Career Definition for an Environmental Health Administrator
Environmental health administrators may work in the health and safety units of private corporations, governmental health agencies, environmental consulting companies or nonprofit health agencies. Environmental health administrators work with both employers and employees to minimize accidents and hazards by monitoring the workplace, designing and conducting safety and educational seminars and investigating complaints. They may develop regulations and operating procedures and implement long-term programs to reduce or eliminate environmental hazards. These administrators may inspect workplaces and can renew or revoke licenses due to noncompliance, according to the Academic Health Environmental Programs.
|Required Education||A bachelor's degree in environmental science or a related field|
|Job Duties||Include minimizing accidents and hazards by monitoring the workplace; designing and conducting safety and educational seminars|
|Median Salary (2015)*||$67,460 (all environmental scientists and specialists, including health)|
|Job Outlook (2014-2024)*||11% growth (all environmental scientists and specialists, including health)|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
A 4-year degree in environmental science or a related field is required. Environmental science students typically study epidemiology, toxicology, air quality, global environmental health and occupational health and safety enforcement. Students learn to test water and air quality for potential hazards and acquire risk assessment skills to determine what, if any, precautions should be taken. They also study public policy and institutional health as it relates to the environment.
Some federal jobs and licenses mandate graduation from a program accredited by the National Environmental Health Science and Protection Accreditation Council (EHAC).
Environmental health administrators should have an interest in the environment and its effects on people, in addition to a strong interest in public policy and regulation. They should also have an aptitude for analysis, skills in interpreting data and a desire to promote health education.
Career and Economic Outlook
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), environmental scientists and specialists, including administrators, earned a median annual salary of $67,460 in May 2015. The Association of Environmental Health Programs reports that there is a national shortage of trained environmental health professionals at the same time there are increasing environmental threats, such as E-coli outbreaks and West Nile Virus. The BLS projects that employment for environmental scientists and specialists will increase at a faster-than-average rate of 11% from 2014 to 2024.
Alternative Career Options
Here are some examples of alternative career options:
Environmental Science Technician
Those interested in a career in environmental health, but prefer hands-on work, may be interested in working as an environmental science or protection technician. These workers are supervised by environmental health specialists and conduct inspections and tests on air and water quality. An associate's degree in environmental health or science is generally the minimum requirement for this career. The median salary for workers in this field was $43,030 as of May 2015, according to the BLS. The BLS projects that jobs for environmental science and protection technicians will increase by 9%, which will result in an additional 3,400 jobs, from 2014 to 2024.
Like environmental health administrators, environmental engineers are concerned with environmental problems, but engineers work on the solutions to these problems, while administrators assess the potential for environmental health problems. Environmental engineers work to find ways to reduce water and air pollution and to clean up polluted sites through engineering. A bachelor's degree is the minimum education requirement for environmental engineers, but many complete master's degrees. A professional engineer (PE) license may be required for some positions. Licensure requires completing an ABET-accredited education program, gaining experience and passing a PE exam. In May 2015, the BLS reported that the median annual salary for environmental engineers was $84,560. Jobs for environmental engineers are projected to increase by 12%, which is a faster-than-average rate, from 2014 to 2024, according to the BLS.