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Become An Industrial Hygienist

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Working As An Industrial Hygienist

  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards
  • Getting Information
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Training and Teaching Others
  • $81,050

    Average Salary

What Does An Industrial Hygienist 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 Industrial Hygienist

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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Industrial Hygienist Jobs

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Industrial Hygienist Career Paths

Industrial Hygienist
Health Specialist Program Coordinator Clinical Supervisor
Clinical Operations Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Safety Manager Human Resources Manager
Director Of Human Resources
10 Yearsyrs
Safety Engineer Safety Supervisor Operations Manager
Division Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Safety Consultant Engineer Environmental Engineer
Environmental Compliance Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Environmental Health Safety Manager Health And Safety Manager
Environmental Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Safety Consultant Health And Safety Coordinator Environmental Specialist
Environmental Project Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Research And Development Technician Service Technician Field Supervisor
Field Operation Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Safety Officer Program Manager Clinical Director
Health Director
9 Yearsyrs
Project Manager General Manager Maintenance Technician
Maintenance Director
11 Yearsyrs
Safety Director Maintenance Director Environmental Services Supervisor
Manager Of Environmental Services
9 Yearsyrs
Safety Manager General Manager
Operations Director
9 Yearsyrs
Safety Specialist Safety Manager
Project Safety Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Health Specialist Safety Specialist Compliance Specialist
Regulatory Compliance Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Environmental Health Safety Manager Safety Director Risk Manager
Risk Management Director
7 Yearsyrs
Health And Safety Manager Safety Director
Risk Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Safety Engineer Safety Manager
Safety And Training Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Safety Officer Safety Coordinator
Safety Consultant
10 Yearsyrs
Safety Supervisor Maintenance Supervisor Security Officer
Security Director
10 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Construction Manager Operations Manager
Site Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Safety Specialist Safety Supervisor Operations Manager
Terminal Manager
9 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as an Industrial Hygienist?

Industrial Hygienist Demographics

Gender

Male

70.0%

Female

27.2%

Unknown

2.8%
Ethnicity

White

62.6%

Hispanic or Latino

13.9%

Black or African American

11.2%

Asian

8.0%

Unknown

4.3%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

52.4%

French

9.5%

German

7.9%

Portuguese

6.3%

Arabic

3.2%

Italian

3.2%

Czech

1.6%

Chinese

1.6%

Vietnamese

1.6%

Romanian

1.6%

Armenian

1.6%

Japanese

1.6%

Urdu

1.6%

Hindi

1.6%

Russian

1.6%

Danish

1.6%

Korean

1.6%
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Industrial Hygienist Education

Schools

Columbia Southern University

12.3%

Montana Tech of the University of Montana

10.7%

Utah State University

7.7%

University of Utah

6.5%

Tulane University

6.1%

University of Central Missouri

6.1%

West Virginia University

5.7%

Eastern Kentucky University

5.0%

Murray State University

4.6%

University of Alabama at Birmingham

4.6%

School of Health

3.8%

University of Houston

3.4%

Wayne State University

3.1%

University of Cincinnati

3.1%

Texas A&M University

3.1%

Indiana University of Pennsylvania

3.1%

Purdue University

3.1%

Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania

2.7%

University of North Alabama

2.7%

Illinois State University

2.7%
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Majors

Public Health

37.9%

Environmental Science

12.8%

Biology

6.1%

Occupational Safety And Health

5.7%

Environmental Control Technologies/Technicians

5.2%

Chemistry

4.8%

Business

4.5%

Nursing

3.4%

Management

3.3%

Geology

3.2%

Industrial Technology

2.6%

Health Sciences And Services

1.9%

Homeland Security

1.3%

Engineering

1.1%

Pharmacology

1.1%

Microbiology

1.0%

Chemical Engineering

1.0%

Law

1.0%

Environmental Engineering

1.0%

Civil Engineering

0.9%
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Degrees

Masters

42.9%

Bachelors

34.1%

Other

11.6%

Associate

3.9%

Doctorate

3.9%

Certificate

3.4%

Diploma

0.1%
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Real Industrial Hygienist Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
SR Industrial Hygienist BP America Inc. Blaine, WA Dec 15, 2011 $101,150
Senior Industrial Higienist Hp Environmental, Inc. Herndon, VA May 10, 2015 $96,200
Industrial Hygienist Vintage Pharmaceuticals LLC D/B/A Qualitest Pharmaceuticals Huntsville, AL Sep 14, 2015 $85,634
Industrial Hygienist Vintage Pharmaceuticals LLC Huntsville, AL Mar 24, 2016 $78,312
Industrial Hygienist Vintage Pharmaceuticals LLC Huntsville, AL Aug 10, 2015 $78,312
Industrial Hygienist Vintage Pharmaceuticals LLC Huntsville, AL Oct 16, 2015 $78,312
Industrial Hygienist Vintage Pharmaceuticals LLC Huntsville, AL Oct 01, 2015 $78,214
Industrial Hygienist II The Sherwin-Williams Company Cleveland, OH Oct 26, 2015 $76,000 -
$96,000
Industrial Hygienist II Freeport-McMoran Morenci Inc. Morenci, AZ Apr 01, 2015 $72,176
Associate Industrial Hygienist, North America Manufacturing General Motors Company Warren, MI Aug 16, 2016 $72,000
Industrial Hygienist Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory Berkeley, CA Apr 06, 2015 $72,000
Industrial Hygienist-I KCI Technologies, Inc. MD Jul 30, 2013 $64,438
Industrial Hygienist Health Science Associates Los Alamitos, CA Nov 29, 2016 $61,200
Industrial Hygienist Health Science Associates, Inc. Los Alamitos, CA Jun 03, 2014 $58,800
Industrial Hygienist I Freeport-McMoran Corporation Safford, AZ Sep 04, 2012 $57,000
Industrial Hygienist KCI Technologies, Inc. MD Jul 31, 2010 $54,080
Industrial Hygienist R. Sterling & Associates, Inc. Milpitas, CA Oct 01, 2011 $54,000
Industrial Hygienist Health Science Associates Los Alamitos, CA Sep 29, 2010 $53,580
Industrial Hygienist Ellis Environmental Management, Inc. Rancho Palos Verdes, CA Oct 01, 2014 $53,000
Staff Industrial Hygienist Sandler Occupational Medicine Associates, Inc. Gaithersburg, MD Oct 01, 2011 $50,489
Staff Industrial Hygienist Sandler Occupational Medicine Associates, Inc. Gaithersburg, MD Oct 01, 2011 $50,409
Industrial Hygienist Dominion Environmnetal Consultants, Inc. Phoenix, AZ Jan 18, 2010 $50,000
Industrial Hygienist Dominion Environmental Consultants, Inc. Phoenix, AZ Apr 01, 2010 $50,000

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Top Skills for An Industrial Hygienist

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  1. Safety Standards
  2. Hygiene Program
  3. Compliance
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Conduct periodic reviews/updates of industrial hygiene related safety standards.
  • Developed, designed and successfully implemented a global industrial hygiene program affecting 62 facilities worldwide.
  • Program management included revision and implementation of components including writing programs, re-training of employees and compliance audits.
  • Performed on-site monitoring of asbestos abatement projects and conducted asbestos, lead base paint inspections, construction oversight.
  • Major work included managing asbestos abatement, performing exposure assessments, ventilation measurements, and training.

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Top Industrial Hygienist Employers

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Jobs From Top Industrial Hygienist Employers

Industrial Hygienist Videos

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

Career Advice on becoming a Manufacturing Engineer by Lloyd M (Full Version)

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