Health and Food Inspector Certificate and Training Programs
A health and food inspector ensures that the food people eat is safe from disease and contamination. Read on to find out what training programs can help you enter this field, common courses, and what other employment paths are available.
What Is a Health and Food Inspector?
Health and food inspectors are typically employed by health departments, factories and other agencies. You may have the job title of food inspector, food safety manager, food plant manager, health inspector, or food and drug inspector. In general, you will be responsible for ensuring that the food that reaches the masses meets the proper standards from production to presentation. Depending on your individual position, you may also be concerned with environmental conditions, water quality or diseases.
|Job Description||Involves being employed as a food inspector, food safety manager, health inspector, or other title; responsible for ensuring food released to the masses satisfies quality standards set|
|Program Options||Associate's and bachelor's degrees usual options and available in public health, food sciences, nutrition, environmental health|
|Common Courses||Food sanitation, food preparation, general biology, nutrition, food protection|
|Career Options||Work as food inspector, environmental health specialist, health and safety technician, restaurant manager or nutritionist|
|Continuing Education||Graduate degree in public health or environmental and occupational health|
|Median Salary (2018)||$69,370 (for all occupational health and safety specialist and technicians )|
|Job Outlook (2016-2026)||8% growth (for all occupational health and safety specialist and technicians )|
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
What Degrees Are Available For Me?
Many programs for those wishing to become food inspectors are available at the associate's or bachelor's degree levels. Specific options include majors in public health, food sciences, nutrition or environmental health. There may be minors or concentrations within these degree programs that relate specifically to food safety.
Some schools may also offer undergraduate and graduate certificates in food safety, though these are not as common as degree programs. These programs might focus specifically on food sanitation, food borne hazards and hazard analysis. They do not require the completion of general education courses, although graduate certificate programs may require you to complete some electives.
What Will I Learn?
Courses are dependent on the degree or certificate program you choose, but many combine nutrition classes with food safety and biology courses. You may take courses like food sanitation, risk analysis, food preparation, general biology, nutrition, chemistry and food protection. Additionally, many degree programs require you to take some general education courses, and some programs may include lab or field courses that can provide you with hands-on experience. Courses for these degrees are typically not offered online.
What Else Can I Do With This Degree?
In addition to preparing you to become a food inspector, a training program in food science or a related field may also prepare you for a variety of other careers in the food and nutrition industry. You could become an environmental health specialist, health and safety technician, restaurant manager, cafeteria coordinator or nutritionist. Additionally, you may specialize in a certain part of the food industry, such as restaurants or processing plants. A degree in a food safety-related subject will also prepare you to enter a graduate program such as public health nutrition or environmental and occupational health.