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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
  • $71,000

    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
Safety Specialist Safety Manager
HSE Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Safety Specialist Supervisor Operations Manager
Senior Operations Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Safety Specialist Supervisor Quality Assurance Manager
Director Of Quality
14 Yearsyrs
Safety Manager Owner Maintenance Director
Director Of Plant Operations
13 Yearsyrs
Safety Manager Director Nursing Director
Health Director
9 Yearsyrs
Environmental Health Safety Manager Human Resources Manager Program Director
Quality Assurance Director
11 Yearsyrs
Environmental Health Safety Manager Human Resources Manager Operations Director
Compliance Director
12 Yearsyrs
Environmental Specialist Environmental Scientist Environmental Engineer
Environmental Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Environmental Specialist Supervisor Quality Assurance Manager
Regulatory Affairs Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Safety Consultant Safety Supervisor Field Supervisor
Field Operation Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Safety Supervisor Field Supervisor Security Manager
Security Director
10 Yearsyrs
Environmental Specialist Team Leader Executive Team Leader
Loss Prevention Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Safety Supervisor Owner/Operator Food Service Director
Food Safety Director
8 Yearsyrs
Consultant Senior Associate Senior Auditor
Controls Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Safety Consultant
Loss Control Consultant
10 Yearsyrs
Consultant Adjunct Professor Nurse Manager
Health Services Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Safety Consultant Quality Assurance Manager Compliance Manager
Regulatory Compliance Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Assistant Manager Front Desk Manager Housekeeping Manager
Manager Of Environmental Services
9 Yearsyrs
Consultant Account Manager Corporate Account Manager
Corporate Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Health Specialist Health Coach Utilization Review Nurse
Quality Management Specialist
7 Yearsyrs
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Average Length of Employment
EHS Specialist 3.2 years
Safety Specialist 3.1 years
Top Careers Before Environmental Health Specialist
Internship 14.3%
Sanitarian 4.1%
Manager 3.2%
Volunteer 2.8%
Top Careers After Environmental Health Specialist
Consultant 4.8%
Manager 3.2%
Owner 2.8%

Do you work as an Environmental Health Specialist?

Average Yearly Salary
$71,000
Show Salaries
$56,000
Min 10%
$71,000
Median 50%
$71,000
Median 50%
$71,000
Median 50%
$71,000
Median 50%
$71,000
Median 50%
$71,000
Median 50%
$71,000
Median 50%
$89,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Abbott
Highest Paying City
San Francisco, CA
Highest Paying State
California
Avg Experience Level
3.8 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 $71,351 per year or $34 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $56,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $90,000.

Top Skills for An Environmental Health Specialist

  1. Ensure Compliance
  2. Safety Procedures
  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.
  • Conduct active managerial control interventions with business management to create and implement written food safety procedures and policies.
  • Organized, performed, tracked and reviewed comprehensive environmental health and safety auditing/ inspection program for facility.
  • Institute environmentally friendly acquisition, assess handling and storage of hazardous materials, and develop other environmental programs as required.
  • Transitioned approximately 500 Material Safety Data Sheets to new OSHA required Safety Data Sheets and distributed to appropriate departments.

Rank:

Average Salary:

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Top 10 Best States for Environmental Health Specialists

  1. New Hampshire
  2. West Virginia
  3. Nevada
  4. Louisiana
  5. Massachusetts
  6. Alaska
  7. Mississippi
  8. South Dakota
  9. North Dakota
  10. California
  • (44 jobs)
  • (47 jobs)
  • (39 jobs)
  • (71 jobs)
  • (235 jobs)
  • (36 jobs)
  • (55 jobs)
  • (29 jobs)
  • (34 jobs)
  • (865 jobs)

Environmental Health Specialist Resume Examples And Tips

The average resume reviewer spends between 5 to 7 seconds looking at a single resume, which leaves the average job applier with roughly six seconds to make a killer first impression. Thanks to this, a single typo or error on your resume can disqualify you right out of the gate. At Zippia, we went through over 2,726 Environmental Health Specialist resumes and compiled some information about how best to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

Learn How To Create A Top Notch Environmental Health Specialist Resume

View Resume Examples

Environmental Health Specialist Demographics

Gender

Male

56.2%

Female

35.7%

Unknown

8.0%
Ethnicity

White

61.9%

Hispanic or Latino

14.8%

Black or African American

11.4%

Asian

8.0%

Unknown

4.0%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

62.2%

Portuguese

6.1%

French

5.1%

Hindi

4.1%

Arabic

3.1%

Vietnamese

2.0%

Mandarin

2.0%

Russian

2.0%

Italian

2.0%

Marathi

1.0%

Gujarati

1.0%

Korean

1.0%

Hungarian

1.0%

Igbo

1.0%

Malay

1.0%

Armenian

1.0%

Thai

1.0%

Tamil

1.0%

Finnish

1.0%

Dakota

1.0%
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Environmental Health Specialist Education

Schools

Columbia Southern University

17.9%

University of Phoenix

8.6%

Eastern Kentucky University

6.8%

Indiana State University

5.2%

Keene State College

4.9%

University of Findlay

4.7%

Old Dominion University

4.7%

Ball State University

4.4%

University of Georgia

4.4%

University of South Florida

4.2%

San Jose State University

4.2%

Walden University

3.9%

University of Florida

3.6%

Western Carolina University

3.6%

Murray State University

3.4%

Arizona State University

3.4%

University of North Carolina at Greensboro

3.1%

Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania

3.1%

California State University - Los Angeles

3.1%

Tulane University

2.9%
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Majors

Public Health

24.7%

Environmental Science

13.9%

Biology

10.8%

Business

8.7%

Environmental Control Technologies/Technicians

6.4%

Occupational Safety And Health

5.8%

Management

4.8%

Nursing

3.0%

Health Sciences And Services

2.7%

Chemistry

2.5%

Health Care Administration

2.5%

Ecology, Population Biology, And Epidemiology

2.4%

Geology

2.0%

Education

1.7%

Criminal Justice

1.5%

Fire Science And Protection

1.4%

Biochemistry, Biophysics, Molecular Biology

1.3%

General Education, Specific Areas

1.3%

Environmental Engineering

1.3%

Health Education

1.2%
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Degrees

Bachelors

47.9%

Masters

30.7%

Other

9.7%

Associate

5.0%

Certificate

3.5%

Doctorate

2.6%

Diploma

0.6%

License

0.0%
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Internship
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Top Environmental Health Specialist Employers

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Jobs From Top Environmental Health Specialist Employers

Environmental Health Specialist Videos

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