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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 and promote employee health, safety, and wellness in the workplace. They also help sick or injured employees recover and get back to work.

Also Known As

Ability Manager, Employee Health Nurse, Health and Safety Nurses, Health and Wellness Advisor, Health Services and Disability Manager, 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

  • 3152.2: Occupational Health Nurses

2006 NOC-S

  • D112: Registered Nurses

2011 NOC

  • 3012: Registered nurses and registered psychiatric nurses

2016 NOC

  • 3012: Registered nurses and registered psychiatric nurses

2021 NOC

  • 31301: Registered nurses and registered psychiatric nurses

2023 OaSIS

  • 31301.03: Community Health Nurses
Updated Mar 31, 2024

Occupational health nurses (OHNs) are registered nurses with additional specialized education in providing occupational health services. These services include occupational health, safety, environment, and wellness. An OHN’s primary role is to coordinate the delivery of comprehensive, equitable, and quality occupational health services for workers and worker groups. While specific roles and responsibilities may differ within organizations, the focus is to support and promote worker and workplace health and safety.

Occupational health nursing is an incredibly diverse specialty practice. As such, duties and responsibilities vary widely from one position to another. In general, OHNs:

  • Respond, identify, and treat work-related and non-work-related injuries and illnesses
  • Manage health surveillance screening programs, such as audiometric testing and pulmonary function testing, according to provincial occupational health and safety legislation
  • Oversee and may conduct ergonomic assessments, blood pressure screening, biological testing, medical monitoring, and immunizations
  • Collect and analyze data, such as on noise levels and air monitoring, using hygiene equipment
  • Facilitate and conduct fitness-for-work assessments
  • Administer job-related immunizations such as tetanus and hepatitis B
  • Procure worksite medical equipment and supplies
  • Conduct communicable disease exposure investigations and follow-up
  • Provide onsite emergency care in the workplace, and arrange for further care if needed
  • Provide health counselling and referrals to health-care professionals such as doctors, psychologists, and physiotherapists
  • Work with others in the company to plan, introduce, and assess employee wellness programs, such as immunization programs, safety training, fitness programs, and the day-to-day operations of onsite clinics
  • Supervise other staff, such as casual nurses and advanced and basic first aiders
  • Promote corporate compliance with provincial occupational health and safety laws and Workers’ Compensation requirements, as well as health privacy laws and record retention rules
  • Conduct disability case management by coordinating health care and early intervention to promote the safe and timely return to work of ill or injured employees
  • Identify health and safety hazards in the work setting, and implement controls where appropriate, or work with an occupational health and safety team to keep work environments healthy and safe
  • Collect and analyze data, such as records of illness and injury, to assess the effectiveness of workplace safety programs or build business cases to develop new programs
  • Prepare incident reports and keep records
  • Create employee health records and keep them confidential
  • Design and lead health, safety, and wellness training programs
  • Prepare and manage a budget for health and safety
  • Operate medical and health / safety surveillance equipment
  • Use research findings to suggest and draft health and safety policies

OHNs may be involved with planning work-related health fairs. They may work with agencies that support newcomers and their families. Some OHNs perform administrative duties regarding health benefits including working with third-party insurers.

Working Conditions
Updated Mar 31, 2024
  • Strength Required Lift up to 20 kg

Occupational health nurses may work in hospital, government, educational, or industrial settings. They can be exposed to biological, physical, and chemical hazards. They usually work standard office hours. However, depending on the work environment, they may have to work evening or weekend shifts in industrial settings or during emergency situations. Some travel may be required with employers who have more than one location.

OHNs can be exposed to contagious diseases. They routinely handle items that weigh up to 20 kilograms.

Interests & Abilities

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2006 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Occupational Health Nurses

2006 NOC: 3152.2

Interest Codes

Interest Codes for This NOC Group

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


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


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

Your Interest Codes

To identify or change your interest codes, complete the Interests Exercise in CAREERinsite.

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 for this NOC group 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 About Interests


Typical ability expectations for this NOC group
Your abilities

To fill in or change the values for your abilities, complete the Abilities Exercise in CAREERinsite.

Mental Abilities

General Learning Ability

Verbal Ability

Numerical Ability

Visual Abilities

Spatial Perception

Form Perception

Clerical Perception

Physical Abilities

Motor Coordination

Finger Dexterity

Manual Dexterity

Understanding Abilities

A Quick Guide

You are born with abilities that help you process certain types of information and turn it into action. These abilities influence which skills you can learn more easily.

The abilities or aptitudes shown for this NOC group come from the General Aptitude Test Battery (GATB). The GATB measures 9 aptitudes. It groups them into 3 categories: mental, visual, and physical.

The abilities scores range from 1 to 5, with 5 being stronger.

Learn About Abilities

Traits & Skills
Updated Mar 31, 2024

Occupational health nurses need:

  • Problem-solving and critical-thinking skills
  • Communication skills (speaking and writing)
  • Organizational skills
  • Quick judgment and problem-solving skills, especially under pressure
  • Patience, understanding, and a caring attitude
  • Flexibility and enthusiasm
  • The ability to work both independently and within a team
  • Negotiation and conflict-resolution skills for settling disputes
  • Leadership skills
  • Knowledge of business principles
  • Knowledge of research principles, such as how to analyze and interpret data
  • Computer and technology skills
  • A working knowledge of OHS laws, confidentiality laws, and workplace best practices
  • Training in EDI (equity, diversity, inclusion) practices

They should enjoy working with diverse populations.

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Top 10 Skills Employers Are Looking For

Registered nurses and registered psychiatric nurses

2016 NOC: 3012

This chart shows which job skills are currently in highest demand for this occupational group. It was created using this occupation's 104 most recent Alberta job postings, collected between Apr 28, 2023 and Jun 10, 2024.

Review these skills to learn:

  • Whether or not this occupation matches your skill set
  • What training you may need to get these skills
  • What skills to highlight in your resumé, cover letter, and interview.
Construction Specialization: Reliability
Construction Specialization: Team player
Construction Specialization: Accurate
Construction Specialization: Organized
Construction Specialization: Judgement
Construction Specialization: Excellent oral communication
Tasks: Collaborate to plan, implement, co-ordinate and evaluate patient care
Construction Specialization: Client focus
Health benefits: Vision care benefits
Health benefits: Health care plan
Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2024
  • Minimum Education 4 years post-secondary

Occupational health nurses are registered nurses who have additional education in the field of occupational health. The minimum education is a recognized diploma program in occupational health nursing. In Alberta, Registered Nurse (RN) status requires a bachelor’s degree in nursing with specialization in a particular field (such as occupational health). Occupational health nurses may also need provincially approved advanced first-aid certification for the workplace.

Employers generally prefer to hire OHNs who have:

  • At least 5 years of nursing experience
  • Job-related certification (such as instructor certification to teach first aid, provincially approved audiometric certification, provincially approved spirometry certification, or advanced cardiac life support certification)
  • Successful completion of a recognized diploma program in occupational health nursing from a post-secondary school, or
  • Successful completion of the Canadian Nurses Association occupational health nursing certification exam
  • Continued related post-secondary education such as courses in management, research, toxicology, disability management, audiometry, or spirometry
  • Familiarity with 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.

To expand or narrow your search for programs related to this occupation, visit Post-Secondary Programs.

Completing a program does not guarantee entrance into an occupation. Before enrolling in an education program, prospective students should look into various sources for education options and employment possibilities. For example, contact associations and employers in this field.

Certification Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2024
  • Certification Provincially Regulated

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

Certain professional titles or duties within this occupation are protected by provincial legislation. Requirements vary if you use these titles or perform these duties.

The related legislation is shown below. If there are multiple related legislations, select a certification heading to learn about each one.

Nurse - Registered

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


Under Alberta’s Health Professions Act [pdf], Health Professions Restricted Activity Regulation [pdf], and Registered Nurses Profession Regulation [pdf], registration with the College of Registered Nurses of Alberta (CRNA) is mandatory. Only registrants with an active practice permit may provide restricted activities specified in the Regulations. This includes those who:

  • Meet identified competency requirements and provide professional services directly to the public
  • Teach the practice of the profession to members or students of the profession
  • Supervise registered members
  • Provide services to the public in their capacity as nursing students
  • Use the title Registered Nurse or the initials RN

For information on what you need and other details, visit the certification profile Nurse - Registered.


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, or 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 Mar 31, 2024

Occupational health nurses work for:

  • Large companies
  • Health-care providers
  • Public sector employers
  • Industry groups
  • Occupational health consulting firms

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

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

Industry Concentration

This section shows the industries where the majority of people in this occupation work. The data is based on the 2016 Census.

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups.

In the 3012: Registered nurses and registered psychiatric nurses occupational group, 95.8% of people work in:

Employment Outlook

Employment outlook is influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • Time of year (for seasonal jobs)
  • Location in Alberta
  • Employment turnover (when people leave existing positions)
  • Occupational growth (when new positions are created)
  • Size of the occupation
  • Trends and events that affect overall employment, especially in the industry or industries from the previous list

In Alberta, the 3012: Registered nurses and registered psychiatric nurses occupational group is expected to have a below-average annual growth of 1.8% from 2021 to 2025. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 695 new positions are forecasted to be created within this occupational group each year.

NOC groups often include several related occupations. Although there is labour market data for the larger NOC group, this occupation makes up only a part of that group. It means data for this occupation may be different than the data shown. For example, only some of the new positions to be created will be for this occupation. It also applies to other data for the NOC group such as number of people employed.

Source: 2021-2025 Alberta Regional Occupational Demand Outlook

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

Related Alberta Job Postings
Wage & Salary
Updated Mar 31, 2024

Incomes for occupational health nurses vary widely. Factors include the industry in which they’re working and the employer, as well as the OHN’s hours, educational qualifications, experience, and responsibilities.

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

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Registered nurses and registered psychiatric nurses

2016 NOC: 3012
Average Wage
Per Hour
Average Salary
Per Year
Average Hours
Per Week
Average Months on Payroll
Survey Methodology Survey Analysis

2021 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey

NOC 3012 Wage Profile

Unless otherwise noted, the data shown here is for all industries and all regions in Alberta.

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.

To see the full survey data for this NOC group, visit the wage profile.

Other wage sources
To make an informed wage and salary decision, research other wage sources [pdf] to supplement this data.

B: Good Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

Good Reliability, represents a CV of between 6.01% and 15.00% and/or fewer than 30 survey observations and/or if survey observations represent less than 50% of all estimated employment for the occupation.

Hourly Wage

For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median

Hourly Wage

For full-time and part-time employees
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $36.86 $38.09 $36.85 $36.86
Overall $43.63 $47.78 $46.21 $46.51
Top $49.34 $59.44 $56.12 $59.44

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.

Pay brackets for hourly wages

  • Starting pay: average pay offered for entry-level positions
  • Overall pay: average pay across all employees in this occupation
  • Top pay: average pay offered to top-paid employees

Industry Information

Health Care & Social Assistance
Public Administration

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years
Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties
Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months
Vacancy Rate
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Health Care and Medical Sciences
Other Sources of Information
Updated Mar 31, 2024

Alberta Occupational Health Nurses Association (AOHNA) website:

AOHNA Occupational Health Nurse video:

Canadian Nurses Association (CNA) website:

Canadian Occupational Health Nurses Association (COHNA) website:

Get information and referrals about career, education, and employment options from Alberta Supports.

Updated Mar 31, 2024. 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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