Environmental Health Specialist

Environmental toxins contribute to various health problems, such as food poisoning, cancer, and asthma. Environmental health specialists raise awareness about environmental pollutants and toxins and organize efforts to recognize and reduce them.

Environmental health specialists typically have backgrounds in engineering, toxicology, chemistry, and other sciences. They also frequently work with engineers, doctors, physicists, meteorologists, biologists, geologists, and chemists.

Environmental health is an ideal career for people who enjoy working in teams, are concerned about environmental pollution and public health, and solve problems.

Working Conditions

Environmental health specialists are typically employed at government agencies, including the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), National Center for Environmental Health (NCEH), and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Many also work in the private sector for companies that develop alternative energy technology.

Career Training and Education

Since there are many subspecialties within environmental health, you should choose when to focus on. Subspecialties include:

  • Air quality
  • Food safety
  • Radiation protection
  • Solid waste and hazardous waste management
  • Water quality
  • Noise control
  • Pollution reduction in recreational areas
  • Housing quality
  • vector control

Information about accredited environmental health science degree programs can be obtained from the Association of Schools of Public Health.

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