Environmental health practitioner
Environmental health officers make sure people’s surroundings are safe, healthy and hygienic.
Salary range: £25,000 to £60,000
How to become an environmental health officer
You can get into this job through:
- a university course
- an apprenticeship
- working towards this role
You can study for a degree or postgraduate qualification approved by the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health.
You’ll usually need:
- 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree
- a degree in any subject for a postgraduate course
- equivalent entry requirements
- student finance for fees and living costs
- university courses and entry requirements
You can do an environmental health practitioner degree apprenticeship.
You’ll usually need:
- 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and A levels, or equivalent, for a higher or degree apprenticeship
You may be able to start as an environmental health technician and study for a part-time environmental health degree while you’re working.
You’ll also need to produce a portfolio of work for assessment and pass professional exams including an interview to qualify.
Professional and industry bodies
You could join the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health for professional development opportunities.
You can find more details about training and working in environmental health through the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health.
What it takes
Skills and knowledge
- to be thorough and pay attention to detail
- thinking and reasoning skills
- excellent verbal communication skills
- legal knowledge including court procedures and government regulations
- analytical thinking skills
- knowledge of English language
- maths knowledge
- patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
- to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently
Restrictions and requirements
You’re likely to need a full, clean driving licence for this job.
What you’ll do
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
You could work at a restaurant, at a client’s business, at a store, in a court or in an office.
Your working environment may be dirty and you’ll travel often.
You may need to wear protective clothing.
Career path and progression
With experience you could apply 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.