The National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety (NIOSH) recenty commissioned a National Survey of the Occupational Safety and Health Workforce to respond to growing concern and debate over the supply and demand for occupational safety and health professionals in the United States. The final assessment, released in October 2011, found that based on current trends, future national demand for occupational safety and health services will significantly outstrip the number of professionals with the necessary training, education, and experience to provide such services. The full report provides the findings of the assessment in detail, and discusses the methodology and process used in the assessment. Refer to the Executive Summary section of the Westat report for key findings.
Through university-based Education and Research Centers (ERCs), like the NWCOHS, NIOSH supports the development of occupational safety and health professionals. ERCs offer academic degree programs short-term continuing education (CE) programs for occupational safety and health professionals and research training opportunities in the core areas of industrial hygiene, occupational health nursing, occupational medicine, and occupational safety, plus specialized areas relevant to the occupational safety and health field. For more information on ERCs, go to http://www.niosh-erc.org.
NIOSH has plans to continue to work with partners and stakeholders to identify and pursue ways to meet this critical training need in occupational safety and health for the 21st Century. The need for an adequate supply of trained professionals is particularly great as we anticipate that growing numbers of older professionals will retire over the next decade. As new technologies continue to enter the workplace, occupational safety and health professionals will require specialized skills and knowledge to meet the OSH needs of workers in new work environments. In addition to providing the survey instruments on this webpage, NIOSH plans to make this unique database publically available, to help guide action and policy development in occupational safety and health.