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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.

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) 
  • 2016 NOC: Registered nurses and registered psychiatric nurses (3012) 
  • 2021 NOC: Registered nurses and registered psychiatric nurses (31301) 
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
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

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

Abilities

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

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
  • 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 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.

Traits & Skills
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.

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 100 most recent Alberta job postings, collected between Dec 28, 2021 and Dec 05, 2022.

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.
Personal Suitability: Effective interpersonal skills
Personal Suitability: Accurate
Personal Suitability: Team player
Personal Suitability: Excellent oral communication
Personal Suitability: Excellent written communication
Personal Suitability: Client focus
Personal Suitability: Reliability
Personal Suitability: Organized
Personal Suitability: Judgement
Personal Suitability: Flexibility
Educational Requirements
Updated Dec 15, 2016
  • Minimum Education 4 years post-secondary

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.

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 Dec 15, 2016
  • 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 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.

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 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.

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 an above-average annual growth of 3.6% from 2019 to 2023. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 1361 new positions are forecasted to be created within this occupational group each year.

Note
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: 2019-2023 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 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.

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
$46.21
Per Hour
Average Salary
$72,818.00
Per Year
Average Hours
30.2
Per Week
Average Months on Payroll
12
Survey Methodology Survey Analysis

Source
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
Starting
Overall
Top

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

Public Administration
ALL INDUSTRIES
Health Care & Social Assistance

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years
56%
56%)
Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties
33%
33%
Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months
15%
15%
Vacancy Rate
5%
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: 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

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

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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