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Top 4 Careers in Environmental Health and Safety

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Top 4 Careers in Environmental Health and Safety

As a whole, environmental health and safety plays a giant role in today’s society. It’s essentially a science that works with human injury and illness prevention and attempts to increase the standards of living for humans in their respective fields.

Essentially, the study of environmental health and safety from a career perspective focuses on identifying and analyzing environments and the hazardous agents within them while protecting others from the harmful effects of these potential exposures.

Typically to begin in this career path you will need an Environmental Health Science degree to get your foot in the door and there is a wide variety of options available to you if you are to achieve one. There may be some differences in what they are as a whole, but they do have similarities that overlap.

Food Safety Inspector

Inspectors are the first line of defense, protecting consumers from diseased and spoiled foods. As this first line of defense, they are responsible for applying, interpreting, and explaining food product standards, they also inspect the quality of products that come in.

Without food safety inspectors, we would be missing a large portion of our population due to foodborne illnesses. But also being an actual inspector is harder than it looks on the surface. You’ll actually be out in the field in industrial environments both indoors and outdoors, high and low temperatures, and long days on your feet. All whilst maintaining excellent attention to detail, because in this industry, details matter.

One of the most common places to hire food safety inspectors is actually private commercial slaughter plants and farms. But honestly, the United States government takes the cake for this one. The United States Department of Agriculture is one of the primary employers of inspectors in general, they protect the people from hazardous foods and waste entering the public.

Now, you might be vibing with this career after reading this, just wait until I tell you the salary. The salary for this position is an average of $48,924 annually, with a steadily increasing career growth rate of 5% meaning, there will need to be more of these in the world.

Environmental Health and Safety Specialist

An Environmental Health and Safety Specialist (EHS) protects the environment and the public from each other. You find issues, make sure regulations are followed, and check for hazards on both ends of the spectrum. In many cases, you’ll be working tightly with safety policies in an attempt to strengthen their resolve and effectiveness, from there, you can suggest positive changes that may make a difference to maximize the safety and health of the public and the environment.


But this job, unlike the last one, has some potential for huge money to be made. On average, people in this position bring in $78,000 annually with a 6% growth rate. The most common companies to hire Environmental Health and Safety Specialists are construction and manufacturing companies.

OSHA Inspector

OSHA typically hires inspectors through the Department of Labor to conduct inspections on both private and public facilities for compliance with federal laws. The types of jobs vary immensely, from dealing with chemicals to dealing with office environments, but typically in this expertise there are three specific career paths.


The three paths of OSHA are safety engineers, safety and occupational health specialists, and industrial hygienists. Depending on the role, you’ll be working with health and safety laws or you’ll be working to make offices efficient and up to code. Because of the differences between roles in this position, the range for annual salary is approximately $48,000 to $72,000.

Corporate Health and Safety Director

When working in a corporation you typically work with executives within a company to ensure safety practices are continually updated and follow safety protocols. Typically you’ll follow OSHA safety requirements and continuously develop and utilize standardized safety practices.

So what kind of skills will you need to become a Corporate Health and Safety Director? Well, OSHA requirements knowledge, organizational and supervisor skills, and advanced health and safety knowledge are a good foundation, but having extra will only help you. As a director, you’ll be overseeing a vast amount of processes and employees, that’s why knowledge is pinnacle in this role. But also, you’re highly compensated for such knowledge and experience, bringing in an average annual salary of $126,800.

Environmental Health and Safety Academic Requirements

So now that we have some Environmental Health and Safety jobs, what are the requirements to typically get one of these jobs?

Well you see, you’ll typically need a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution and have a combined cumulative grade point average of 3.0 in the last 60 semesters according to Oregon State.

Many programs no longer require the GRE to get into the programs necessary to obtain an Environmental Health and Safety career.

But typically as someone in this role, you shouldn’t have much issue finding a job. You work with many specialists and technicians in a variety of environments. Your scientific background and major will give you a good foundation for getting your food in the door and there are many other resources available online to help with this. An internship in the field probably wouldn’t hurt your chances of getting into it either.