Environmental health officer

Environmental health officers make sure homes and work places are safe, hygienic and healthy.

What does an environmental health officer do?

Environmental health officers make sure homes and work places are safe, hygienic and healthy. You might specialise in one of these areas, or you might deal with all environmental health issues in your local area or company. Your work could involve:

  • 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 cases that go to court
  • keeping records and writing reports
  • advising employers on all environmental health matters

What do I need to do to become an environmental health officer?

To become an environmental health officer, you’ll need to study either an undergraduate or postgraduate degree that has been approved by the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH). You will then need to complete a period of work-based training and pass a series of professional exams.

To do an environmental health degree you will usually need five GCSEs (A-C) and a minimum of two A levels. Check with universities for exact entry requirements – vocational courses are acceptable for some degree courses.   

A levels in a science or technology subject may be required for some courses.

Level 3 vocational courses linked to science would be relevant for this work. Check with universities about acceptability. 

Related skills

  • Attention to detail
  • Communication
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Organisation
  • Patience
  • Problem solving
  • Teamwork
  • Technical ability

Academic route

  • A levels in science or technology subject

Vocational route

  • Level 3 courses linked to science

Related subjects

  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Geography

Essential qualifications

  • Undergraduate or postgraduate degree in environmental science, approved by the CIEH
  • CIEH professional exams
  • Work-based training

Where to find out more

Where could I be working?

You could be working indoors or outdoors, for a small or medium-sized company.

Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0

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