August 22, 2023 / Larry Sloan

Filling the Pipeline: Leveraging Our Professors

With the seemingly increasing prevalence of natural and human-caused disasters, the need for qualified occupational and environmental health and safety experts has never been greater. But many college students aren't even aware of this rewarding profession, despite the high starting salaries and free educational benefits offered to students who choose to enter the profession. 

That's why AIHA developed a free Career Mapping Toolkit that includes information on the earning potential of future OEHS professionals pursuing any of various technical career paths, as well as the skill sets needed for success. In addition, has been designed to introduce students, educators, and guidance counselors to the benefits of an OEHS career.

AIHA has a number of resources (PDF) that faculty can incorporate into their curriculum to demonstrate the role of the OEHS professional across a spectrum of industries, from chemical companies and research laboratories to insurance companies and government agencies. You'll find tips on doing a presentation, videos that showcase various disciplines within the profession, and resources to share with students and professionals looking for an exciting and rewarding career.

Last year, we updated a slide deck that teachers can use to generate awareness of the profession among undergraduates in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) disciplines. The presentation includes information on scholarships available, salary data, typical job activities, and much more. It's a handy guide for introducing OEHS to students who may be studying engineering or basic life sciences or who are enrolled in premedical, predental, or prepharmacological programs. Download it from our Outreach Center webpage.

Currently, we are developing a toolkit of materials to make it easier for you to educate students—and professors in other departments—about the OEHS profession. We expect to deliver this new toolkit to you later this year. 

Professors are uniquely positioned to foster the careers of the next generation of OEHS professionals and grow our pipeline, especially with science-minded students who might not be aware of the rewards of this dynamic and financially lucrative profession. In the coming months, AIHA will be drafting an overarching strategic plan that details our plans to approach a variety of audiences. These include HBCUs (historically Black colleges and universities), vocational and technical centers, local STEM festivals (leveraging our local sections network), the guidance counselor community, the educational association SkillsUSA, and other venues. The role of our professors is essential to the success of our outreach efforts overall.

If you'd like to share ways in which you've already broadened awareness within your school, drop me a line.

Larry Sloan

Larry Sloan is AIHA’s CEO.


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