Health inspectors investigate various health-related conditions within homes or businesses. They observe working conditions and environments to ensure that employees are working comfortably and safely.
Health inspectors enforce and evaluate workplace safety and health codes and laws. Most health inspectors hold a bachelor's degree and complete on-the-job training. Additional licensing and certification are recommended for specialization and advancement.
|Required Education||Varies by credential; usually, completion of an accredited educational program is required|
|Required Experience||Varies by credential; a certain amount of work experience is typically required|
|Exam Requirements||Passing a computer-based exam|
|Licensure||License options vary by state, usually overseen by the state Department of Health|
|Certification||CHST (Construction Health and Safety Technician) and OHST (Occupational Health and Safety Technologist) certifications, among others|
Source: *United States Bureau of Labor Statistics
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How Does a Health Inspector Become Licensed and Credentialed?
Health inspectors evaluate, enforce and inspect work environments, homes, or outside environments to test for compliance with laws and regulations in place regarding public health. Health inspectors can be employed by the government or private organizations. In order to become a health inspector, candidates must earn a bachelor's degree in biological or physical science, public health, or environmental health field.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), all occupational health and safety specialists earn a mean annual income of $71,790, as of May 2015. Employment is expected to increase during the coming decade at a slower-than-average rate, with a 4% rise in jobs projected from 2014 to 2024 (www.bls.gov).
Prospective health inspectors should contact the Department of Health in the state where they want to be licensed and work to find out about the different types of licenses offered and the requirements for each. Employers may encourage health inspectors to be licensed, for example, as a state department of health registered environmental sanitarian.
Certification as a health inspector may not be necessary for certain jobs, but candidates should investigate the prerequisites of any potential employer. The Council on Certification of Health, Environmental, and Safety Technologists (www.cchest.org) offers certification as a construction health and safety technician (CHST) and occupational health and safety technologists (OHST) which may boost a health inspector's credentials and allow the inspector to compete for a higher salary.
Other organizations, such as the Board of Certified Safety Professionals (www.bcsp.org), provide specialized certifications. While each health and safety organization varies in terms of certification requirements, they all require inspectors to have some type of specialized education and experience and pass an examination.
These professional organizations allow inspectors to keep up with current events and legislation. In addition, organizations provide opportunities to build credentials through continuing education and attend conferences.
Technical and communication skills are important for health inspectors. They work with various detecting equipment and must communicate their findings professionally. A background in biology, chemistry, or physics would be useful, as would courses in hygiene and engineering.