Health Inspector Schools and Courses
Health inspectors examine construction sites, residential areas and food-service facilities to ensure compliance with local, state and federal health regulations. Find out about education programs, courses, training requirements and certification options.
What You Need to Know
Education requirements for health inspectors may vary, particularly among state, county and municipal governments. Schools across the country offer associate's and bachelor's degrees in occupational safety and health. A variety of certifications are available that may be required, depending on the employer.
|Degrees||Associate's degree in occupational safety and health; bachelor's degree in public health with a concentration in environmental health sciences; bachelor's degree in occupational safety, health and environment; master's degree in health physics or industrial hygiene|
|Courses||Hazardous materials, environmental health, industrial hygiene, ergonomics, epidemiology, risk management, biological concepts, physical agents, systems approach to hazard control, water quality technology and occupational diseases|
|Certification||The Board of Certified Safety Professionals offers a range of related certifications; The American Board of Industrial Hygiene offers the Certified Industrial Hygienist (CIH) credential|
What Level of Education is Required?
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), most health and safety inspectors hold bachelor's degrees. You need to hold at least an associate's degree in order to work as a public health inspector in the state of New York. In Philadelphia, environmental health inspectors must hold at least a high school diploma, and certification in lead assessment or pesticide application may be required depending on the job site. According to the BLS, employers usually provide additional training in city- or state-specific health codes and inspection methods.
What Kinds of Programs Are Available?
A range of different colleges and universities offer 4-year bachelor's programs in occupational safety and health. Some bachelor's programs are available in both online and campus-based formats. Here are some of the colleges and universities that offer related degree or certificate programs:
- Murray State University: Bachelor of Science in Occupational Safety and Health
- University of Connecticut: Occupational Safety and Health Online Certificate Program
- Kent State University: Bachelor of Science in Public Health, concentration in Environmental Health Sciences
- Southeastern Louisiana University: Bachelor of Science in Occupational Safety, Health and Environment
- Western Kentucky University: Occupational Safety and Health Online Undergraduate Certificate
- Columbia Southern University: Associate of Science in Occupational Safety and Health
- Purdue University: Master of Science in Health Physics
What Courses Can I Expect to Take?
While enrolled in a public health bachelor's program, you can take courses in hazardous materials, environmental health, basic epidemiology and public health administration. Occupational safety programs explore topics like industrial hygiene, ergonomics, occupational injuries and health regulations. You might gain hands-on experience by interning with a private business or government agency.
What Types of Certification Can I Earn?
While certification isn't always a necessity, employers may prefer job applicants who hold professional credentials. The American Board of Industrial Hygiene offers the CIH credential. You can also pursue the following credentials that are offered by the Board of Certified Safety Professionals:
- Occupational Health and Safety Technologist (OHST)
- Certified Safety Professional (CSP) certification
- Construction Health and Safety Technician (CHST)
- Associate Safety Professional (ASP)
A combination of postsecondary training and professional experience is required for each type of certification, in addition to successful completion of an exam.