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Graduate Training in Occupational Health Psychology

A specialization in occupational health psychology is offered as part of our Ph.D. in I-O psychology and our M.S. in applied psychology for students specializing in I-O. There is a significant need nationwide to promote and enhance graduate training in occupational health psychology. The reasons for this are several. For example, since the late 19th and early 20th centuries there has been a massive reduction in deaths resulting from infectious diseases. This is in large part due to improved public health and sanitation practices, but also results from advances in microbiology. This has resulted in longer life span and expansion of the years of work productivity.

Subsequently, the major health threats to the U.S. workforce now include the chronic degenerative diseases, e.g. coronary heart disease, cancer. These diseases are intimately linked to factors such as lifestyle, dietary habits and exposure to environmental toxins. Moreover, the threat of accidents in the workplace can be directly linked to issues surrounding stress, fatigue, and human factors such as workplace design and engineering, and compliance with safety directives. What is common to all of these threats to worker wellness and productivity is the role of prevention as the single most effective intervention. Occupational health psychology can address these issues through research designed to investigate health and well-being in workers and in work settings.

The demographics of the workforce are shifting to older, more diverse populations. At the same time, the structure of work and compensation has undergone significant changes. These factors have altered the traditional views of workplace health and safety and have necessitated a new kind of training to maximize worker wellness and productivity. Occupational health psychology has much to offer, but there is a pressing need for new graduate training programs to supply skilled psychological expertise with specialized training in the wide array of occupational health issues.

The Department of Psychology at Clemson University is one of the few programs nationwide to receive funding from the American Psychological Association (APA) and the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) to develop a graduate training program in occupational health psychology (OHP). Graduate training in occupational health psychology at Clemson University has significant potential for impact and academic excellence. Formal training began in the year 2000 as a concentration within the existing I-O and applied psychology programs. Specific occupational health psychology certificate requirements are listed in the Department of Psychology Graduate Student Handbook. To learn more about occupational health psychology, please visit the relevant web sites listed on this page.