June 8, 2021 / Gouhar Nayeem

Transitioning from Student to Early Career Professional

As graduation season passes, students are preparing to begin a new chapter in their professional lives: a career. AIHA offers several resources to support students throughout this transitory process and a membership program specifically for early career professionals with 10 years of experience or less in occupational and environmental health and safety. Membership as an early career professional allows you to get involved with AIHA by voting on Association-related issues and serving on committees. Here are some other ways AIHA can help you as an emerging OEHS professional.

Professional Pathways

The Professional Pathways program offers several resources to help advance your career and assist you with determining which OEHS path to take. It’s difficult to navigate toward any destination without a map—so this simple “roadmap” document (PDF) is designed to help members decide on their next moves, regardless of where they are in their careers.

For members’ information during the decision-making process, Professional Pathways also offers material on salaries in the OEHS profession; an ebook on the knowledge, skills, and abilities that OEHS professionals should possess at different career levels; and a document describing hiring managers’ expectations for recently graduated environmental health and safety generalists.

AIHA Mentoring Program

Mentorship helps young professionals receive practical advice, encouragement, and support and learn from older professionals’ experiences. Learning from a mentor may also help early career OEHS professionals develop their communication, leadership, and personal skills.

To make finding and connecting with mentors easier, AIHA recently launched a new mentoring platform, which includes built-in event scheduling, goal setting, evaluation, learning, and community features and is also accessible on mobile devices. To join, visit the AIHA mentoring program page (members only).


The online CareerAdvantage job board connects OEHS job seekers with employers across all industries. To help with the job search, the service also offers resume writing assistance, interview preparation, and networking tips to help you find and secure a job that fits your needs.

Volunteer Groups

As an AIHA member, you can join your colleagues and peers working on AIHA’s nearly 50 different volunteer groups, teams, and committees. These are further subdivided into technical committees, working and special interest groups, professional development and internal operations committees, advisory groups, and other project teams focused on specific issues related to OEHS. For young professionals, the Student and Early Career Professionals and Mentoring and Professional Development committees are great starting points. Find the one that best suits your interests and get involved.

Future Leaders Institute

The Future Leaders Institute (FLI) strengthens the leadership skills of young OEHS professionals with 3–15 years of applied work experience within four main areas: interpersonal perspectives, organizational perspectives, collaborative and teamwork efforts, and managing the future. Eligibility is based on an application process, which will be reviewed by a selection panel. The next FLI is slated for 2022.

Whatever your next step after graduation, this point of your career may be intimidating but is also a time of opportunity and growth. AIHA congratulates all recent graduates and invites them to join AIHA as early career professionals and future OEHS leaders.

Gouhar Nayeem

Gouhar Nayeem is AIHA’s membership marketing specialist.


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