Frequently Asked Questions

1. Will the Occupational and Environmental Safety Management (OESM program prepare you for a career?

Yes, you can apply for positions such as Safety Administrator, Safety Officer, Safety Specialist,
Environmental Technician, Safety Technician, and Safety Director.

Workplace safety regulations cover all industries, however small "mom & pop" businesses do not hire safety professionals. In Hawaiʻi, safety professionals work for governmental agencies, healthcare, hotels/services, construction, maritime, transportation, environmental firms, colleges & universities. Etc.

Besides academic background, employers look at various qualifications including work ethics, communication and interpersonal skills, etc. Your ability to network and make independent decisions is also important.

2. In the OESM field, what are the specifics of industry recognized certifications?

The EHS profession recognizes the following board- certified certifications from nationally recognized boards. In all instances, you need to pass exams:

  • Certified Safety Professional (CSP)
  • Associate Safety Professional (ASP)
  • Certified Industrial Hygienist (CIH)
  • Construction Safety and Health Technician (CHST)
  • Occupational Health and Safety Technologist (OHST)
  • Safety Trained Supervisor (STS)

Honolulu Community College does not certify students with these national certifications.

3. Are you able to get industry recognized certificates of completion of training for specific OESM courses?

Yes, for certain OESM classes offered by certain instructors. You will receive OSHA certificates upon completion of OESM classes with a "C" or higher grade. Check with OESM program liaison or counselor for specifics. In Spring and Fall 2011, the following certificates were awarded:

OESM Class OSHA Certificate
218: Emergency Response for Hazmat 40-hr HAZWOPER (29 CFR 1910.120)

4. When are the OESM classes offered?

OESM classes are offered year round in the fall and spring semesters at the main campus. OESM classes meet once per week in the evenings from 5pm to 7:50pm or on Saturdays. The following required courses are offered:

  • Fall semesters: 101, 102, 104, 160, 208, 193V
  • Spring semesters: 101, 105, 106, 210, 193V

Additionally, future course offerings in OESM are posted on the OESM website. This is a tentative schedule of when OESM classes will be offered. You can also view class offerings per semester at Honolulu Community College's website at Class Availability.

5. Is there anything unique about the OESM program and the OESM courses?

In addition to the features on the OESM homepage, the OESM program has a strong network of support within the safety and environmental professional community. Employers, many of which are OESM alumni hire interns and full time employees from the OESM program.

6. What are the requirements for the OESM 193 cooperative education course?

OESM 193V is the internship course where you would be using your work experience in the OSEM field as an integral part of the course. OSEM 193V for one credit is required for the associates degree. Internship may lead to employment opportunities. For more information, go to links on OESM website.

7. What course should you take in your first semester in the program if you meet the program prerequisites of placement in ENG 100 and MATH 100, 103, 115?

OESM 101 and/or OESM 104, 106

8. What courses can you take in your first semester in the program if you do not meet the program prerequisites?

  • OESM 101
  • English courses leading up to ENG 100
  • Math courses leading up to MATH 115

9. Should you purchase textbooks before the semester begins?

Recommendation from Marilynn Ito-Won, Counselor is to purchase your textbooks prior to the beginning of the semester. If you wait till your first day in class, there may have sold all the textbooks. You would also avoid the chaos of the first week of the semester. If you do not open or mark your textbook, you may be able to return it with the receipt.

10. As a student with a full time day job, is it possible to complete the OESM program with evening or weekend or distance education (DE) courses?

OESM courses are offered in the evening and weekends in in-person classes. General education courses are offered in the evening, weekends or distance education.

11. What course waiver/ substitutions are typically accepted?

  • CHEM 105 may be substituted with CHEM 151 and 151L provided you earned a "C" or higher grade. Certain other CHEM courses above 151 have also been accepted as substitutions.
  • SP 151 may be substituted with a higher level speech course that basically covers the same course material in SP 151. You need to earn a "C" or higher grade.
  • MATH 115 may be substituted with courses with focus on statistics. You need to earn a "C" or higher grade.
  • PSY 180 may be substituted with courses that have a focus on industrial or work psychology. Survey of psychology courses are not accepted as substitutes. You need to earn a "C" or higher grade.

See an academic counselor to complete the course waiver substitution forms. If you are receiving veteran's benefits, the form must be approved before your courses can be certified for veteran's benefits. If you are currently enrolled in the course, see the counselor to complete the form. Substitution will be posted to your record once all approvals are received and grade is posted.

12. Will you be able to transfer college courses, Advanced Placement (AP) scores or CLEP scores for the OESM degree?

Yes, college courses, AP scores and CLEP scores that are applicable or count toward the OESM degree can be accepted in transfer however grade, grade points and grade point averages cannot be transferred. Your GPA at Honolulu CC will be based on your grades at Honolulu CC.

Courses completed at a University of Hawaiʻi (UH) institution are generally accepted in transfer with a "D" or higher grade. Courses from regionally accredited U.S. institutions with grades of "D" or higher are generally accepted in transfer provided grade is offset with a "B" or higher grade.

You can find out whether your college course or AP scores or CLEP scores will be accepted in transfer by going to the UH System Course Transfer Database. Go to the UH System Course Transfer Database. Go to List and follow directions. If your course is not listed, provide Records Office with the course descriptions. Descriptions will be attached to the official transcript received from the non-UH system institution you attended.

To have a transcript evaluated, do the following:

Request that the institution that you attended send an official transcript and course descriptions (if from a non-Hawaiʻi institution) to Honolulu CC Records Office. If the institution is part of the UH system, an official transcript does not need to be sent as Honolulu CC can view your record at other UH system institutions.

Complete the Transcript Evaluation Request form [PDF] to trigger evaluation of your transcripts. Submit completed form to Honolulu CC's Records Office.

Honolulu CC Records Office
874 Dillingham Blvd.
Honolulu, Hawaiʻi 96817
(808) 845-9120

13. Will you be able to use safety /environmental work experience training for the OESM degree?

Honolulu Community College does not grant college credits for work experience, however does give college credits for certain OESM training. Documentation of training must be provided. Contact the OESM academic counselor for more information.

14. If you take a break from college, can you follow the old program requirements or do you have to follow the current requirements?

If your break from Honolulu community college has been less than one year, you can follow the old requirements. If your break has been one year or more, see an academic counselor.

15. After earning the associate degree in OESM, can you continue for a bachelor's degree at a university?

University of Hawaiʻi at West Oʻahu accepts OESM courses toward their bachelor's degree. Go to the OESM website then to Links for further information.

16. Is there an OESM student club?

There is an ASSE (American Society of Safety Engineers) Student Section which you can join as an OESM student. The Student Section works closely with the Hawaiʻi Chapter of the ASSE. Contact the OESM Program Liaison or Academic Counselor for more information.

Past activities in 2010-2011 of the Student Section include the Matson-Honolulu CC Clean-up Project (raising $1000 for the Section), Kalihi Sunset in the Park, membership meeting on potential job opportunities and the Pacific Rim Health and Safety Conference.

17. Are there OESM scholarships?

The ASSE Hawaiʻi Chapter offers three to four $500 scholarships annually during the spring semester.