As interest in the earth and the affects of products on human health become of increasing concern, the question of how to become an environmental health professional frequently arises. This profession allows people to be on the forefront of the latest health concerns and be a true asset to their community. They work to protect society from potential threats that develop from the natural and created environment. It is a career that would be of interest to those interested in health and science, medicine, and helping others.
What do Environmental Health Professionals Do?
An environmental health professional is a person who evaluates the influence of the natural and man-made environment on health. They can be involved with sanitation departments, inspection offices, work as industrial hygienists, health physicists or one of many other professions. They study health hazards and how to protect people. As an example, the may assist with the removal of asbestos, limiting the effects of radiation, or the testing and monitoring of drinking water. Environmental health professionals may go by a variety of titles, but they are all involved in ensuring that the world remains as safe and healthy as possible for this generation and those to come.
How Does One Become an Environmental Health Professional?
To be an environmental health professional, a person must begin by earning a bachelor’s degree, preferably in a hard science, such as biology, chemistry, or engineering. There are also many schools that offer specifically tailored environmental science and health majors or courses, which should also be taken advantage of.
Once the bachelor’s degree is completed, the student should continue their education through certifications, such as Certified Safety Professional, certified industrial hygienist, or certified health physicist. Many of these certifications also require a few years work experience, so look for entry level jobs. Certifications help people become more specialized with the area of environmental health they would most like to work with. Most certifications require exams and applicable degrees. For example, the Certified Safety Professional requires a four year degree or a two year environmental specialty degree, three years of work experience related to environmental safety, and the passing of two exams related to safety.
For those who would like to proceed to higher levels within this chosen career, consider pursuing a master’s or doctorate degree. More specialized programs at the graduate level are available throughout the United States, and will teach students more in-depth about health and safety concerns and the hard sciences behind understanding the environment. This, coupled with experience, should prepare interested parties for management level positions in the field of environmental health.
Technology is taking the world to entirely new place. The capacity exists to do things that were only dreams just twenty years ago. Unfortunately, it can be impossible to predict the side effects that are going to emerge with these advancements. It is up to people like environmental health professionals to make sure our world remains safe. Hopefully this offered some guidance on how to become an environmental health professional.