The Occupational Health and Safety Certificate by distance and on-line education is designed for people employed in—or interested in—safety in the workplace. Trained safety professionals are in demand and find jobs in a variety of industries including: oil and gas, forestry, manufacturing, and construction. Occupational health and safety specialists work in healthcare, in education, in hospitality and tourism, as well as for government agencies and municipalities.
Watch the program overview.
Note: This information session was held March 29, 2012 and topics discussed are subject to change without notice.
It is highly recommended students register at least 6-8 weeks prior to term start to ensure enrolment in OCHS courses. OCHS 1000 fills extremely quickly; for this course, it is wise to enrol within two days of registration opening.
There is no 'waitlist' system for BCIT part-time studies courses. Once a section is full, continue to monitor the OCHS course webpage over the registration period to see if a registered student drops out of the course, thereby leaving a space available.
Part-time studies courses are taught assuming registrants not only have a BC Grade 12 level of English, but also have proficiency in all four language skills: reading, writing, speaking, and listening. Courses are taught at a first-year college level and adequate communication skills are essential to succeed in the program.
A formal application is not required to take part-time OCHS courses by distance education. Enrolment is on a course-by-course basis, one term at a time.
Please note: There is no ‘waitlist’ system for part-time studies at BCIT. Registration happens on-line on a first-come-first-served basis.
Part-time studies terms start in January, April, and September. Course start dates vary. Students are advised to check the BCIT website for important dates and to refer to the program matrix for individual course start dates. Plan on registering for courses early to avoid missing out on available spaces. Some OCHS courses fill up within a day or two of the first day of registration, particularly OCHS 1000.
If a course has one or more prerequisites, it is the student who is responsible for ensuring that she has either successfully completed the prerequisite course, or has the equivalent skills and knowledge, prior to registration.
The prerequisites listed within the OH&S Certificate are strongly recommended. Students with little safety knowledge should take courses in numerical order as much as possible. Our courses build upon knowledge gained in earlier courses.
Students with little to no safety experience should start the program with OCHS 1000 only. Students with safety experience can start the program with OCHS 1000 plus another course (for example, OCHS 1000 and OCHS 1200, or OCHS 1000 and OCHS 2100).
Disability Resource Centre
The Disability Resource Centre (DRC) offers a range of support services for student with disabilities, including part-time students and students studying by distance education.
Documentation of a disability is required to establish individual accommodation plans for students in both part-time and full-time programs of study.
Please take the time to read through all the information about the program on our website and watch the video from the info session posted on the Overview page. If you need advising on individual course selection or on putting together a 'proposed program' of the full 45-credit Certificate, or if you require documentation for a sponsoring employer or agency, please contact:
David Wood, OH&S Certificate Program Head,
Toll-free: 1-800-663-6542, ext. 8220
Email at email@example.com.
The program head is also available to discuss the industry in general (job opportunities, salaries, etc.) and further post-secondary education.
Course tuition is paid on a term-by-term basis. The 2014 cost of tuition for an OCHS distance education course is:
The majority of our distance courses are 3-credit. The approximate cost of the entire 45-credit certificate program, if all courses are taken at BCIT, is around $7838.25. Please note: Tuition fees are subject to change.
Note to International Students: OCHS distance course tuition fees are set at 1.25 times the tuition fees for domestic students.
An additional $800 to $1000 should be budgeted for required course materials, such as manuals, textbooks, and DVDs. Course materials are purchased directly through the BCIT Bookstore on a term-by-term basis.
It is recommended that students order their materials from the bookstore at least two weeks prior to any term start.
Do you have credits from another BC/Yukon post-secondary school? Do you want to know if they transfer to courses here at BCIT? Check out BCIT's Transfer Equivalency Database to find out.
Our 45-credit certificate program, delivered via distance education, allows students the option of working full-time while completing their studies. As most OCHS courses are worth three credits, the program works out to about 15 courses. Most students can obtain the certificate by studying part-time for between one and one half and five years, depending upon their course load each term. To attain an OH&S certificate from BCIT, students must complete 20.0 credits of required courses and 25.0 credits of elective courses.
Part-time OCHS courses are print-based correspondence courses with a tutor. Tutors are curriculum specialists and are available on a weekly basis throughout the term via phone or email. All courses have an online component which will require weekly internet access.
At this time, we are not offering any night school OCHS courses on campus.
Exams can either be written at the Burnaby Campus Test Centre, if you live in the Metro Vancouver area and choose to use this service, or off-campus, wherever you reside, with a qualified proctor (defined as a 'licensed professional') of your choice. All courses have online examinations. Further details will be made available to you once you are registered in courses.
The passing grade for all BCIT OCHS 12-week courses is 60%, plus completion of all specified course requirements: usually two assignments, a mid-term exam, and a final exam.
Note: Certificate completion can range from one and a half to two years for some, to up to five years for others. Please be aware that BCIT Policy states that part-time studies credentials must be completed within a maximum of seven years.
It is recommended that those working full-time take no more than two courses per term, while those who are not working and wish to dedicate their time to full-time studies take no more than four courses per term. A basic 'rule of thumb' is as follows: expect to spend anywhere from two to four hours per week per course credit.
For example: if a student took OCHS 1000 (2 credits) plus OCHS 1200 (3 credits), for a total of five course credits, then he could expect to spend 10-20 hours per week in study over the 12-week term (5 x 2=10; 5 x 4=20). Most students find that they are at the high end of this range, so it is wise to budget around 20 hours per week on these two courses.
Only 1st level and 2nd level OH&S Certificate Program courses are considered for transfer credit into the diploma program, dependent on five-year recency.
Note: A minimum 70% final grade must be achieved in OCHS courses in order to be credited to the Diploma.
If you wish to enter the full-time, two-year, class-based, diploma program you must:
To further discuss the Diploma program, please contact:
Rob Miller (BCIT OH&S Diploma Program Head)
Toll-free: 1-800-663-6542, ext. 7118,
Email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Once a student has accumulated the required 45 course credits, he is eligible to apply to BCIT for his certificate by filling out and submitting the 'Application For BCIT Credential' form. It is suggested that students complete this form after registering for their last or second-to-last course.
Students should fax their completed forms directly to Dave Wood, OH&S Certificate Program Head at 604-432-8988.
Once final term courses have been successfully completed, the program head will forward the form to BCIT's Student Records Office. Certificates are mailed out to the student, along with an invitation to BCIT's convocation ceremony.
Please note: Pre-approved transfer credits are added to a student's academic record only after the student applies for her credential. Should you require confirmation of your total credits to date—including pre-approved transfer credits—please contact the program head directly by phone at 604-432-8220 or via e-mail at email@example.com.
Opportunities for employment in the safety field are excellent for the following reasons:
Graduates of the program have several career options, which often depend upon their previous work experience. Success in obtaining a safety-related position relies upon what you can offer the employer. In addition to the required academic training, most employers look for experience in their particular industry, personality type (someone who will fit in) and good communication skills. You should be able to present yourself in a professional manner and be able to talk to both management and workers at the appropriate level.
Other factors that will influence your potential for employment include the particular industry you want to work in and your work history. Industries with major workplace hazards require more safety professionals. Work history is more important to employers in certain industries, such as oil and gas, forestry, and construction, because a safety professional must be knowledgeable of these very complex work environments.
Historically, many safety professionals were hired in-house after being injured on the job or they migrated into the position out of interest and necessity. Often these new safety professionals would take many day-long to week-long courses over many years to acquire the training they needed to become well-rounded, competent safety specialists.
Due diligence requires companies to look for safety professionals with a certain level of certification. Unless the job is strictly compliance-based, a Certificate in OH&S is probably going to be the minimum requirement. Multinationals usually ask for the Diploma in OH&S as a minimum requirement as their safety programs are generally broader and more sophisticated, requiring a deeper understanding of safety management.
You may obtain your 45 credits by taking all BCIT OCHS courses, or you may choose to transfer up to 15 of the 25 ELECTIVE course credits from other post-secondary institutions. Transfer credits must be related to the field and approved by the OH&S Department. Please note: As a general rule, in-house training seminars do not qualify for transfer credits.
A maximum of 15 ELECTIVE credits may be transferred towards the 45 credit certificate. Transfer credit will only be reviewed for courses completed within the past five years.
To find out more about transferring credits, please contact:
BCIT OH&S Faculty
Phone: 604-451-7118 / 1-800-663-6542, ext. 7118
Courses that will be considered have to be:
Courses excluded are:
Examples of acceptable courses:
Sponsored students are those that have a third-party funding agency or employer who wishes to be invoiced/billed by BCIT for their course tuition costs at the time of registration. Course registration is more complex for sponsored students and meeting registration deadlines can be more challenging.
Course registration for sponsored students is done on a term-by-term basis by using the Part-time Studies Registration for Sponsored Students form [PDF] plus a Letter of Authorization [PDF] from your sponsor.
For more comprehensive information, students should contact Dave Wood, Certificate Program Head, for advising.
Course materials are not included in the course tuition. If your sponsor is also covering the cost of your course materials, the ordering is done directly with the BCIT Bookstore, after course registration, on a term-by-term basis by using the Bookstore Sponsorship [PDF] form plus a 'Letter of Authorization' from your sponsor.
Program Assistant (Exams)
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