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How to Become an Environmental Health Officer

Are you looking for a career in a health-related field? And you also want to improve people’s living standards around you? Then you should consider becoming an environmental health officer.

If you are wondering, what is it all about? Please read the blog to know more about Environmental Health Officer careers. This blog will discuss the duties and responsibilities, salary, working hours of an Environmental Health Officer. In short, you’ll know all about how to become an Environmental Health Officer.

Who is an environmental health officer?

Environmental health officers assess and investigate environmental health problems related to public health for both the built and natural environment. In addition, they also develop, regulate, enforce, and monitor laws and regulations for the people’s benefits when required.

Environmental health officers are responsible for ensuring people’s surroundings are safe, healthy and hygienic. They protect us from environmental hazards at home, work and public places. So, you can specialise in one of the following areas:

  • Air, food and water quality;
  • Disease vector control;
  • Waste management;
  • Environmental protection;
  • Health education;
  • Noise control.

You can easily secure an entry-level role (e.g. enforcement officer) in a local authority if you have GCSEs and previous health-related field experience.

What are the responsibilities and duties of an environmental health officer?

An EHO working

Environmental health officers are responsible for ensuring that homes and workplaces are safe, hygienic and healthy. You may specialise in a specific area or deal with all environmental health issues in your local area or company. The following are some examples of an environmental health officer’s day-to-day duties:

  • Inspect businesses for health and safety, food hygiene and food standards.
  • Follow-up complaints and investigate outbreaks of food poisoning, infectious disease or pests.
  • Collect samples for laboratory testing.
  • Enforce environmental health laws.
  • Investigate accidents at work.
  • Advise community groups and give educational talks.
  • Give evidence in court.
  • Write records and reports.
  • Advise employers on all environmental health matters.

What tools and technologies do you have to work with?

Chemistry lab

The tools and technologies you have to work with depends on the sites. As an environmental health officer, you have to use thermometers, sealed and sterile jars and other sampling equipment to monitor noise and light levels.

If you are visiting unhygienic, unpleasant or potentially dangerous sites, you may have to wear protective clothing. The protective clothing items, such as masks, gloves and hairnets.

You have to keep detailed records of your works and evidence to be used in legal proceedings. So, knowing how to operate computers and general office equipment is a must.

What skills do you need to have to become an environmental health officer?

Like any other job, you will need some specific skills to become an environmental health officer. You must possess the following soft skills if you want to become an environmental health officer:

  • Be thorough and pay attention to detail.
  • Confidence in dealing with the public.
  • Good decision-making skills.
  • Thinking and reasoning skills.
  • Be patient and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations.
  • Excellent verbal communication skills.
  • Confidence in dealing with the public.
  • Analytical thinking skills.
  • Be able to use a computer and various software packages.
  • The ability to be assertive, diplomatic and sensitive to other people’s views.
  • The ability to work independently and as a member of a team.
  • Driving licence.

How much money can you earn as an environmental health officer?

An environmental health officer’s salary depends on a few factors, such as the employer, role, and working area. As an environmental health officer, you can earn £25,000 – up to £60,000 per year in the UK.

  • The starting salaries of EHO’s per year is between £25,000 and £35,000.
  • In a senior or managerial level post, the salaries fall between £38,000 and £60,000 per year.
  • You can get higher salaries in more advanced positions, such as the head of a department.

(Source: National Careers Service)

However, some authorities or employers have performance-based pay schemes. Private companies tend to offer more salaries than in the public sector. So, if you get a job in a private company, you may have the opportunity to earn more.

What are the working hours of an environmental health officer?

Working hours are the only negative side of this job. Typical working hours vary between 35-41 hours a week. You will usually work from 9 am to 5 pm, and Monday to Friday. Given the nature of the job, sometimes you have to work in the evening or weekend also.

However, local authorities will generally offer several flexible working opportunities. In there, you can get part-time work, job share, reduced or compressed hours. Sometimes you have the chance to work from home.

Who is an environmental health officer?

Are you looking for a career in a health-related field? And you also want to improve people’s living standards around you? Then you should consider becoming an environmental health officer.

If you are wondering, what is it all about? Please read the blog to know more about Environmental Health Officer careers. This blog will discuss the duties and responsibilities, salary, working hours of an Environmental Health Officer. In short, you’ll know all about how to become an Environmental Health Officer.

What to expect when you work as an environmental health officer?

The responsibilities and tasks of each job are different from each other. In this job, you will find or have to do things differently from the other job. Below is some information about what you can expect when you work as an environmental health officer.

  • You often have to inspect unclean or unsafe buildings and visiting sites, in all weathers. So, the working conditions may occasionally be dirty and unpleasant.
  • The nature of work is diverse. Sometimes, it may be stressful and a bit confrontational. Also, you will need police assistance, especially when enforcing regulations.
  • You have to dress smartly and often according to the occasion. However, in some cases, you may have to wear protective clothing on some sites.
  • Environmental health officers have job opportunities throughout the UK, in most large towns and cities. Therefore, you also have the chance to work abroad.
  • On working days, you may have to travel to different places depending on your role. But it is uncommon that you will have to stay away from home overnight.
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Are you interested in becoming an environmental health officer? Then read on!

How to become an environmental health officer?

A man with a helmet in an industrial area

To become an EHO in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, your academic courses must be accredited by CIEH. The REHIS is the accrediting body for EHO’s in Scotland. In Ireland, you can collect the necessary information from the Environmental Health Association of Ireland.

To become an EHO, it is crucial that you have a degree or postgraduate degree. There are also specific areas of focus that can be completed through the coursework. A university degree can help you develop a solid foundation for becoming an environmental health officer. However, you can get into this profession using any of the following ways:

  • A University degree.
  • An Apprenticeship.
  • Working towards this role.

A University degree

You can study for a degree or postgraduate degree at the universities approved by the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health in the UK.

Entry Requirements:

You will usually need:

  • 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a university degree.
  • A degree in any subject related to healthcare for a postgraduate course.

An apprenticeship

An apprenticeship programme is another alternative for becoming an EHO. An advanced apprenticeship will make it easier for you to get into this healthcare sector.

Entry Requirements:

You can study for an environmental health practitioner apprenticeship degree. You will usually need:

  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, higher or degree apprenticeship.

Work towards this role

You can become an environmental health officer by working in this profession. Pre-entry work can provide you with an insight into the job and help secure training placement opportunities.

Sometimes, local authorities provide short-term work experience for those interested in the profession. Therefore, working as an experienced practitioner can help you find out more about the profession.

Certificates

You will get a certificate of registration after completing the degree. The Environmental Health Registration Board (EHRB) awards the registration certificate, and CIEH administers the whole process. This certificate indicates your qualified environmental health officer status.

In Scotland, upon successful completion of the degree, you will be awarded the REHIS Diploma in Environmental Health.

Professional development of environmental health officer

A man and a woman having a conversation

Your training will consist of a combination of academic studies and practical training, including completing a portfolio. You can get practical training from the local authority or different organisations.

The portfolio is based on practical learning and reflective practice. To make a perfect portfolio, you have to undertake several interventions, develop various skills, and reflect upon their experiences.  The specialist areas of environmental health officer are:

  • Food safety
  • Public health and safety
  • Housing and health
  • Environmental protection.

You will need to renew your Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Certificate every year to maintain your professional status. The CPD involves attendance at courses, seminars and conferences, where other relevant skills, such as management training, may also be developed.

You can take the CPD course from Alpha Academy in Environmental Management Systems. You can study at your convenience since the course is online-based.

Career prospects of an environmental health officer

When training to be an EHO, you will gain a lot of knowledge required for the position. After that, you can choose either to continue in a general career or to specialise in a particular area.

If you stick with the general career, where you’ll work in a team headed by a team leader or senior officer. Therefore, you may have to deal with a range of functions or tasks daily.

You may find a job in EHO’s with both local councils and the private sector. However, there are also several job options, such as checking food standards and health and safety for companies.

You have the career growth opportunity if you are employed with a local government. The career ladder of the environmental health officer is the following:

Junior officer > Senior officer > Principal officer > Chief officer.

On the other hand, in the private sector, career opportunity is less than the government sector. Thus, in the private sector, you have the opportunity to work as an:

  • Environmental health consultant. 
  • Freelancer to advise businesses on environmental health law.

Who are the employers of environmental health officers?

Environmental health officers are responsible for monitoring and enforcing public health and safety regulations. Therefore, you can find work as an environmental health officer with the following employers:

Where are vacancies advertised for Environmental Health Officers?

A keyboard with a Job Vacancy key

Now you are a certified environmental health officer and have the required experience and skills to start your career. If you are wondering where you can find jobs advertisement, you can look for job vacancies at:

Certificate in Environmental Management Systems

This valuable course is suitable for anyone interested in working in this sector or who simply wants to learn more about the topic.

Certificate in Environmental Management Systems

This valuable course is suitable for anyone interested in working in this sector or who simply wants to learn more about the topic.

Conclusion

Environmental health officers ensure people’s surrounding environment is safe, healthy and hygienic. You will play a huge role in developing, implementing and monitoring laws and regulation for ensuring public health.

You can earn a handsome amount of money by becoming an environmental health officer. Since the job is in high demand in rural and urban areas, you can also get a job abroad.

If you are an environmental health officer and looking for a place where you can renew your CPD. You can take the CPD course from Alpha Academy in Environmental Management Systems and get certified. And also, you can study at your convenience since the course is online-based.

So, what are you waiting for? Be an environmental health officer and improve people’s living standards around you.

May 20, 2021

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