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Top 20 Best Industrial Hygiene Degrees in Public Health for 2019
By Sam MacArthur

Industrial Hygiene goes by many different names – including occupational hygiene, occupational health and safety, and environmental occupational health – but whatever it is called, it is central to public health. Americans spend a large portion of their day at their workplace, and workplace injuries, illnesses, and hazards are a significant cost to the healthcare system. Occupational health was one of the earliest goals of public health (especially as urban workplaces mechanized), and remains at the heart of the field.

Working public health professionals can specialize in industrial hygiene of occupational health in a number of different ways: through both on-campus and online formats; in a variety of degree types, including the Master of Public Health, the Master of Science; and under all of the above names. Whether the goal is a research institution, a government agency like OSHA or the CDC, or private industry, a master’s in industrial hygiene degree is the credential professionals need to take on managerial and leadership roles, and the higher salary and opportunity that come with them.

Methodology: How We Ranked the Best Master’s in Industrial Hygiene Degree Programs

To rank the best master’s in industrial hygiene degree programs, MPHOnline searched for accredited institutions offering specializations in Industrial Hygiene, Occupational Health, Environmental Health, and other related fields. Regional accreditation was a must, and CEPH or ABET accreditation prefered. From there, programs were ranked according to 3 criteria:

  • Alumni Salary (from College Scorecard data)
  • Cost (from IPEDS data)
  • Reputation (from Niche scores)

These factors are equally weighted to give students a clear picture of the programs that show real, positive results in graduates’ careers.

1. University of Michigan

The School of Public Health offers the University of Michigan’s Exposure Science-Industrial Hygiene MPH, MS, and PhD.  Students enrolled in these programs learn how to evaluate and manage workplace hazards such as toxic vapors, mold, and dust. The PhD program focuses on scholarly research and publication, while the master’s level industrial hygiene degree programs prepare students to manage environmental and occupational health programs within a company or organization.

The Exposure Science-Industrial Hygiene program at the University of Michigan is one of the oldest programs of its type in the country and has been accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) for more than 20 years. The program’s faculty is composed of a core group of dedicated professors who serve as mentors to their students in addition to providing exceptional teaching and engaging in cutting-edge research. The program is part of the Michigan Education and Research Center and has produced more than 800 alumni.

Degree: Exposure Science-Industrial Hygiene MPH, MS, or PhD
Format: On-campus
Accreditation: CEPH

2. University of Minnesota

The University of Minnesota offers two Industrial Hygiene master’s programs (MPH and MS). Both programs focus on recognizing and controlling hazards at work. This includes all hazards, from those that threaten the physical safety of workers to chemical and biological agents that affect the environment and the health of the community. Industrial Hygiene is a growing field that will continue to grow as more companies strive to be environmentally responsible. Earning a masters in industrial hygiene opens up career opportunities for positions such as Hazardous Materials Specialist, Air Quality Specialist, and Industrial Hygienist.

The Industrial Hygiene degree program at the University of Minnesota is ABET accredited and provides state-of-the-art laboratory facilities that allow students to gain experience using the latest industrial hygiene technology. The school’s internationally-recognized faculty members and extremely supportive alumni network make it an attractive choice for students who wish to pursue a career in industrial hygiene.

Degree: Industrial Hygiene (MPH and MS) programs
Format: On-campus
Accreditation: ABET

3. University of Utah

The Rocky Mountain Center for Occupational & Environmental Health offers the University of Utah MS in Occupational Health with an emphasis in Industrial Hygiene. An industrial hygiene degree is a good choice for students who enjoy many disciplines because it offers a bit of everything: engineering, epidemiology, ergonomics, toxicology, biostatistics, management, and more.

The Industrial Hygiene degree program at the University of Utah was established in 1977 and is ABET accredited. The program provides opportunities for students to engage in practical experiences in real-world settings. It takes approximately 1.5-2 years to complete the program and a master’s thesis or project is required for graduation. Upon completion, students are able to identify and assess risks, interpret and apply epidemiological and statistical data, understand how various agents and factors stress the human body, and recommend ways to reduce or eliminate the risks posed by various hazards.

Degree: MSOH degree
Format: On-campus
Accreditation: ABET

4. University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center

The College of Public Health at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center offers two master’s degrees in Industrial Health. The Master of Science (MS) in Industrial Hygiene & Environmental Health Sciences is designed to prepare students for careers in business and industry, and the Master of Public Health (MPH) in Environmental Health/Occupational Health prepares students to work in health departments and other government agencies. The school also offers a PhD program, which focuses on research. PhD students choose a specialty within the environmental and occupational health field.

The Department of Occupational and Environmental Health at The University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center is a national leader in the industrial hygiene field and is accredited by ABET. Graduates who receive a masters in industrial hygiene degree from the University of Oklahoma will be able to identify potential workplace health hazards, analyze and control those risks, and educate management and workers about occupational hazards in the workplace.

Degree: MS in Industrial Hygiene & Environmental Health; MPH in Environmental Health/Occupational Health
Format: On-campus
Accreditation: ABET-accredited MS Industrial Hygiene and Environmental Health  program, CEPH-accredited MPH Program

5. UTHealth School of Public Health

The Southwest Center for Occupational and Environmental Health offers the UTHealth School of Public Health MPH Industrial Hygiene degree. The program has an interdisciplinary curriculum that is focused on preparing students for an industrial hygiene career within the public health sector. Graduates of the program are able to evaluate, plan, implement, and manage programs and services that improve the health and safety of workers.

The Industrial Hygiene program at UTHealth emphasizes interaction between students and faculty. Students can participate in internships throughout Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Arkansas, and New Mexico during the summer. Many of these internships are in industrial settings in industries ranging from agriculture to petrochemicals. Internships in government agencies are also available. The Industrial Hygiene degree program is an interdisciplinary program that includes aspects of epidemiology, global health, biostatistics, behavioral sciences, toxicology, and more. The program prepares students to recognize social, ethical, and cultural issues that affect employee well-being as well as biological, chemical, and physical stressors.

Degree: MPH- EOHS-IH
Format: On-campus
Accreditation: ABET

6. University of Washington

The Department of Environmental & Occupational Health Sciences at the University of Washington offers an MS in Exposure Science, an MS in Occupational Hygiene, and an MS in Applied Occupational Hygiene. Exposure Science and Occupational Hygiene are research-based programs. The Applied Occupational Hygiene degree is designed to prepare students who wish to pursue careers as practitioners in the industrial hygiene field. All three degrees feature an interdisciplinary curriculum that includes courses from biostatistics, epidemiology, toxicology, and other disciplines.

Graduates from the Department of Environmental & Occupational Health Sciences at the University of Washington pursue careers in many industries, including manufacturing, pharmaceutical, federal regulatory agencies, and major universities. Some of the school’s recent graduates work at large companies such as Intel and Boeing. Students in the programs have access to internships, research opportunities, and professional development. Faculty and students work together to research health problems and learn how to reduce hazards in the workplace and within the community.

Degree: MS in Exposure Science; MS in Occupational Hygiene; MS in Applied Occupational Hygiene
Format: On-campus
Accreditation: CEPH

7. University of Iowa

The University of Iowa MS in Industrial Hygiene degree, from the College of Public Health, trains students to prevent workplace injury and disease. Students can choose the research option or the internship option. The internship option requires completion of a 150-hour internship and the research option requires completion of a research project. Upon graduation, students will be able to recognize and mitigate hazards, interpret exposure data, effectively advocate for worker health, and understand applicable business and management practices.

The University of Iowa’s College of Public Health is one of the top-rated public health schools in the country, and the Industrial Hygiene program is accredited by ABET. The college is committed to maintaining a diverse environment that provides opportunities for students to gain an insight into cultural perspectives other than their own in order to be able to effectively address the disparities in health experienced by certain ethnic groups. The Industrial Hygiene program strives to give each student the knowledge and skills needed to become leaders in their field.

Degree: MS in Industrial Hygiene
Format: On-campus
Accreditation: ABET

8. University of South Florida

The Environmental and Occupational Health department offers the University of South Florida’s MSPH in Occupational Exposure Science, which is another name for industrial hygiene. Students enrolled in this program will learn to anticipate, recognize, evaluate, and manage environmental stressors that could impact the health of workers or citizens in the surrounding community. Graduates are able to measure exposure to chemicals, manage the after-effects of disasters, and provide consultations on risks in a variety of work environments.

The Occupational Exposure Science program at the University of South Florida is ABET accredited. Graduates demonstrate proficiency in applying technical skills and working effectively with labor and management. Alumni work in military and government positions as well as in the private sector in companies ranging from nuclear power plants to orange juice manufacturers.

Degree: MSPH
Format: On-campus
Accreditation: ABET

9. University Of Alabama At Birmingham

The Environmental Health Science department at the UAB School of Public Health offers an MPH Industrial Hygiene degree program. Students who complete this program learn how to recognize, identify, evaluate, and control occupational hazards. The curriculum helps students understand the relationships between science through a combination of instruction and hands-on laboratory and field practice. Graduates are able to develop systems for identifying and managing problems that affect the health of workers.

The Industrial Hygiene program at the University of Alabama at Birmingham is supported by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). Students are required to complete an internship as part of their 45 hours of credits; industry partners for the internship program include more than 60 business across the country. Trainees of the Deep South Center ERC who receive funding from NIOSH are required to conduct a masters research project and take extra classes in exchange for the funding.

Degree: MPH Industrial Hygiene
Format: On-Campus
Accreditation: CEPH

10. Johns Hopkins University

The Johns Hopkins University MS in Public Health Occupational and Environmental Hygiene track, offered through the Environmental Health & Engineering Department, is a good choice for students who are searching for a master’s in industrial hygiene degree online. The program is available part-time online and full-time on campus and focuses on preparing students to identify and mitigate environmental and workplace problems that affect the health of workers and other individuals.

The full-time MSPH in Occupational and Environmental Hygiene is ABET accredited and prepares students to be able to pass the Certified Industrial Hygienist exam. The part-time online program provides media-rich instruction that emphasizes interaction between students and faculty. Only professionals working in the industrial hygiene/safety field are eligible to enroll, and students in the online program are required to attend four two-week on-campus sessions.

Degree: MSPH Occupational And Environmental Hygiene, DrPH Environmental Health, PhD in Environmental Health
Format: Online and On-campus
Accreditation: CEPH, ABET

11. University of Illinois at Chicago

The University of Illinois at Chicago industrial hygiene degree has two options at the master’s level. The concentration in industrial hygiene in the MPH and MS programs teach students to recognize and assess potential concerns associated with occupational health and safety. The program helps students move into more complex career opportunities and focus on improving the safety of industrial workers and the industrial work environment. Students have opportunities to start a career or continue into a graduate program.

The way that the University of Illinois at Chicago stands apart from other programs is the accreditation and high standards. The university is accredited through the American Board of Engineering and Technology, or ABET. The on-campus program also has accreditation from the Council on Education for Public Health, or CEPH. The school meets high standards for education, which helps students succeed in their long-term goals.

Degree: MS and MPH Industrial Hygiene concentrations
Format: On-campus
Accreditation: CEPH

12. University of Nebraska Medical Center

The University of Nebraska Medical Center MPH in Environmental and Occupational Health program offers a solution for busy working professionals. The online program has a concentration in environmental and occupational health, which allows students to handle complex career opportunities. The goal of the industrial hygiene degree program is broadening a student’s knowledge of environmental health or occupational health topics, as well as toxicity as it relates to occupational hazards and risks.

The University of Nebraska Medical Center stands out by offering a CEPH certified course through online training. As an online program, students have the ability to focus on their goals while still working on personal obligations. Since the school offers online courses, it provides a convenient way to obtain a master’s degree and start working in an industrial health career.

Degree: MPH in Environmental and Occupational Health
Format: Online
Accreditation: CEPH

13. University of Arizona

The University of Arizona MPH in Environmental Occupational Health focuses on assessing and evaluating risks before offering solutions to resolve the risks to a workforce. It recognizes that many factors may play a role in health risks, and strives to address the risks to reduce the possibility of complications in the work environment. The Zuckerman College of Public Health is one of the most trusted and influential public health schools in the nation.

A key reason to consider the University of Arizona for your MPH Industrial hygiene degree is their accreditation. The Zuckerman College of Public Health is in the midst of transferring their MPH Industrial Hygiene program from CEPH accreditation to ABET accreditation – a more appropriate standard for industrial hygiene. The accreditation gives employers confidence that you meet specific educational standards and will be able to handle the challenges of your career. It means you meet high standards, which gives you and potential employers’ confidence in your abilities.

Degree: MPH in Environmental Occupational Health – Industrial Hygiene Track
Format: On-campus
Accreditation: CEPH

14. Tulane University

Tulane University’s online MSPH industrial hygiene degree program meets the highest standards for excellence in education, while also providing the convenience and flexibility of online learning. Tulane helps students reach their goals, with the skills to identify and assess potential risks to workers in various environments. The education helps graduates assess potential concerns, identify risks, and develop realistic solutions to resolve the potential problems.

Tulane University stands out due to its willingness to provide education online as well as their accreditation. The online program is ABET and CEPH certified, so it meets the high standards of the accrediting programs. It also allows students to work around their personal obligations and take classes when they are available. That allows working adult students to focus on their degree by setting up a schedule that fits their situation and career aspirations.

Degree: MSPH Industrial Hygiene Degree
Format: Online
Accreditation: CEPH

15. University of Cincinnati

The College of Medicine offers the University of Cincinnati MS in Industrial Hygiene degree that helps students focus on their career goals. The research programs in the school focus on chemical and biological aerosols, as well as the impact on exposure to certain items in the work environment. By learning about the risks to workers from proper research, students will have the skills and knowledge they need to handle potential challenges in their workplace. The Industrial Hygiene program gives students the practical knowledge they need to make a difference in worker safety.

The way the University of Cincinnati stands out from other programs is their research into specific areas of industrial hygiene and risks to workers. They also have ABET accreditation, which gives students and their potential employers’ confidence in the skills they bring into a work environment. The university prepares students to handle the challenges of identifying solutions for potential risks to workers. UC encourages students to to think outside of the box for realistic strategies that work.

Degree: MS in Industrial Hygiene
Format: On-campus
Accreditation: ABET

16. Montana Tech of the University of Montana

The MS in Industrial Hygiene degree from Montana Tech is a good option for students already working in the public health field. The industrial hygiene masters online program allows students to continue managing personal obligations or career obligations while they work on their degree. It focuses on teaching students to apply problem-solving skills to industrial and professional environments with the goal of reducing risks to workers. The program teaches students to recognize risks and then evaluate the potential solutions before presenting a strategy to employers.

Montana Tech of the University of Montana differs from other schools for offering a distance learning or professional track program with accreditation. The industrial hygiene program is ABET accredited and meets high standards for education. Students learn technical skills that help them succeed in the workplace. It also teaches students to handle the challenges of their career without giving up on flexible study hours.

Degree: MS in Industrial Hygiene
Format: Online
Accreditation: ABET

17. Drexel University

Drexel University’s MS in Environmental and Occupational Health Studies helps students prepare for a career in the industrial health industry. The program focuses on research methods used to identify health risks in environments. That focus on research prepares students to take on a leadership role when they move into a career and must work in a complicated environment. Students have the opportunity to work in government positions as well as private careers and non-profit programs.

Drexel University stands out by focusing on research and research practices when working with students. By the time students complete their education, they have a clear understanding of proper research methods to help with their career. The school is ABET accredited and meets high standards of education. It ensures that students have the skills they need to accomplish their career goals.

Degree: MS in Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences
Format: On-campus
Accreditation: ABET

18. University of Central Missouri

The University of Central Missouri MS in Industrial Hygiene degree program assists with working students’ long-term career goals. The master’s program takes a hands-on approach to education. Students spend time in a laboratory and work in the field as an intern or through school research projects to learn valuable skills for their long-term career goals. The students obtain a Graduate Safety Practitioner designation after completing the course and graduating with a MS degree.

The University of Central Missouri is the only ABET accredited program in Missouri and it is only one of 30 programs to meet the standards to qualify for ABET accreditation. The school is also ANSAC accredited. Due to the high standards of the university, students are able to handle their career goals. They have the skills to handle challenges in their career and the hands-on experience to work on realistic solutions.

Degree: MS in Industrial Hygiene
Format: On-campus
Accreditation: ABET

19. University of Toledo

The University of Toledo MS in Occupational Health, or MSOH, includes an Industrial Hygiene major. Students who take the industrial hygiene major learn the skills required for an industrial hygiene specialist career in government, private companies, or academic institutions. Whether students plan to work in research or take an active role in resolving potential risks in a company, the industrial hygiene degree prepares students for their role in a future career.

The University of Toledo stands out for its focus on excellence. The school is ABET accredited and was recognized by the CDC as a NIOSH training program. When students complete a MSOH degree, they qualify for a career in industrial hygiene. The school sets high standards for students and prepares them for the exams to obtain professional designations as well as to work in their chosen career. The university requires excellence among the students and offers the education to handle the challenges of reducing risks to workers by identifying problems and developing logical solutions.

Degree: MS in Occupational Health (MSOH), Industrial Hygiene major (IH)
Format: On-campus
Accreditation: ABET

20. Eastern Kentucky University

Eastern Kentucky University’s MPH Industrial Hygiene degree program takes a tailored approach to education by setting up course work in four concentrations and allowing students to gain a firm understanding of public health topics before moving into their chosen major. That allows students to build a strong foundation of knowledge before turning their attention to more specialized studies. Industrial health majors are able to focus on their area of interest and work on developing skills that help with their career goals.

Eastern Kentucky University differs from other programs by setting clear standards of excellence for its students. The industrial health program is CEPH accredited, so the school meets the standards to qualify for accreditation. The school also takes a tailored approach to education by allowing students to focus on a specific area of interest. That gives students the confidence to handle challenges when they move into the workplace and start their career. The school focuses on preparing students for the challenges they will face when they start working for a private company, a non-profit organization, or the government.

Degree: MPH Industrial Hygiene
Format: On-campus
Accreditation: CEPH

What Will I Learn in an Industrial Hygiene Master’s Program?

The American Board of Industrial Hygiene defines Industrial Hygiene as a combination of science and art with a mission to protect and improve the health and safety of individuals in their workplace and around the community. Industrial hygienist courses focus on the chemical, physical, ergonomic and biological stressors and how the impact the health and safety of individuals. An Industrial Hygienist dedicates himself to recognizing, controlling, and evaluating all of those hazards.

Courses that a student will typically find in an industrial hygiene program are anatomy and physiology, chemistry, calculus, industrial hygiene engineering, and biochemistry. There are a large number of internships available to students in the Industrial Hygiene field. Most of them require that the student either currently holds a Bachelor’s degree or is a Junior or Senior in college. The good news is many of them are paid internships.

Students are able to complete an industrial hygienist degree online. Some programs are completely online to allow the ultimate flexibility for students to obtain their degree while balancing other things. Some programs are a hybrid of online classes and on campus classes, so the students get the best of both environments. Industrial Hygiene students may also benefit from a program at an urban university, because of access to internships and hands-on experience.

Can I Get an Industrial Hygiene Master’s Online?

Yes, it is possible to get an Industrial Hygiene Masters online. The key is to make sure whatever degree program the student elects to enroll in is accredited by the Applied Science Accreditation Commission (ASAC) of ABET. The industrial hygienist degree online can also be accredited by the Council on Education of Public Health (CEPH).

Online masters programs allow students to complete advanced study in the field of their choice while continuing to work. These programs provide flexibility for students to schedule their classes around work and family life. They are structured in a way that encourages collaboration and participation to apply critical thinking strategies to real world problems in occupational health. There are also many courses available that offer an online industrial hygiene certificate. These courses satisfy the requirement for all training and compliance needs. Most of the courses have a certification that can be printed at the end of the course completion. Organizations that offer these types of classes keep a record of your certification.

How is the Industrial Hygiene Job Outlook?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports the annual wage for occupational health and safety specialists within industrial hygiene is $71,780. The annual wage for occupational health and safety technicians within industrial hygiene is $49,960. The industrial hygiene job outlook is a positive one with a projected eight percent growth through 2026. Technicians and specialists are needed across many industries because of all of the regulations.

Currently, there are 101,800 individuals employed in industrial hygiene jobs. While many individuals start with entry level industrial hygiene jobs, they can move into positions as Senior Environmental Health & Safety Engineers, The average annual salary for this position is around $90,000. Another transition individuals tend to make is an Industrial Hygienist to Environmental Health & Safety Manager which brings in an annual salary of $75,000.

Depending on the industry in which an Industrial Hygienist works, the salary each individual earns can vary greatly. For an Industrial Hygienist that works in a state, local, or private hospital, they can earn about $73,270 annually. A manufacturing job comes with an annual salary of $72, 590. Those working in construction can expect to earn $71,370. For Industrial Hygienists in the Government, they will earn $69,530 annually. Those in management or consultative services earn about $66,550 annually.

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