Public Health Leadership Program
Online Occupational Health Nursing Certificate (+ Campus Visit)

Overview | Curriculum | Course Schedule | Eligibility, Application & Tuition | Contact Us

Check out more program details and information about how to apply to the Occupational Health Nursing Certificate via the Gillings Program Search (GPS) for prospective students.


A formal certificate program in Occupational Health Nursing is offered by the Occupational Health Nursing Program, within the Public Health Leadership Program, School of Public Health. Based on a marketing survey, OHNs have expressed interest in more formal education in occupational health nursing beyond continuing education but may not be ready to enter a master’s degree program.
The certificate program is designed to strengthen the knowledge and expertise of registered nurses (RNs) working in occupational health wherever they may practice – in the United States and/or internationally – through existing Internet/Blackboard courses that are currently available in the Public Health Leadership Program.
The Occupational Health Nursing Certificate is an academic program of study. Students take 11-12 credits in coursework that has been specially developed for distance education. All credits earned are completely transferable (for 10 years) as part of the requirements for the completion of the OHN Concentration MPH degree. Students will be able to register, receive materials, interact with faculty, order books, and successfully complete this program while only traveling to campus once. A connection to the Internet is all that is required!


The curriculum is a minimum of 11 credit hours (4 graduate level courses). One course is required; the student then selects three additional courses to complete the OHN Certificate Program

PHNU 781, Occupational Health Nursing I (3 credits)
Concerns factors influencing the development and operation of occupational health programs. General and special health services contingent on work environment and inherent health problems in the employed populations are considered. Fall Semester.
This course is offered for one week on-campus and students will take this in conjunction with current OHN program Masters’ students.
ELECTIVES (Select 3 courses from the list below); all are offered online.
ENVR 423: Industrial Toxicology (3 credits)
Toxicological assessment of and a case presentation of related exposure is given. A conceptual approach is utilized to design appropriate programs to prevent worker ill health due to industrial toxicant exposure. Spring Semester.
ENVR 432: Occupational Safety and Ergonomics (3 credits)
Fundamentals of occupational safety and ergonomics with emphasis on legislation and organization of industrial safety and ergonomic programs, including hazard recognition, analysis, control, and motivational factors pertaining to industrial accident and cumulative trauma disorder prevention. Fall Semester.
PHNU 787: Fundamentals of Industrial Hygiene (2 credits)
Provides broad understanding of industrial hygiene. Major emphasis is recognition of hazards in the workplace, evaluation of measurement of those hazards, and application of control strategies. Fall Semester.
PUBH 785: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Occupational Health (3 credits)
Focuses on work, workplace exposures and hazards, and their effect on health. Interdisciplinary approaches to risk identification, reduction, and communication will be emphasized within regulatory and ethical contexts. Spring Semester.
EPID 600: Principles of Epidemiology (3 credits)
An introductory course that considers the meaning, scope, and applications of epidemiology to public health practice and the uses of vital statistics data in the scientific appraisal of community health. Fall Semester; Spring Semester, Summer Session

Course Schedule

Course Offerings by Semester

Fall Semester

Spring Semester


PHNU 781 (3 credits)
Occupational Health Nursing I REQUIRED; on-campus session for 8 days in August) with remaining online
PHNU 423/ENVR 423 (3 credits) Industrial Toxicology (online)
*EPID 600 (3 credits) Principles of Epidemiology (online)
PHNU 787 (2 credits) Fundamentals of Industrial Hygiene (online)
PUBH/PHNU 785 (3 credits) Interdisciplinary Approaches to Occupational Health (online)
PHNU 786 ENVR 432 (3 credits) Occupational Safety and Ergonomics (online)
*EPID 600 (3 credits) Principles of Epidemiology (online)
*EPID 600 (3 credits) Principles of Epidemiology (online)

*EPID 600 is a rigorous course and recommended if considering going on for MPH degree


Sample Course Schedule (11-12 credits)

Fall Semester

Spring Semester

PHNU 781 (3 credits)
PHNU 786/ENVR 423 (3 credits)
PHNU 787 (2 credits)
PHNU/PUBH 785 (3 credits)


Eligibility, Application and Tuition

  • Registered Nurses (RNs) who want to learn more about occupational health nursing
  • OHNs who want to broaden their knowledge and education in occupational health nursing
  • OHNs who have assumed greater administrative and management responsibilities and desire more formal education in occupational health nursing
  • OHNs wishing to pursue an MPH in Occupational Health Nursing and expecting to use some or all of these credits towards that goal
Criteria for Admission
  • Two years or more experience in occupational health nursing or in the field of occupational health and safety; experience in public health nursing or related field or emergency nursing may be considered
  • Two letters of recommendation, one of which is academic (preferred) and one from a professional colleague
  • Personal statement describing desire to expand expertise in occupational health nursing
Most students will have a BSN or above; however, we will consider applicants who can demonstrate equivalent related experience together with RN licensure and an Associate degree or certification in their field.


There are two admission cycles for the OHN Certificate Program: Fall and Spring.


Open Date

Close Date

For Spring (starting in January)

October 1, 2018
November 5, 2018

For Fall (starting in August)

January 7, 2019
May 6, 2019


To begin the application process, please click here. There is no application fee.

Please fill out your application completely. Pay special attention to the Statement of Purpose. Once you begin your application, please make sure to write down your user name and password, so that you are able to go back into the original application that you started.

If you have problems with the application, please contact Susan Randolph or Student Services Manager Michele Fulton.


For information on tuition rates, please consult the UNC Finance Office‘s tuition rates document (see Off-campus Programs tuition rates).  Please note that the certificate programs do not qualify for financial aid at UNC-CH.

Military Benefits

If you are actively serving in the military, you can qualify (if approved) for the military tuition benefit. The form needs to be completed and mailed to the program coordinator. Click here to reach the UNC web site for Military tuition benefits.

Contact Us

Click here to see a list of Frequently Asked Questions. For additional information about the Occupational Health Nursing Certificate, please contact:

Susan Randolph
OHN Certificate Program Faculty Director
919-966-0979Mailing Address
Occupational Health Nursing Certificate Program
UNC-School of Public Health
1700 Airport Road, CB #7502
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7502

Learn more about distance education opportunities at UNC.

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