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Become An Environmental Health Specialist

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Working As An Environmental Health Specialist

  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards
  • Getting Information
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Training and Teaching Others
  • $63,000

    Average Salary

What Does An Environmental Health Specialist Do

Occupational health and safety specialists analyze many types of work environments and work procedures. Specialists inspect workplaces for adherence to regulations on safety, health, and the environment. They also design programs to prevent disease or injury to workers and damage to the environment.

Duties

Occupational health and safety specialists typically do the following:

  • Identify hazards in the workplace
  • Collect samples of potentially toxic materials for analysis
  • Inspect and evaluate workplace environments, equipment, and practices for compliance with corporate and government health and safety standards and regulations
  • Design and implement workplace processes and procedures that help protect workers from hazardous work conditions
  • Investigate accidents and incidents to identify their causes and to determine how they might be prevented
  • Conduct training on a variety of topics, such as emergency preparedness

Occupational health and safety specialists examine the workplace for environmental or physical factors that could affect employee health, safety, comfort, and performance. They may examine factors such as lighting, equipment, materials, and ventilation. Specialists seek to increase worker productivity by reducing absenteeism and equipment downtime. They also seek to save money by lowering insurance premiums and workers’ compensation payments and by preventing government fines.

Some specialists develop and conduct employee safety and training programs. These programs cover a range of topics, such as how to use safety equipment correctly and how to respond in an emergency.

In addition to protecting workers, specialists work to prevent harm to property, the environment, and the public by inspecting workplaces for chemical, physical, radiological, and biological hazards. Specialists who work for governments conduct safety inspections and can impose fines.

Occupational health and safety specialists work with engineers and physicians to control or fix hazardous conditions or equipment. They also work closely with occupational health and safety technicians to collect and analyze data in the workplace. 

The tasks of occupational health and safety specialists vary by industry, workplace, and types of hazards affecting employees. The following are examples of types of occupational health and safety specialists:

Ergonomists consider the design of industrial, office, and other equipment to maximize workers’ comfort, safety, and productivity.

Industrial or occupational hygienists identify workplace health hazards, such as lead, asbestos, noise, pesticides, and communicable diseases.

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How To Become An Environmental Health Specialist

Occupational health and safety specialists typically need a bachelor’s degree in occupational health and safety or in a related scientific or technical field.

Education

Occupational health and safety specialists typically need a bachelor’s degree in occupational health and safety or in a related scientific or technical field, such as engineering, biology, or chemistry. For some positions, a master’s degree in industrial hygiene, health physics, or a related subject is required.

Typical courses include radiation science, hazardous material management and control, risk communications, and respiratory protection. These courses may vary with the specialty in which a student wants to work. For example, courses in health physics focus on topics that differ from those in industrial hygiene.

High school students interested in becoming occupational health and safety specialists should take courses in English, math, chemistry, biology, and physics.

Important Qualities

Ability to use technology. Occupational health and safety specialists must be able to use advanced technology. They often work with complex testing equipment.

Communication skills. Occupational health and safety specialists must be able to communicate safety instructions and concerns to employees and managers. They need to be able to work with technicians to collect and test samples of possible hazards, such as dust or vapors, in the workplace.

Detail oriented. Occupational health and safety specialists need to understand and follow safety standards and complex government regulations.

Physical stamina. Occupational health and safety specialists must be able to stand for long periods and be able to travel regularly. Some specialists work in environments that can be uncomfortable, such as tunnels or mines.

Problem-solving skills. Occupational health and safety specialists must be able to solve problems in order to design and implement workplace processes and procedures that help protect workers from hazardous work conditions.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Although certification is voluntary, many employers encourage it. Certification is available through several organizations, depending on the field in which the specialists work. Specialists must have graduated from an accredited educational program and have work experience to be eligible to take most certification exams. To keep their certification, specialists usually are required to complete periodic continuing education.

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Environmental Health Specialist Career Paths

Environmental Health Specialist
Environmental Manager Environmental Services Director Area Manager
Area Operations Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Environmental Safety Specialist Safety Coordinator Auditor
Audit Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Safety Supervisor Maintenance Supervisor Service Manager
Client Services Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Safety Engineer Safety Specialist Compliance Specialist
Compliance Program Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Safety Director Sales Manager Team Manager
Group Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Safety Specialist Safety Manager
Human Resources Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Environmental Specialist Environmental Scientist Scientist
Laboratory Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Operations Manager Operations Project Manager Regional Project Manager
National Project Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Safety Consultant Safety Manager Human Resources Manager
Plant Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Safety Specialist Safety Supervisor Operations Manager
President/Chief Executive Officer
11 Yearsyrs
Safety Engineer Project Engineer Senior Process Engineer
Process Engineering Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Safety Supervisor Operations Manager Human Resources Generalist
Recruitment Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Safety Manager Human Resources Manager General Manager
Regional Director
9 Yearsyrs
Environmental Health Safety Manager Compliance Manager Regulatory Compliance Manager
Regulatory Affairs Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Safety Director Service Manager Food Service Director
Resource Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Environmental Health Safety Manager Human Resources Manager Senior Manager
Senior Operations Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Safety Manager General Manager Service Advisor
Service Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Specialist Maintenance Technician Maintenance Superintendent
Service Superintendent
8 Yearsyrs
Safety Consultant Safety Supervisor Operations Manager
Site Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Environmental Specialist Project Manager Program Manager
Supply Chain Manager
10 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as an Environmental Health Specialist?

Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
EHS Specialist 3.3 years
Safety Specialist 3.0 years
Top Careers Before Environmental Health Specialist
Internship 13.8%
Sanitarian 4.8%
Volunteer 3.3%
Technician 3.1%
Top Careers After Environmental Health Specialist
Consultant 5.7%
Manager 3.0%
Specialist 2.9%

Do you work as an Environmental Health Specialist?

Environmental Health Specialist Demographics

Gender

Male

61.0%

Female

37.5%

Unknown

1.6%
Ethnicity

White

61.6%

Hispanic or Latino

15.2%

Black or African American

11.2%

Asian

7.9%

Unknown

4.2%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

60.8%

French

6.3%

Portuguese

5.1%

Arabic

3.8%

Vietnamese

2.5%

Hindi

2.5%

Dakota

2.5%

Hungarian

1.3%

Chinese

1.3%

Mandarin

1.3%

Greek

1.3%

Hebrew

1.3%

Malay

1.3%

Urdu

1.3%

Carrier

1.3%

Armenian

1.3%

Polish

1.3%

Italian

1.3%

Finnish

1.3%

Thai

1.3%
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Environmental Health Specialist Education

Schools

Columbia Southern University

16.6%

Eastern Kentucky University

7.9%

University of Phoenix

7.2%

Old Dominion University

5.3%

Ball State University

5.3%

Indiana State University

5.3%

University of South Florida

4.9%

Keene State College

4.5%

University of Florida

4.5%

Murray State University

4.2%

San Jose State University

3.8%

University of Findlay

3.8%

San Diego State University

3.8%

University of Georgia

3.8%

Arizona State University

3.4%

Walden University

3.4%

Western Carolina University

3.4%

University of Central Missouri

3.0%

University of North Carolina at Greensboro

3.0%

West Virginia University

3.0%
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Majors

Public Health

24.1%

Environmental Science

13.6%

Biology

10.3%

Business

8.8%

Environmental Control Technologies/Technicians

7.1%

Occupational Safety And Health

6.4%

Management

5.0%

Nursing

3.1%

Ecology, Population Biology, And Epidemiology

2.6%

Chemistry

2.3%

Health Care Administration

2.2%

Health Sciences And Services

2.1%

Geology

2.1%

Education

1.7%

Criminal Justice

1.6%

General Education, Specific Areas

1.6%

Biochemistry, Biophysics, Molecular Biology

1.4%

Health Education

1.4%

Microbiology

1.3%

Fire Science And Protection

1.2%
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Degrees

Bachelors

47.0%

Masters

31.7%

Other

10.2%

Associate

4.4%

Certificate

3.5%

Doctorate

2.6%

Diploma

0.5%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

AVERAGE SALARY FOR An Environmental Health Specialist

Average Yearly Salary
$63,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$46,000
Min 10%
$63,000
Median 50%
$63,000
Median 50%
$63,000
Median 50%
$63,000
Median 50%
$63,000
Median 50%
$63,000
Median 50%
$63,000
Median 50%
$86,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
DiaSorin Inc
Highest Paying City
Santa Rosa, CA
Highest Paying State
Texas
Avg Experience Level
3.7 years
How much does an Environmental Health Specialist make at top companies?
The national average salary for an Environmental Health Specialist in the United States is $63,609 per year or $31 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $46,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $86,000.

How Would You Rate The Salary Of an Environmental Health Specialist?

Have you worked as an Environmental Health Specialist? Help other job seekers by rating your experience as an Environmental Health Specialist.

Top Skills for An Environmental Health Specialist

  1. Ensure Compliance
  2. Safety Training
  3. Environmental Health
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Conduct audits and inspections of company facilities and recommended required corrective action to ensure compliance with regulatory agency requirements.
  • Designed and implemented job specific employee safety training and education programs for diverse jobs descriptions.
  • Acquired broad general environmental health experience conducting routine compliance audits of retail food and recreational health facilities.
  • Reviewed and designed Standard Operating Procedures, conducted regulatory inspections and equipment safety evaluations.
  • Institute environmentally friendly acquisition, assess handling and storage of hazardous materials, and develop other environmental programs as required.

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Top 10 Best States for Environmental Health Specialists

  1. Alaska
  2. North Dakota
  3. Rhode Island
  4. West Virginia
  5. Wyoming
  6. California
  7. Massachusetts
  8. Connecticut
  9. Tennessee
  10. District of Columbia
  • (36 jobs)
  • (34 jobs)
  • (31 jobs)
  • (47 jobs)
  • (17 jobs)
  • (865 jobs)
  • (235 jobs)
  • (74 jobs)
  • (131 jobs)
  • (55 jobs)

Top Environmental Health Specialist Employers

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Jobs From Top Environmental Health Specialist Employers

Environmental Health Specialist Videos

What Can You Do with Public Health Degree

Career Advice on becoming a Health and Safety Manager by Hamish B (Full Version)

A Day in the Life :: Environmental Health

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