Occupational health and safety (OCHS) involves identifying, assessing, and managing risks in work environments. Our students come from many industries, ranging from construction, manufacturing, and health care, and are looking to learn how they can support and promote healthier workplaces.
Program delivery mode: online
- This program will be delivered online for the coming semester.
Your education is our priority and we will continue to deliver the applied instruction, collaborative experience, and industry connections that you expect from BCIT.
Please visit our COVID-19 Information page for information and updates about BCIT’s ongoing pandemic response.
It is highly recommended students register at least 2-4 weeks prior to term start to ensure enrolment in OCHS courses. OCHS 1000 fills quickly.
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.
About the program
BCIT’s Occupational Health and Safety certificate program is the largest and most recognized in Canada. Our program is for people with five or more years of work experience looking to move into a health and safety role in their existing workplace or industry.
- Part-time certificate program that takes on average 18-24 months to complete
- Distance education provides you with greater flexibility to keep working while you study
- Learn at your pace and take up to seven years to graduate
See Program Details for more information about BCIT’s Occupational Health and Safety certificate program.
Who it’s for
This program is for individuals who:
- Have a passion for safety and creating safe work environments for others
- Enjoy working directly with people at all levels and positions
- Thrive in a dynamic and demanding work environment
- Have five years or more of work experience
- Have computer skills and a high school education (recommended, not required)
Discover if BCIT’s Occupational Health and Safety certificate is right for you – visit Program Entry for details.
What grads can do
On the road to creating workplaces that are safe and healthy, our graduates find that their days are full of variety. No two days are the same. Want more information on what a career in occupational health and safety looks like? See Graduating and Jobs to find out.
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 “wait list” 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).
Accessibility Services 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
The program head is also available to discuss the industry in general (job opportunities, salaries, etc.) and further post-secondary education.
Costs & Supplies
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.
Examinations and grades
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.
Time commitment and workload
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.
Laddering to the diploma
Only the following 1st level and 2nd level OH&S Certificate Program courses, OCHS 1000, 1200, and 2100, 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:
- meet additional academic requirements;
- submit an application with resume;
- plan to spend two years full-time (with a reduced course-load) at the BCIT Burnaby Campus.
To further discuss the Diploma program, please contact:
BCIT OH&S Faculty
Phone: 604-456-8123 / 1-800-663-6542, ext. 8123
Graduating & Jobs
Our grads get work
For over 30 years, BCIT has been a strong leader in occupational health and safety training. Our grads work in communities across the country in a variety of areas from schools, health care, and government to oil, mining, and corporations.
The certificate program gives you tools to apply your existing work experience or to entry-level safety positions such as:
- Safety technician
- Safety coordinator
- Project safety coordinator
Careers start at approximately $53,000 annually, with numerous development and advancement opportunities. As you gain work experience after graduation, you can pursue senior positions in health and safety leadership and planning.
Faculty, Advisors & Staff
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 Program Head, Diploma Program
Phone: 604-456-8123 / 1-800-663-6542, ext. 8123
Courses that will be considered have to be:
- at least one day (eight hours) in length;
- taught by a recognized post-secondary institution or training agency;
- related to the skill/knowledge of a safety professional;
Courses excluded are:
- conference courses;
- internal company courses;
- course which issue a ‘Certificate of Attendance’;
- courses less than one day (eight hours) in length.
Examples of acceptable courses:
- Occupational First Aid Level 3 (ticket must be valid at date of graduation);
- H2S Alive;
- TDG or WHMIS Train-the-Trainer courses;
- Courses in accident investigation, confined space entry, forklifts, violence in the workplace, emergency preparedness, and auditing;
- CORE courses;
- Courses in business, human resources, organizational behaviour, and communications.
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.
David Wood, MSc
Program Head, Occupational Health & Safety (Certificate Program)
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