OSHA 10 vs. OSHA 30: Which Certification Is Right for You?

Category: Jobsite | By Cristina Johnson | 10 minute read | Updated Apr 4, 2023
OSHA 10 vs. OSHA 30

If you are in the construction and trades industry, you may have heard of a DOL Card.  This is a wallet card issued by the Department of Labor that verifies you’ve completed training through the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA): either the OSHA 10 or OSHA 30 certification. But which certification is right for you? And is it required?

This post covers OSHA 10 and OSHA 30 certifications and explains the differences so that you can choose the right training program for your career goals. 

OSHA Outreach Program Training

The OSHA Outreach Program was designed to provide training to people in the workforce, including high-risk industries such as construction and trades. Initially, training was offered by OSHA and local OSHA offices. However, it has been expanded over the years, allowing trainers to become qualified to provide these certification courses.

These trainers must meet certain criteria for safety and training to become authorized OSHA Outreach Trainers. They provide training for “workers in construction, general industry, maritime, and 15-hour classes for disaster site workers.”

The most common outreach training programs for 2022 included:

  1. Construction 10-Hour (42%)
  2. General Industry 10-Hour (25.6%)
  3. Construction 30-Hour (23.5%)
  4. General Industry 30-Hour (4.5%)
  5. Maritime (1.5%)
  6. Disaster Site Worker (0.2%)

Additional training in electrical applications is available, as well, and there are thousands of trainers across the country, providing training in both English and Spanish, with online training options available.

Training facilities are able to establish unique courses based on the particular industry or audience they seek to train, but specific attention is focused on safety compliance. All training includes mandatory topics required by OSHA; elective topics selected from an OSHA-provided list by the training facility, and optional topics which can be used to supplement mandatory or elective topics.

Training is often provided online and allows trainees to listen to lectures, watch videos, participate in group discussions, and even play games to learn the material.

This is why you need to research different training facilities, to determine the one that is best suited to your unique career goals and job requirements.

What is OSHA 10?

OSHA 10 is a 10-hour training course, for entry-level workers to learn the basics of workplace safety and health, based on OSHA requirements. Once the course is completed, trainees are issued an OSHA-10 DOL card, verifying their training.

What is Included in OSHA 10 Training?

The OSHA 10 training course is intended to provide general information and training around safety and health hazards in construction and industry. Topics may include:

  1. Introduction to OSHA and the OSH Act
  2. General safety and health provisions
  3. Hazard communication
  4. Walking and working surfaces
  5. Electrical safety
  6. Personal protective equipment (PPE)
  7. Material handling
  8. Machine guarding
  9. Bloodborne pathogens
  10. Ergonomics

Since each training facility is able to create its own curriculum based on who they are training, these topics may vary. 

Free Construction Safety Checklist

What is OSHA 30?

OSHA 30 is a 30-hour training course intended for managers, supervisors, leaders, or other individuals responsible for upholding safety on the job. 

What Is Included in This Training?

This training covers the same topics as OSHA 10 but expands to cover additional topics such as:

  1. Hazard recognition and identification
  2. Fire protection and prevention
  3. Confined spaces
  4. Electrical safety for supervisors
  5. Fall protection
  6. Excavations and trenches
  7. Welding, cutting, and brazing
  8. Industrial hygiene
  9. Safety program development and implementation
  10. Recordkeeping and reporting

As with OSHA 10, trainers can choose different elective topics and optional topics, that enhance the training to suit the needs of their trainees.

The Main Difference: OSHA 10 vs. 30

Both OSHA 10 and OSHA 30 are training programs intended for construction and industry training. Aside from one being 10 hours and the other being 30, the greatest difference between them is who they’re for.

OSHA 10 is intended for entry-level individuals who are just beginning their journey into construction and trades. On the other hand, OSHA 30 is an enhanced training that takes longer and covers a larger variety of health and safety issues, as well as other topics geared towards management and/or leadership.

Should You Get OSHA 10 or OSHA 30?

If you are just starting out in construction, trades, or general industry, OSHA 10 is a great place to start. By learning the basics of workplace safety and understanding OSHA safety violations, you will be better prepared to begin your journey into these exciting careers.

If you are seeking to advance your career in these fields, chances are you’re already familiar with the information covered in OSHA 10 so OSHA 30 would be a more beneficial certification to obtain. 

OSHA 10 vs OSHA 30: The Choice is Yours

Whether you are just starting out or seeking to advance your career, getting an OSHA certification in safety is a good step towards staying safe on the job and proving your commitment to your employer and any future employers, making you a valuable asset to any high-risk industry.

Some states require at least one of these certifications, so it can’t hurt to seek at least one of them. The resulting DOL wallet card you receive will serve as validation that you take workplace safety seriously, and that you have a clear understanding of how important it is, what to look for, and how to deal with violations.


What Is the Validity Period for OSHA 10 and 30 Certifications?

While there is no expiration date for these certifications, trainers must regularly re-train to stay eligible to provide training. Additionally, if you lose your DOL wallet card, you can request another one from your trainer. However, you won’t be able to do so if it is over five years old.

Can You Take Both OSHA 10 and OSHA 30 Certifications?

Yes and no. You can take both certifications but not at the same time. Your 10-hour training will not count towards the 30-hour course. Ideally, taking both certifications only serves to enhance your career and knowledge.

Is OSHA Certification Mandatory?

While it is not required by OSHA or the DOL, some states do have requirements, most for construction companies and those performing public projects with particular financial attributes:

  • Connecticut
  • Florida
  • Massachusetts
  • Missouri
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • New York
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • West Virginia

What Happens if You Fail the OSHA Certification Exam?

You will be allowed three attempts to pass the final exam of either of these trainings. If you fail the final exam the third time, you will need to retake the course.

How Much Does It Cost to Renew OSHA Certification?

The cost of these certifications will vary depending on the training facility you use, location, and the different formats (such as online or in-person). The average cost of OSHA 10 certification ranges from $50 to $200. OSHA 30 courses range from $150 to $800.  

It is also sometimes possible to get group or military discounts.

How Often Do You Need to Renew OSHA Certification?

OSHA 10 and OSHA 30 certifications do not expire, but it’s recommended to retake the training every 4 to 5 years.

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