36.86 $38.09 $36.97 $36.86
Overall $42.59 $44.64 $42.88 $42.61
Top $48.37 $50.67 $48.76 $48.37

Swipe left and right to view all data. Scroll left and right to view all data.

* All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production) and other forms of compensation.

A: High Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

High Reliability, represents a CV of less than or equal to 6.00% and 30 survey observations and/or represents 50% or more of all estimated employment for the occupation.


Industry Information
Health Care & Social Assistance
ALL INDUSTRIES
Public Administration

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

43%
43%

Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties

29%
29%

Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months

5%
5%

Vacancy Rate

1%
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Health Care and Medical Sciences
Other Sources of Information
Updated Dec 15, 2016

College and Association of Registered Nurses of Alberta (CARNA) website: www.nurses.ab.ca

Alberta Occupational Health Nurses Association (AOHNA) website: www.aohna.org

AOHNA Occupational Health Nurse video: www.youtube.com

Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions (CFNU) website: www.nursesunions.ca

Canadian Nurses Association (CNA) website: cna-aiic.ca

Canadian Occupational Health Nurses Association (COHNA) website: www.cohna-aciist.ca

United Nurses of Alberta (UNA) website: www.una.ab.ca

For more information on career planning, education and jobs call the Alberta Supports Contact Centre toll-free at 1-877-644-9992 or 780-644-9992 in Edmonton, or visit an Alberta Supports Centre near you.

Updated Mar 19, 2018. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook, and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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