How to Become a Health Inspector

How to Become a Health Inspector

Every day millions of people visit a variety of public places and these places must meet health standards to ensure the health and safety of people visiting and working in the environments. Health inspectors evaluate public places and ensure they are abiding by all health standards.

What does a health inspector do?

Health inspectors are public employees that inspect a variety of public places such as restaurants, swimming pools, schools, nursing homes, tattoo parlors, beauty salons, and many other environments. They make sure the sanitary and health standards are met and prevent harm to the general public, workers, the environment, and the property. They investigate health hazards and take actions to improve or eliminate the hazards. They respond to public complaints and other health concerns. They often impose fines to establishments that are not meeting health codes. They also inform management of the violations and provide advice for improvements. They often suggest health and safety programs and provide training on how to identify hazards and on new policies and regulations.

Health inspectors also design programs and work environments to help prevent, control, and remove injury or disease. They look for potential hazards and work to develop more ergonomic equipment. They also test the quality of the air and surrounding environment.

What kind of training does a health inspector need?

Health inspectors typically need an associate or bachelor degree in occupational health, safety, public health, environmental health, or other related area. Some positions require a master degree in industrial hygiene or related field. Health inspectors also learn inspection procedures and applicable laws through on the job training.

Some states require health inspectors to be licensed. Voluntary certifications are offered through many organizations such as the American Board of Industrial Hygiene (ABIH) or Board of Certified Safety Professionals (BCSP). Certification requirements often include an associate or bachelor degree and passing a written examination. Health inspectors with certification must complete continuing education and become recertified every few years.

What are the prospects for a career as a health inspector?

Employment of health inspectors is expected to grow about as fast as average for all professions, increasing 9% from 2006 to 2016 (1). The increasing public demand for healthy and safe environments will drive job growth.

Job prospects are projected to be good especially for health inspectors with advanced education and extensive experience. Job openings will also arise from the need to replace health inspectors that leave the occupation.

How much do health inspectors make?

As of September 2009, the middle 50% of health inspectors earned annual salaries between $33,640 and $56,066. The highest 10% earned annual salaries of more than $66,275 (2).

A career as a health inspector is a great choice for people interested in ensuring the health and safety of work environments. Health inspectors must be responsible and detail oriented. They must have good communication and interpersonal skills and effectively discuss their reports and give directions for improvement.

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