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Getting a job as an Environmental Health Practitioner

What is an Environmental Health Practitioner?

An Environmental Health Practitioner is someone who is able to use scientific and technical knowledge to ensure environments are safe for people (and animals) to live, work and play in. Typically they are guided by legislation to help them identify whether what they are examining is up to code. If it’s not, an Environmental Health Practitioner will be responsible for making recommendations to ensure the area is made safe and legal.

Types of Environmental Health Practitioners

Environmental health covers a range of different industries and offers opportunities to specialise in:

  • Environmental protection
  • Food safety
  • Health within the armed services
  • Housing
  • Noise control
  • Occupational health and safety
  • Pollution control
  • Public health

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What does an Environmental Health Practitioner do day to day?

Environmental Health Practitioners can work in specific areas like food safety, pollution, or housing, but ultimately, the core part of the role remains the same:

  • Ensuring compliance with safety standards
  • Investigating and monitoring ongoing compliance or complaints
  • Taking evidence including taking photos, collecting samples, or conducting interviews during an inspection
  • Advising organisations on compliance and planning applications
  • Enforcing legal action following failed inspections, providing evidence and legal defense in court proceedings

Depending on the department they work for, the role can also include:

  • Ensuring privately rented housing is safe to live in
  • Checking on the welfare of animals in pet shops and livestock on farms
  • Carrying out food standards and hygiene inspections
  • Monitoring noise, air, land, and water pollution

What is it like to work in Environmental Health?

“Environmental Health is a highly diverse profession, that covers the protection of the public’s health. As an Environmental Health Practitioner you will have a chance to work with various organisations across the Public & Private sectors.

You will be covering areas such as Food Hygiene, Housing, Pest Control, Pollution Control, and Environmental Health. You will be the person making sure the area you work in is up to standard to keep people safe.

If you’re looking for a career that constantly keeps you on your toes and never lets you lose your initiative, Environmental Health Practitioner might just be the career for you” Will Shipley, Managing Consultant, Environmental Health

What qualifications does an Environmental Health Practitioner need?

Environmental Health Practitioners should complete an undergraduate (BSc) or Masters degree (MSc) in Environmental Health from a university accredited by the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH).

In some cases, it’s possible to complete an undergraduate degree in another field before specialising in a postgraduate MSc Environmental Health course.

What experience do I need to get a job as an Environmental Health Practitioner?

As the role is highly specialised it’s advisable to seek a placement or work experience before graduation, however, you can still get an entry-level role without it. Typical starting salaries are quite high at £25,000, with this growing to £35,000 – £50,000 with 10+ years experience. There is the potential to earn more as a head of department.

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