Job descriptions and industry overviews

Environmental health officer: job description

10 Jul 2023, 09:42

Environmental health officers (also known as environmental health practitioners or environmental health professionals) monitor health and hygiene standards, and investigate environmental health problems.

Environmental health officer job description

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

Environmental health officers are responsible for monitoring and enforcing health and hygiene legislation. They also investigate when there's an incident, such as a noise problem, toxic contamination, pest infestation or an outbreak of food poisoning.

Typical duties include:

  • inspecting businesses to check they meet health and hygiene standards
  • investigating complaints about noise, pests and other environmental health problems
  • attending environmental health incidents and following up with further investigations to make sure that those responsible are held to account
  • advising employers about matters of environmental health
  • keeping records and compiling reports
  • delivering training
  • serving legal notices
  • preparing and providing evidence in court
  • liaising with other organisations.

You’re likely to spend time in the community you serve, inspecting premises, collecting evidence from incidents and providing advice. You may also need to travel further afield – for example, if you’re called to give evidence in court.

Graduate salaries

Salaries for environmental health officers range from around £29,000 to £40,000, according to jobs comparison site Glassdoor. Earnings will increase with experience, especially if you become a chartered environmental health practitioner.

Typical employers of environmental health officers

  • Local authorities
  • Central governmental agencies
  • Consultancies
  • The Armed Forces
  • Commercial organisations
  • Supermarkets and large food retailers.

Jobs are advertised on local authority websites and specialist environmental health industry-focused jobs boards. Larger and commercial organisations may advertise on national newspaper websites as well as their own sites. A few specialist recruitment agencies also advertise roles.

Qualifications and training required

There are routes into becoming an environmental health officer for both graduates and school leavers.

For graduates, you'll need a degree approved by the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health. If your degree isn’t accredited, you’ll need to a postgraduate qualification that is. Once you’ve been working in environment health for two years, you can apply to join a chartership programme.

You can also choose to become a registered environmental health practitioner. This involves building a portfolio of the ways in which you have demonstrated your skills and knowledge of environment health.

School leavers can take a degree apprenticeship, which involves studying on day release while working in a relevant job. There are also apprenticeships for regulatory compliance officers, who often work with environmental health teams.

Whether you enter the profession via a degree or an apprenticeship, you’ll need to keep learning on the job – for example, about health legislation.

Key skills for environmental health officers

Recruiters will be looking for:

  • teamworking skills
  • strong and clear written and verbal communication skills
  • interpersonal skills to explain legislation and procedures to people from all backgrounds
  • close attention to detail
  • the ability to analyse and solve problems
  • confidence working with people from all sections of the community
  • the ability to keep up to date with environment legislation.

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