Four Steps to Become A Public Health Inspector
Public health inspectors visit businesses, organizations, and facilities to inspect their safety and health. This field is an excellent career option if you’re interested in improving the well-being and health of your community. This article will provide an overview of what public health inspectors do and describe the steps required to become one. It also provides information about their typical duties and salary, as well as the outlook for the future.
What is a public-health inspector?
A public inspector is a professional who oversees establishments and businesses to ensure public safety and health. These inspectors work in government departments and agencies. They have an extensive knowledge of federal, state, and local regulations governing public health. They might inspect various businesses and organizations like hotels, restaurants and schools.
Public health inspector job duties
Public health inspectors spend most of their day traveling to facilities and businesses to perform inspections. They may use helmets or respirators to protect themselves when they inspect a building or business. Their job duties might vary but the basic responsibilities are:
- Inspect a business or organization physically to find potential safety or sanitation violations
- Assess equipment, storage space, and other areas for sanitation and sterilization.
- Results of inspections can result in fines and suspensions of business licenses
- Return to the site for a second inspection, if needed, in order to verify the quality of improvements.
- Send pool water samples to the laboratory for testing.
- Stay current by researching safety and health laws to keep yourself informed
- Develop and implement plans to educate people about safety and health.
How to become an inspector of public health
These are the steps that you can follow to become a health inspector.
Earn a degree
Employers require public health inspectors at minimum to hold an associate degree. This degree can help you get more work in this area. A bachelor’s degree or an associate’s degree in health or natural sciences is usually required for public health inspectors. Take courses in biology, chemistry and geology while you earn your degree. These classes can prepare you to work in public health.
You can complete a summer internship
You can also do an internship while working towards your degree. This will give you valuable experience in the field of public health. Internships can be found with state or local health departments. Internships will allow you to gain more knowledge about health and safety in a professional environment. You may be able to observe public health inspectors as they inspect businesses, communicate with owners, and enforce regulations.
Meet employment requirements
You must meet all requirements for public health inspector employment after you have completed your degree. Some employers, jurisdictions, and states may require that you pass an employment exam. You can review job listings or contact your state’s health department to find out about the employment requirements in your locality. Also, employers may require that you drive to other locations or businesses for inspections.
Certification is not required in all jurisdictions or states. However, it can show your knowledge of safety standards and public health. You may also be able to learn new skills that will help you move up in your career. To help you choose the right certification program for your career, compare and research them. The National Environmental Health Association offers a range of certifications and continuing education courses that are recognized by many employers. These NEHA certificates include:
- Food Safety Auditor: This program shows you how plan and conduct food safety inspections, verify food safety, and perform post-audit activities. It shows you that you are able to assess the effectiveness of food safety programmes as either an internal or external inspector.
- Registered environmental health specialist/registered sanitarian (REHS/RS): This highly recognized credential requires you to pass a 225-question exam testing your knowledge of environmental health surveillance, inspections and compliance review. This certification demonstrates your expertise in a wide range of environmental issues.
- Certified professional in food safety (CPFS). Public health inspectors working in retail food environments can obtain the CPFS certification if they have a bachelor’s degree or comparable experience. The CP-FS designation is a way to demonstrate your ability to assess food safety programs, and implement sanitation standards.