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Environmental health officer Environmental health practitioner

Environmental health officers make sure people's surroundings are safe, healthy and hygienic.

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £25,000 to £60,000 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: 35 to 40 per week

1. Entry requirements

You'll need:

When you've completed these stages, you'll achieve full qualification and be awarded the Certificate of Registration from the Environmental Health Registration Board.

You could start work as an environmental health technician and study for an environmental health foundation degree or degree while you're working. You could also train and study with the armed forces.

2. Skills required

You'll need:

  • excellent communication and negotiation skills
  • the ability to explain environmental health laws and procedures
  • the ability to work methodically
  • problem solving and time management skills
  • the ability to work with people from all backgrounds

3. What you'll do

You could work for a local authority, the NHS or armed services, or a central government organisation like the Food Standards Agency.

You could also work as an environmental health consultant in the private sector, advising businesses on environmental health law.

Depending on where you work, you could deal with a range of issues including:

  • food safety
  • environmental protection
  • noise, radiation and pollution control
  • water standards
  • health and safety at work
  • animal welfare
  • waste management
  • housing standards

You might specialise in one area, or deal with all environmental health issues in your local area or company.

Your day-to-day duties may include:

  • inspecting businesses for health and safety, food hygiene and food standards
  • following up complaints and investigating outbreaks of food poisoning, infectious disease or pests
  • collecting samples for laboratory testing
  • enforcing environmental health laws
  • investigating accidents at work
  • advising community groups and giving educational talks
  • giving evidence in court
  • writing records and reports
  • advising employers on all environmental health matters

4. Salary

Starter: around £25,000

Experienced: up to £35,000

Highly Experienced: £45,000 to £60,000 (environmental health manager)

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

You'll work between 35 and 40 hours per week, mostly Monday to Friday with some evening or weekend work on a rota basis.

You'll have an office base but will spend most of your time out in the workplace or visiting businesses and homes.

Depending on the environment, you may need to wear protective clothing.

You'll usually need a driving licence for this job.

6. Career path and progression

With experience you could apply to the CIEH for Chartered Environmental Health Practitioner status.

In local government you could progress to senior, principal or chief environmental health officer.

You could also become a university lecturer.

There are other opportunities in the developing world and with private companies overseas.

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Last updated: 12 April 2017