Health Inspection Careers: Information and Requirements

Oct 20, 2021

Health inspectors typically have at least a bachelor's degree in occupational health, public health or a related field, but may also complete a master's degree in an area of specialization. They can work in many types of businesses and industries, and need a complete understanding of the health regulations pertaining to their field.

Essential Information

Health inspection professionals use their expertise to safeguard the health and wellness of the general public and company employees. An undergraduate degree in a basic science- or health-related field, such as biology, occupational health, engineering, physics or public health, is usually required for this career.

Required Education Bachelor's or master's degree
Certification Voluntary
Projected Job Growth (2019-2029)* 4% (for occupational health & safety specialists)
Median Annual Salary (May 2020)* $76,340 (for occupational health & safety specialists)

Source: *United States Bureau of Labor Statistics

Health Inspection Career Information

A career in health inspection may exist wherever risks of injury and illness are present. Health inspection professionals may be found working for the government, insurance companies, hospitals, schools or non-profit organizations. They may work for government agencies as environmental health specialists inspecting water systems or as food safety inspectors evaluating restaurants and food establishments. Careers may also be available evaluating the hazards at work sites with manufacturing, production and construction companies. Consulting companies may also employ health inspection professionals to work with various types of clientele.

As part of their duties, health inspection professionals do not only perform inspections, but are in charge of recordkeeping and ensuring the compliance of applicable health laws, and better health and safety practices. Professionals may also conduct research on health hazards for government agencies and organizations or use their skills to teach others in an academic setting or the workplace.

Health Inspection Career Requirements

A career in health inspection usually requires at least a bachelor's degree in a relevant field, such as occupational health, public health, biology, chemistry, physics or engineering. More advanced positions may require a graduate degree in a specialty, such as health physics or industrial hygiene. Knowledge of applicable laws and regulations pertaining to a professional's specialty area must also be obtained either in the classroom or on the job.

Depending on the specialty, a health inspection professional may want to consider gaining certification to increase job opportunities. The Board of Certified Safety Professionals offers many certification options, including the Construction Health and Safety Technician (CHST) and the Occupational Health and Safety Technologist (OHST) credentials. The American Board of Industrial Hygiene offers the Certified Industrial Hygienist (CIH) designation.

Salary and Employment Outlook

An average employment growth of four percent was projected for occupational health and safety specialists over the 2019-2029 decade, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The BLS reported that the median annual salary of this group of workers was $76,340 as of May 2020.

Health inspectors may be employed by schools, non-profit organizations, the government or insurance companies. Their duties can vary from reviewing restaurants for food safety or checking water systems with the goal of ensuring the safety and health of employees and the public. They need a college degree, and many hold professional certification.

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