Public Health Inspector: Job Description, Duties and Salary Info

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a public health inspector. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about degree programs, job duties and certification to find out if this is the career for you.

Public health inspectors check the sanitary conditions of various establishments, making sure they're up to par with health regulations and codes. They make a report of their findings and notify the health department if violations are found. These professionals earn a yearly median salary of $70,210.

Essential Information

The public health inspector is responsible for inspecting certain public establishments, ensuring their accordance with health laws. Inspectors aid in the betterment of the community through consistent reinforcement of health mandates. Prospective health inspectors should pursue a bachelor's degree in occupational health or safety, or a similar field.

Required Education Bachelor's degree in occupational health, safety or similar field
Other Requirements Voluntary certification encouraged
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 4% for all occupational health and safety specialists
Median Annual Salary (2015)* $70,210 for all occupational health and safety specialists

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Job Description for a Public Health Inspector

Public health inspectors examine and inspect public establishments, ensuring each is in compliance with public health regulations and laws. Most of these regulations and laws pertain to the sanitation of the establishment in question, which include hotels and motels, food service establishments, swimming facilities, youth camps, certain housing and health facilities. These regulations help to protect the public against illnesses and other potential health hazards.

According to the New York State Department of Health, a public health inspector typically works under an environmental health professional or a sanitarian. Public health inspectors not only conduct unannounced inspections of establishments, they may also investigate public sanitation complaints (www.health.state.ny.us).

Duties of a Public Health Inspector

Duties include both primary and follow-up inspections of public establishments to ensure compliance with sanitary codes. Inspectors may relay establishment violations to the owner or manager and ensure he or she ameliorates these within an appropriate amount of time.

Inspectors may also be expected to testify at hearings regarding establishment violations utilizing his or her inspection reports. Public health inspectors respond to questions regarding documented violations, prepare detailed reports and maintain inspection records. Additional public health inspector duties may include evaluating data pertaining to the inspection and maintaining correspondence with the organization concerning permits and violations.

Salary Information for a Public Health Inspector

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), as of May 2015, the annual earnings for most occupational health and safety specialists, including public health inspectors, were between $40,890 and $102,980 annually. Many health inspectors work for government agencies at the federal, state or local level. The BLS also lists manufacturing hospitals and companies offering consulting services as potential employers for occupational health and safety specialists.

Public health inspectors will visit indoor and outdoor places to observe and report compliance with health department standards. Those who want to enter this field should aim for a bachelor's degree in occupational health or a similar discipline as most employers demand a college education. Salaries vary by employer, but the median in 2015 was about $70,000 for occupational health and safety specialists.

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