Ehs Careers

Written by Shirley Parker
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Most careers for Environmental Health Specialists exist in government. Individuals pursuing this field help ensure that the quality of life for us and for future generations will be better than it is now, and then remain high. Since EHS specialists enforce health and safety regulations in all areas, they work in a vast number of fields. EHS specialists conduct water quality sampling and inspections of public pools, buildings and recreational areas, disease-carrying animals or insects, food establishments, sewage systems, and detention facilities, to ensure an illness-free environment.

Other career fields include aquatic biology, radiation safety, occupational hygiene, air quality, chief medical officer, toxicology, nutrition scientist, and many more. EHS specialists need good communication skills in order to articulate the need for improvement or outright change, and the benefits that will ensue. On many occasions, they speak to groups or conduct classes and demonstrations on sanitary methods and procedures. They also have to deal with the "office politics" that exist in the corporate, academic, or government agency world, and cannot easily become discouraged.

Competition for EHS positions is not fierce, but definitely lively, even though the jobs usually have quite strenuous physical requirements. Workers spend most of their time out in the field, doing inspections or investigations. Walking, climbing, and bending down all come with the territory, as does exposure to the very health hazards they are looking to eradicate. Occasionally, they are hurt in falls while inspecting unsafe conditions.

Education and Training Requirements

Prospective EHS specialists should take classes in mathematics, life sciences, physical sciences and English composition. Yes, those reports have to be written up in understandable form. A bachelor's degree in science, or specific science classes taken during the earning of a bachelor's degree, is prerequisite. This will be followed by a trainee position with a government environmental agency at the city, county, state or federal level. Only then can the would-be specialist take the Environmental Health Specialist registration examination, required by many states. Some positions require a Master's degree in Environmental Health Science.

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