Health Inspector: Career Summary, Occupational Outlook, and Education Requirements

Explore the career requirements for health inspectors. Get the facts about salary, education requirements and job outlook to determine if this is the right career for you. Schools offering Community Health Education & Advocacy degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Health Inspector?

As a health inspector, you'll inspect public places, such as restaurants and other businesses, to ensure that these facilities comply with health and safety standards. Health inspectors will search for chemical, biological or other hazards to try and prevent any damage to the environment and the public. If facilities do not comply with regulations, these professionals are qualified to impose fines. They may also be responsible for investigating any incidents that occur, as well as determining ways to prevent them from occurring in the future. Health inspectors may even work with management to implement new safety procedures or provide training on various topics. Find out about the education requirements and the job outlook for this career, as provided by the table below.

Degree Required Bachelor's degree
Education Field of Study Chemistry, engineering, occupational health
Key Skills Detail oriented, organization, communication, physical stamina, problem-solving
Licensure/Certification Voluntary certification is available
Job Growth (2014-2024) 4% (for occupational health and safety specialists)*
Median Salary (2017) $49,262 (for health inspectors)**

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **Salary.com

What Can I Do as a Health Inspector?

Health inspectors provide safety for workers, consumers and communities. As a health inspector, you'll go to a place of business and look for possible physical and chemical hazards. These hazards may include dangerous equipment, polluted air, dirty water, bad building materials or hazardous waste. You may collect samples of water or gases to test for harmful waste. Also, you may go to restaurants and businesses to guarantee that sanitary conditions meet federal and state laws.

Other tasks may be to look for faulty equipment or items that could be replaced with ergonomic counterparts. This decreases the likeliness of injuries at work. You may also conduct safety training seminars for employers and employees.

How Does this Career Look?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) doesn't have employment projections specifically for health inspectors, but occupational health and safety specialists are closely related. Between 2014 and 2024, employment is supposed to increase by 4% for specialists. According to Salary.com, the median yearly salary for a health inspector was $49,262 as of December 2016.

What Should I Study?

Many degree programs can prepare you for this career, such as biology, chemistry or engineering. However, many colleges offer programs in occupational health as well. You should seek at least a bachelor's degree in one of these programs.

While certification is voluntary, it may be preferred by employers. The Board of Certified Safety Professionals offers seven certifications for varying levels of safety professionals (www.bcsp.org). Two of the certification designations have the option of recertification. As a health inspector, you'll likely be interested in the Certified Safety Professional (CSP) designation or the Occupational Health and Safety Technician (OHST) designation.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Environmental scientists and specialists are similar positions that require a bachelor's degree. These professionals use science to try and protect human health and the environment. Their duties may include providing information to policymakers and cleaning up pollution. Another related career is that of a health and safety engineer. Health and safety engineers also need a bachelor's degree. They work to create systems and procedures to prevent injury, illness and property damage.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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