People who are interested in natural sciences strive for a career in environmental health and safety. They are passionate about how environmental factors influence an individual’s health. A specialist in environmental health and safety is someone who safeguards the well-being of the general public. They have adequate information about the environmental regulations and which safety standards to maintain. Most of these professionals work for the local government, choosing to carry out special assignments near factories or mines.
Working in this field is no less than a challenge. Mostly, environmental specialists have to put their lives at risk and operate under stressful or hazardous conditions. Their job is to gauge the safety level for other humans and while ensuring that they sometimes go through immense trouble. Regardless, this job rewards them in many ways, which motivates them to work for human welfare.
To fulfill their responsibilities, environmental health and safety specialists need to acquire a set of skills. Some of these skills include conducting thorough research, analyzing different conditions, and building effective strategies to solve a problem. They also need to communicate well and pay close attention to minute details. Not just that, but environmental specialists should know how to use complex equipment when studying the environment. Also, good physical stamina, with the motivation to work on critical cases, is essential.
So how can you become a specialist in environmental health and safety? Here are a few steps to pursue your career in environmental health and safety.
Gaining a bachelor’s degree in safety is the very first step to becoming an environmental specialist. Without earning this degree, you cannot make your way into environmental health or any other safety discipline. Doing a bachelor’s in this respective field is not that difficult. Some courses you will learn are physics, mathematics, and chemistry. You will carry out assignments like industrial waste management, ergonomics, environmental law compliance, toxicology, occupational safety, organizational leadership, industrial hygiene, etc. These subcategories will expand your knowledge about the environment and how to keep it safe for living things.
Important Tip: Maintain your focus on practical solutions to environmental health issues, and your studies will become even more enjoyable. After all, most of the courses you study during this program increase your self-awareness.
Enroll in a Training Program
Completing a specialized training program will double your chances of scoring a rewarding job in environmental health and safety. The federal law requires finishing a training program approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Workers who want to assess hazardous materials and corporate activities that harm the environment must lookout for a training program. A certification like this is super beneficial to enhance your experience in environmental health and safety.
Gain Some Professional Experience
Usually, employers prefer hiring environmental specialists who have over 1-2 years of professional experience. You can look around or Google some government jobs. Mainly, environmental safety specialists are recruited by the federal government and agencies that focus on jobs related to environmental law or public health. Doing jobs like imposing product safety guidelines, testing drinking water, inspecting public places, and cleaning contaminated resources increase the overall professional experience. By working in a professional setting, you will become more competent and ensure better environmental safety.
Important Tip: If you are struggling to find a job in the beginning, look for internships. They are a fantastic way to boost your work experience, with an opportunity to indulge in cooperative learning with the experts. Not just that, but you get to earn a fixed amount of stipend and enhance your practical skills.
Complete a Masters in Environmental Health
Why stop at a bachelor’s degree when you can pursue your master’s? To become a specialist in environmental health, you must acquire a master’s degree. If you want a supervisory role or score a specialist job, you need to have the proper qualification. A bachelor’s program is an easy way out, but only the highly committed individuals complete their masters. Many exciting and intellectually challenging master’s programs are available. If you seek in-depth knowledge about the core subjects of health physics, environmental safety, and industrial hygiene, then pursue a master’s. Students enrolled in these programs can better recognize workplace hazards and radiation exposure in public places, emphasizing environmental safety. Just like professional work experience is vital to land an ideal job, a master’s degree program is essential to improve those job prospects. Going for a master’s after finishing their bachelor’s is not an option but a much-needed achievement for a passionate person.
Some jobs in this field require a set of certifications. But to get certified, you will need some training. Most of the certificates come under the approval and accreditation of OSHA, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. In reality, not all jobs require certifications but to prove your worth as a specialist; it is good to get some. Certificates help in establishing your professional skills and show how much knowledge you have gained so far. Also, the certifications you receive will give you an edge over other candidates who apply for the specialist’s job.
What to Expect from the Environmental Health and Safety Career?
Fortunately, there are many career options available in environmental health that you can consider. The salary expectations usually change from company to company. The highest-paying industries for environmental safety specialists are listed below.
- Merchant wholesalers and non-durable goods
- Federal government
- Natural gas distribution
- Wholesale electronic markets, brokers, and agents
- Oil and gas extraction
The Bottom Line:
Opting for a career as an environmental specialist is a wise decision to make. Today, many organizations are willing to hire individuals that can ensure they follow environment-friendly practices. If you plan to become an environmental specialist, stay focused and develop short-term goals rather than making big promises. A single step at a time can lead you towards success easily. Avail of online degrees, get proper training, and see some certificates. Do the needed and advance in your environmental specialist career without any hassle.
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