Occupational health professionals make a real difference to the health of workers. Occupational health (OH) is a rewarding and interesting career and one that allows a good work/life balance. Take a look at our careers guide Choosing occupational health as a career. SOM holds an annual OH Jobs and Career Fair, demonstrating its support for the next generation of OH professionals - view the recording of the 2021 Jobs and Career Fair here.
Do also let us know of careers fairs we might attend as we do attend relevant careers fairs.
Being a member of the SOM can support your career development e.g. SOM hosts a CESR support group, support for placements and mentoring for GPs, and regular workplace visits - contact us for details. The occupational health world is friendly and there are more people than you think out there who are willing to help and support you. Whatever your background or interests, there is a career in occupational health that's perfect for you!
Career paths in occupational health
Doctors, psychologists, technicians, nurses and physiotherapists all play important roles within OH. Take a look at this video which explains why they love working in OH, their day-to-day responsibilities, opportunities for training and career progression and much more:
Dr Iain Kennedy explains in this blog the importance of occupational medicine in his work as a GP. Dr Rob Hampton describes why there is an increasing interest in the specialty being seen as an attractive and sometimes lucrative field of work. Dr Peter Tamony, a junior doctor, shares his experience of a taster week of training in occupational health during his final year as a medical student.
The role of an occupational health physician is often determined by the requirements of the employer or customer. Occupational health doctors are concerned with the protection of the health of the workforce and the prevention of occupational health and diseases and related environmental issues. More information about the role of doctors in occupational medicine can be found here.
A podcast on "Why I Became an Occupational Physician and Other Occupational Health Stories" edited by John Hobson and The Society of Occupational Medicine is available here (the book can be purchased here with a discount for SOM members - discount code in Members Area/Members Support and Benefits/Benefits and insurance).
The occupational health nursing profession focuses on the prevention and management of workplace injuries. Occupational health nursing is a rewarding and diverse career. All registered nurses can apply for occupational health nursing roles. There are occupational health nurse jobs available in both the private sector and the NHS. More information about becoming an occupational health nurse can be found here.
Occupational psychology focuses on performance at work. It looks at how individuals, small groups and organisations behave and function. The aim of occupational psychology is to increase an organisation's effectiveness and improve the job satisfaction of workers. Occupational psychologists can work in advisory, teaching and research roles. They can also work in technical and administrative roles. Find out more here.
Occupational physiotherapy aims to improve the health and wellbeing of workers so that they can carry out their jobs effectively and efficiently. Occupational health physiotherapists improve work design through ergonomics, with the goal of making work tasks comfortable and safe. Find out more here.
An occupational health technician (OHT) is a key part of a multi-disciplinary OH team. The OHT must provide accurate written, electronic and verbal reports, observing confidentiality always. The role may involve blood pressure monitoring, phlebotomy, cholesterol and urine testing. It often involves working on one's own initiative and may include site visits and considerable travel. Find out more here.
Occupational therapists working in occupational health assist in the provision of an OH service to meet employees' needs. They provide professional services and advice to management and employees on matters relating to OH, particularly prevention of illness and maintenance and improvement of health and wellbeing. Find out more here and here.
Occupational hygienists, also known as industrial hygienists, are skilled in worker protection (occupational hygiene). They are involved at the interface of people and their workplaces, and help employers understand how health hazzards affect the health of workers, what the level of risk may be, and advise on reducing risks through the identification of suitable controls. Find out more here.
Disability assessors carry out similar roles to occupational health and there is significant career interchange between the two roles. For examples of careers as a Disability Assessor, click here.