How to Become an Environmental Health Officer?

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Environmental Health Officers play a significant role in maintaining the public’s overall health and well-being by protecting them from the contact of contaminants and reducing the burden of diseases. But, how are they doing so? Ever wondered what an Environmental Health Officer’s responsibilities might be? Is their job the usual 9-5 one or a little more hectic?

If you are curious to know about the Environmental Health Officers, their qualifications, skills and duties, do give a read to this blog. You will be able to find out all the necessary details you need to understand about this profession. 

What is Environmental Health?

Environmental Health is the branch of public health that deals with all the aspects of the natural and built environment affecting human health. The prime focus of environmental health is the benefit of human health.

Who is an Environmental Health Officer?

According to Wikipedia, “Environmental Health Officers are responsible for carrying out measures for protecting public health, including administering and enforcing legislation related to environmental health and providing support to minimise health and safety hazards.” 

Environmental Health Officers (EHO) may specialise in the areas such as-

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What to Expect from this Profession?

The role of an Environmental health officer is diverse. They have to visit different types of business premises and locations. One day they might be carrying out a food hygiene inspection, and the next, they may be investigating a workplace accident.

However, the fact that environment health officers are part of a noble profession cannot be denied. Since EHOs try to keep people safe and healthy by verifying food hygiene, safety and environmental laws, their work is indeed praiseworthy.

However, the fact that environment health officers are part of a noble profession cannot be denied. Since EHOs try to keep people safe and healthy by verifying food hygiene, safety and environmental laws, their work is indeed praiseworthy.

What sort of Power does an Environmental Health Officer have?

When it comes to legalities, Environmental health officers possess a certain level of power to carry out the necessary actions in case of a health and safety breach.

An EHO has the power to do the following-

What do Environmental Health Officers Look for?

An EHO will look at a range of aspects like food preparation, handling of food, and food safety management system and documentation at a food premise. The Environmental Health Officer will also look at:

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How often do Environmental Health Officers carry out Investigations?

The amount of visits by EHOs depends on the nature of the business and the severity of the risk. Some businesses may receive a routine visit every six months or so, whereas others may have much more frequent visits where a possible risk is posed.

Most of the Environmental Health Officers visit the premises unannounced so that the conditions cannot be temporarily altered prior to the visit and that they can get an accurate idea of the situation.

Environmental Health Officer

What does an Environmental Health Officer do?

The major responsibilities of an Environmental Health Officer might include- 

Where do Environmental Health Officers Work?

Local, state or federal health departments usually employ environmental health officers to enforce and maintain public health standards. However, many are employed in the private sectors such as hotel and catering organisations, food retailers and manufacturers, supermarkets, consultancies, travel agencies and so on.

Besides, they are also found to work in the military and other third sector agencies like charities and NGOs.

Working Conditions

You would have to work 35-40 hours a week which might occasionally include evening or weekend work. Part-time work and self-employment are also available.

Environmental health officers need to travel regularly as a part of their role since they need to visit different types of businesses and premises in various locations. However, this job does not require staying overnight or travelling overseas.

How much do Environmental Health Officers Make?

According to payscale, “The average salary for an Environmental Health Officer is £33,546” 

However, the income differs according to experience level.

“An early career Environmental Health Officer with 1-4 years of experience earns an average total compensation (includes tips, bonus, and overtime pay) of £29,710.” 

“A mid-career Environmental Health Officer with 5-9 years of experience earns an average total compensation of £33,511.”

“An experienced Environmental Health Officer with 10-19 years of experience earns an average total compensation of £38,282 based.” 

“In their late career (20 years and higher), employees earn an average total compensation of £39,316.”

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What are the Skills Required to be an Environmental Health Officer?

The skills that Environmental health officers require-

More senior skills might include-

Environmental Health Officer

How to Become an Environmental Health Officer - Education and Qualifications

The first step to becoming an environmental health officer is to complete an undergraduate degree either in environmental health, environmental science, public health or environmental management.  If you reside in England, the degree must be approved by the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH). The entry requirement is usually two or three relevant A levels (or equivalent).

To be an environmental health officer, you can also undertake a postgraduate course, such as an MSc. Besides an undergraduate and postgraduate degree, there is also an opportunity to apply for an environmental health practitioner degree apprenticeship.

To enrol into a degree apprenticeship, you should have 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and A levels (or equivalent).  

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Training

The Environmental health officers need to complete 48 weeks of practical training. This training is a combination of academic studies, practical experience and completing a portfolio. The portfolio is based on practical learning and reflective practice. You can complete your training on-

The type of training you complete will depend on the employers’ requirements and the CPD requirements for membership. Refresher training is also required to maintain your professional status and it is also a legal requirement under legislation.

Certification

After completion of your degrees, including professional exams, work-based training and a portfolio, the Environmental Health Registration Board (EHRB) will award you with a certificate of registration. Furthermore, you will be added to the EHRB register as a qualified environmental health practitioner.

Environmental Health Officer Career Opportunities

There are many opportunities for career development in this field, especially within local authorities that have large environmental health departments.

Undertaking agreed levels of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) and gaining chartered status will enable progression to more senior posts.

Other prospects include becoming the head of a much larger department, lecturing and switching between local authorities and the private sector to gain broader experience and seek more senior positions.

Some other related jobs are:

Conclusion

Environmental health officers have a significant contribution in the maintenance of hygiene and reaching unadulterated food to the consumers. They save people’s lives by protecting them from diseases like food poisoning, allergic reactions and pollution and safety risks. Thus, the job is undoubtedly a rewarding one.

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