Environmental health officer

Environmental health practitioner

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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

University

You can study for a degree or postgraduate qualification approved by the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health.

Entry requirements

You’ll usually need:

  • 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree
  • a degree in any subject for a postgraduate course

More information

Apprenticeship

You can do an environmental health practitioner degree apprenticeship.

Entry requirements

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

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Work

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.

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Professional and industry bodies

You could join the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health for professional development opportunities.

Further information

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

You’ll need:

  • 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

Day-to-day tasks

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

Working environment

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.

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