The Benefits of an Occupational Medicine Career
Occupational Medicine Defined
Are you thinking about pursuing a career in occupational medicine? Healthcare providers in the field of occupational medicine study and practice medicine as it relates to the workplace. The majority of occupational healthcare providers work to prevent work-related injuries. Others treat workers that have been injured on the job. On a broader level, some occupational health professionals work at the population scale, attempting to identify trends in workplace injuries and come up with ways to improve occupational safety.
Careers in Workplace Health
The field of occupational medicine is in dire need of trained workers. According to the Institute of Medicine subcommittee on physician shortage, there is a need for an additional 3,100 to 5,500 physicians in the field. Even more important than this lack of physicians is the shortage of other trained care providers such as occupational nurses and therapists. In addition, many large-scale public and private organizations hire occupational health and safety specialists to help them prevent injuries to workers and the public.
Training in the Field
If you intend to enter the field of occupational medicine, you have the option to pursue any one of these positions, but you should plan your career training accordingly. For example, health and safety specialists usually require at least a Bachelor's degree in occupational health or safety. Many undergraduate programs, including online universities, offer degrees in occupational health, from the Associate's to the Master's level.
Practicing Occupational Medicine
If you are interested in working as a healthcare provider, you might choose to train as a registered nurse, with a specialty in occupational medicine. Finally, occupational therapists and physicians must have specific medical training beyond a Bachelor's degree.