Occupational & Environmental Health Professionals
Occupational and Environmental Health Professionals develop, implement and evaluate policies and programs to monitor environmental health and occupational health and safety and related legislation to ensure safe and healthy working conditions, and assist injured staff through the workers' compensation and rehabilitation process.
developing, implementing and reviewing environmental health management plans and occupational health and safety plans
preparing and implementing plans and strategies for the safe, economic and suitable disposal of commercial, industrial, medical and household wastes
advising on and enforcing legislation, implementing prevention programs and strategies for communicable diseases, food safety, waste water treatment and disposal systems, recreation and domestic water quality, contaminated and hazardous substances, and minimising air, sea, water and noise pollution to improve health outcomes
identifying hazards, and assessing and controlling risks in the workplace
developing, implementing and monitoring programs minimising workplace and environmental pollution involving chemical and physical hazards
promoting ergonomic principles within the workplace such as matching furniture, equipment and work activities to the needs of employees
inspecting and auditing workplaces, processes, plant, and chemical and physical hazards for legislative compliance
training employees in personal protective equipment and safe working procedures
recording and investigating injuries and equipment damage, and reporting safety performance
coordinating the return of injured workers into the workplace
Vocational Education and Training (VET)
The NSC produces employment projections to show where likely future job opportunities may be. The latest data are for the five years from November 2021 to November 2026. Over this period, the number of workers:
- is expected to grow very strongly
- is likely to reach 33,100 by 2026.
Source: National Skills Commission Employment Projections to 2026.
Notes: The number employed includes people who work in this occupation as their main job. People who work in more than one job are counted against the occupation they work the most hours in.
Employment projections figures are rounded to the nearest 100. Calculations based on these rounded figures may result in differences to the numbers that are displayed on this page. Employment projections data (including occupations) can be downloaded from the Employment Projections page.
Number of Workers
Source: ABS Labour Force Survey, ABS seasonally adjusted data to November 2021 and National Skills Commission Employment Projections to 2026.
Earnings and hours
Around 82% of people employed as Occupational & Environmental Health Professionals work full-time hours, in all their jobs combined. This is 16 percentage points above the all jobs average (66%).
Full-time workers work an average of 45 hours per week in their main job. This is similar to the all jobs average (44 hours per week).
More than a third of workers regularly work overtime or extra hours (either paid or unpaid).
Median full-time earnings are $1,983 per week, this is much higher than the all jobs median ($1,593):
- 3 in 4 workers earn more than $1,638
- 1 in 4 earn more than $2,686
Median hourly earnings are $52, this is more than the all jobs median ($41 per hour).
Sources: Full-time share and full-time hours: ABS, 2016 Census, customised report. Compared to the all jobs average. Overtime hours: ABS, Characteristics of Employment, 2021. Full-time median earnings and median hourly earnings: ABS, Survey of Employee Earnings and Hours, May 2021. Compared to all jobs median.
Weekly Earnings (Before Tax)
|Earnings||Occupational & Environmental Health Professionals||All Jobs Average|
Source: Based on ABS Survey of Employee Earnings and Hours, May 2021, Customised Report. Median weekly total cash earnings for full-time non-managerial employees paid at the adult rate. Earnings are before tax and include amounts salary sacrificed. Earnings can vary greatly depending on the skills and experience of the worker and the demands of the role. These figures should be used as a guide only, not to determine a wage rate.
Employment across Australia
Employment by State and Territory (% Share)
|State||Occupational & Environmental Health Professionals||All Jobs Average|
Around 41% of Occupational & Environmental Health Professionals live outside of capital cities, compared with the all jobs average of 38%.
Western Australia and Queensland have a large share of employment relative to their population size.
Source: Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Share of workers across Australian states, territories and regions, in this job compared to the all jobs average.
Age and gender
The median age of Occupational and Environmental Health Professionals is 44 years. This is higher than the all jobs average of 40 years.
A large share of workers are aged 45 to 54 years.
Females make up 44% of the workforce. This is 4 percentage points below the all jobs average of 48%.
Source: Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Age profile and gender share compared to the all jobs average.
Age Profile (% Share)
|Age Bracket||Occupational & Environmental Health Professionals||All Jobs Average|
|65 and Over||3.0||4.2|
Source: Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Age profile of workers in this job compared to the all jobs average.
Education, training and experience
A formal qualification in occupational health and safety, environmental health, environmental science or another related field is usually needed to work as an Occupational and Environmental Health Professional. Vocational Education and Training (VET) and university are both common study pathways.
- Course Seeker to search and compare higher education courses.
- ComparED to compare undergraduate and postgraduate student experiences and outcomes.
- My Skills to compare Vocational Education and Training (VET) courses, providers and student outcomes.
- AAPathways website to explore Health Industry and Public Sector VET training pathways.
Highest Level of Education (% Share)
|Type of Qualification||Occupational & Environmental Health Professionals||All Jobs Average|
|Post Graduate/Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate||19.0||10.1|
|Year 10 and below||3.6||12.5|
Source: ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Highest qualification completed by workers in this job (in any field of study). Qualifications needed by new workers might be different from the qualifications of workers already in the job.
Skills and Knowledge
Employers look for Occupational & Environmental Health Professionals who are caring and empathetic and can work well in a team, with the ability to communicate with a diverse range of people.
Skills can be improved through training or experience.
Thinking about the pros and cons of different ways to solve a problem.
57%Judgment and decision making
Figuring out the pros and cons of different options and choosing the best one.
Being able to use what you have learnt to solve problems now and again in the future.
Listening to others, not interrupting, and asking good questions.
Talking to others.
Writing things for co-workers or customers.
Keeping track of how well work is progressing so you can make changes or improvements.
Talking people into changing their minds or their behaviour.
54%Complex problem solving
Noticing a problem and figuring out the best way to solve it.
Reading work related information.
Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
Understanding why people react the way they do.
Measuring how well a system is working and how to improve it.
50%Quality control analysis
Doing tests and checking products, services, or processes to make sure they are working properly.
Figuring out how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect it.
48%Coordination with others
Being adaptable and coordinating work with other people.
Understanding needs and product requirements to create a design.
Teaching people how to do something.
Figuring out the best way to teach or learn something new.
Managing your own and other peoples' time to get work done.
These are important topics, subjects or knowledge areas.
79%Education and training
Curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
71%Customer and personal service
Understanding customer needs, providing good quality service, and measuring customer satisfaction.
Arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, or statistics.
English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
Chemical composition, structure, and properties. How chemicals are made, used, mixed, and can change.
63%Public safety and security
Use of equipment, rules and ideas to protect people, data, property, and institutions.
62%Engineering and technology
Use engineering, science and technology to design and produce goods and services.
60%Computers and electronics
Circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
Plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, how they rely on and work with each other and the environment.
Word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office work.
58%Law and government
How our laws and courts work. Government rules and regulations, and the political system.
Human behaviour; differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; research methods; assessing and treating disorders.
56%Administration and management
Business principles involved in strategic planning, leadership, and coordinating people and resources.
Machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
The physical laws of matter, motion and energy, and how they interact through space and time.
54%Personnel and human resources
Recruiting and training people, managing pay and other entitlements (like sick leave), and negotiating pay and conditions.
Design techniques, tools, and principles used to make detailed technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.
52%Building and construction
Materials, and methods used to construct or repair houses, buildings, or other structures like highways and roads.
48%Production and processing
Raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and ways of making and distributing goods.
43%Communications and media
Media production, communication, and dissemination. Includes written, spoken, and visual media.
Workers use these physical and mental abilities..
Notice when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong, even if you can't solve the problem.
Communicate by speaking.
Listen to and understand what people say.
Use general rules to find answers or solve problems logically.
Use lots of detailed information to come up with answers or make general rules.
Read and understand written information.
Write in a way that people can understand.
See details that are up-close (within a few feet).
Speak clearly so others can understand you.
See details that are far away.
54%Sorting or ordering
Order or arrange things in a pattern or sequence (e.g., numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
52%Flexibility of closure
See a pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) hidden in other distracting material.
Identify and understand the speech of another person.
Come up with different ways of grouping things.
Come up with a number of ideas about a topic, even if the ideas aren't very good.
Use your eyes to quickly compare groups of letters, numbers, pictures, or other things.
Come up with unusual or clever ideas, or creative ways to solve a problem.
Pay attention to something without being distracted.
Choose the right maths method or formula to solve a problem.
41%Working with numbers
Add, subtract, multiply, or divide.
These are kinds of activities workers regularly do in this job.
79%Communicating within a team
Giving information to co-workers by telephone, in writing, or in person.
76%Keeping your knowledge up-to-date
Keeping up-to-date with technology and new ideas.
76%Monitoring people, processes and things
Checking objects, actions, or events, and keeping an eye out for problems.
76%Planning and prioritising work
Deciding on goals and putting together a detailed plan to get the work done.
75%Giving expert advice
Providing guidance and expert advice to management or other groups.
74%Looking for changes over time
Comparing objects, actions, or events. Looking for differences between them or changes over time.
74%Researching and investigating
Looking for, getting and understanding different kinds of information.
71%Collecting and organising information
Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or checking information or data.
71%Checking compliance with standards
Deciding whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
71%Making decisions and solving problems
Using information to work out the best solution and solve problems.
70%Building good relationships
Building good working relationships and keeping them over time.
67%Communicating with the public
Giving information to the public, business or government by telephone, in writing, or in person.
67%Training and teaching others
Understanding the needs of others, developing training programs, and teaching or instructing.
65%Making sense of information and ideas
Looking at, working with, and understanding data or information.
Convincing people to buy something or to change their minds or actions.
64%Checking for errors or defects
Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials for errors, problems or defects.
62%Documenting or recording information
Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
60%Explaining things to people
Helping people to understand and use information.
55%Estimating amounts, costs and resources
Working out sizes, distances, amounts, time, costs, resources, or materials needed for a task.
51%Working with computers
Using computers to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
Interests and demands
Learn about the daily activities, and physical and social demands faced by workers. Explore the values and work styles that workers rate as most important.
Interests are the style or type of work we prefer to do. All interest areas are shown below.
Ideas and thinking. Searching for facts and figuring out problems in your head.
Following set procedures and routines. Working with numbers and details more than with ideas, usually following rules.
Working with people. Helping or providing service to others.
Practical, hands-on work. Often with plants and animals, or materials like wood, tools, and machinery.
Starting up and carrying out projects. Leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes require risk taking and often deal with business.
Working with forms, designs and patterns. Often need self-expression and can be done without following rules.
Supportive management that stands behind employees. Workers are treated fairly by their company, they are supported by management, and have supervisors who train them well.
Job security and good working conditions. There is usually a steady flow of interesting work, and the pay and conditions are generally good.
Results oriented. Workers are able to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment.
Work alone and make decisions. Workers are able to try out their own ideas, make decisions on their own, and work with little or no supervision.
Advancement and the potential to lead. Workers are recognised for the work that they do, they may give directions and instructions to others, and they are looked up to in their company and their community.
Serve and work with others. Workers usually get along well with each other, do things to help other people, and are rarely pressured to do things that go against their sense of right and wrong.
Use electronic mail.
Talk with people face-to-face.
Talk on the telephone.
90%Health and safety of others
Take responsibility for the health and safety of others.
87%Wear common protective or safety equipment
Wear equipment like safety shoes, glasses, gloves, hard hats or life jackets.
87%Contact with people
Have contact with people by telephone, face-to-face, or any other way.
Work with people in a group or team.
84%Indoors, heat controlled
Work indoors with access to heating or cooling.
84%Being exact or accurate
Be very exact or highly accurate.
84%Freedom to make decisions
Have freedom to make decision on your own.
83%Impact of decisions
Make decisions that have a large impact on other people.
Have freedom to decide on tasks, priorities, and goals.
81%Letters and memos
Write letters and memos.
78%Indoors, not heat controlled
Work indoors without heating or cooling (e.g., warehouse without heat).
78%Lead or coordinate a team
Lead others to do work activities.
76%Frequent decision making
Frequently make decisions that impact other people.
Work to strict deadlines.
72%Exposure to contaminants
Be exposed to pollutants, gases, dust or odours.
72%Loud or uncomfortable sounds
Be exposed to noises and sounds that are distracting or uncomfortable.
72%Outdoors, exposed to weather
Work outdoors, exposed to the weather.
O*NET is a trademark of the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.
The skills and importance ratings on this page are derived from the US Department of Labor O*NET Database Version 21.2, 29-9011.00 - Occupational Health and Safety Specialists.