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Environmental health officer: job description

Environmental health officer: job description

Environmental health officers monitor, maintain and protect environmental and health standards according to current legislation.
Full or partial sponsorship from local authorities is often available for students for academic courses.

What does an environmental health officer do? Typical employers | Qualifications and training | Key skills

They are responsible for investigating incidents that affect health such as pollution, accidents at work, noise control, toxic contamination, pest infestations, food poisoning and waste management. Their remit includes advisory work, education and law enforcement. A large amount of time is spent away from the office visiting properties such as farms, shops, food outlets, private/public accommodation, commercial premises, manufacturers and industrial organisations. In addition to inspections, responsibilities include:

  • compiling reports
  • providing training courses
  • gathering samples to be tested
  • investigating complaints
  • serving legal notices
  • providing evidence in court
  • liaising with other organisations

Promotional opportunities are reasonable, as there is a structured career path for employees with local authorities.

Typical employers of environmental health officers

  • Local authorities
  • Consultancies
  • The Armed Forces
  • Commercial organisations
  • Supermarkets and large food retailers

Relevant paid or voluntary work experience, possibly gained as a technician, can be beneficial. Jobs are advertised in local, regional and national newspapers, local authority jobs lists, and relevant publications including Opportunities and Environmental Health News.

Qualifications and training required

Qualification necessitates obtaining a Chartered Institute of Environmental Health approved degree, and completing an assessment of professional development. Graduates from other scientific degree disciplines may complete a postgraduate environmental health qualification to enter the profession. Continual professional development is an important part of the job to improve technical and legal knowledge.

Key skills for environmental health officers

Employers seek graduates who have excellent communication, teamworking and interpersonal skills in order to explain complex legislation and procedures to people from all backgrounds. They should also have a high level of attention to detail and to ability to analyse problems and find solutions.

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