City Health Inspector: Career and Salary Facts

Research what it takes to become a city health inspector. Learn about education requirements, job duties, average salary and career outlook to find out if this is the career for you. Schools offering Community Health Education & Advocacy degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a City Health Inspector?

A city health inspector is a local government employee who is responsible for evaluating businesses to ensure that they are in compliance with public health and safety regulations. They use both direct observations and scientific tests to evaluate workplace environments. For example, they may watch common workplace practices, test equipment to make sure it is working properly and take samples of substances to analyze their toxicity, but it is important to note that specific testing procedures vary based on the industry. After the investigation is complete, city health inspectors report their results to local health departments. If risks are present at a particular company, they may help develop a strategy to address existing problems and reduce future health and safety risks.

The following table gives you an overview of what you need to know about entering this field.

Education Requirements Associate or bachelor's degree
Education Field of Study Occupational health or safety
Key Responsibilities Visit local businesses, interview employees, collect samples for analysis and evaluate sites for hazards
Job Outlook (2014-2024) 4% for all health and safety specialists*
Average Salary (2015) $71,790 for local government health and safety specialists*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Does a City Health Inspector Do?

City health inspectors visit businesses, interview workers and evaluate the overall establishment to make sure that public health and safety regulations are being upheld. You may also collect samples for analysis and evaluate the site for hazards that might harm either employees or the public. You may help ensure a safe food supply by inspecting restaurants or food vendors, or you may assess a business to make recommendations about how to make it safer.

Generally, inspectors work a 40-hour week, but that work may be done during evening or night shifts. Weekend and overtime work is common. Some work takes place in an office, some is done in the field. Inspectors are exposed to whatever the conditions are of the inspection site, which may be hazardous. You may be called to testify in court as to conditions of a site you've inspected.

What Training Will I Need?

Most employers want you to have a 2- or 4-year degree in occupational health or safety. You may also choose to study a scientific field such as chemistry or engineering. To advance, you may wish to obtain voluntary credentials or train in a specialized area. You may need a strong work history, broad expertise and a master's degree to enter management positions.

How Do I Apply for City Inspector Job?

A city's government website traditionally hosts job postings for this position. Some city jobs will require you to live in the city in which you work. Drug testing and criminal background checks are common, although past convictions might not bar you from getting a city job.

How Much Will I Earn?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, local government health and safety inspectors made an average annual wage of $71,790 as of 2015. The same source expected the market for all health and safety inspectors to see a lower than average growth of 4% over the 10-year period between 2014 and 2024.

What Personal Qualities Would Be Helpful In This Job?

Inspectors need to pay close attention to detail. While interviewing people and filling out reports, you need excellent interpersonal and communications skills. This job can be stressful, so you need to exhibit self-control and be able to behave with integrity during conflicts.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

A closely related occupation is a job as a fire inspector. Fire inspectors assess residential and commercial buildings to make sure that they are in compliance with local, state and federal fire regulations. After a fire has occurred, they may also undertake investigations in order to figure out why it happened and how to prevent a similar incident from happening in the future. While a high school diploma is the minimum educational requirement, many professionals in the field have previous experiment in firefighting or law enforcement.

Alternatively, you might also be interested in getting a job as an environmental health specialist. In this job, you would study how environmental factors, such as soil contaminants and water pollution, impact local human health. Based on your findings, you would present your results to the public in order to promote awareness of potential health risks. Most of these specialists hold a bachelor's degree.

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