Health inspectors play an important role in protecting the health and safety of our communities. On a daily basis, these specialists examine, test, and evaluate workplace conditions and environments, to ensure both employees and consumers are kept safe. This means confirming that government regulations are followed, safety standards are met, and processes are put in place to maintain the public health. Health inspectors may observe restaurants, schools and childcare centers, factories, grocery stores, and an array of other public spaces where health is a priority.
While health inspectors carry out their work in a variety of settings, they are typically employed by a government agency, such as a state’s Department of Public Health. Because of this, most health inspectors are expected to have a bachelor’s degree, combined with coursework or experience in the field of public health. Some employers also require certification and licensure.
Below, we outline the steps to become a health inspector in the state of Connecticut.
- Pursue your Bachelor’s Degree.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, health inspectors (formally known as occupational health and safety specialists) need a college education. Specifically, most health inspection jobs today require a bachelor’s degree in a related field, such as public health.
A bachelor’s degree in public health will equip you with knowledge in the sciences, public health policies, occupational safety, and other subject matter that is applicable to this role. At Goodwin, for example, you can find public health courses covering relevant topics such as:
- Occupational Health in the United States
- Injury Prevention and Public Safety
- Public Health Policy
- Community Health
- Health Behavior and Chronic Disease
- Human Health in the Environment
For advanced health inspector positions, such as that of a Sanitarian, a master’s degree in public health, industrial hygiene, or another related subject may be required. However, in order to enter a master’s degree program, a bachelor’s degree must be your first stepping-stone.
- Develop the necessary skills.
Due to the nature of their work, health inspectors must have a critical eye for detail, strong communication, and a knack for problem solving. They must be able to carry out everyday aspects of their role, such as writing reports, investigating incidents, and educating employers or workers about safety practices. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, health inspectors should hone skills in:
- Written and oral communication, in order to effectively communicate safety instructions, deliver safety training, and prepare written reports.
- Technology, as health inspectors often work with complex testing equipment.
- Detailed investigations, by ensuring a careful eye for small details and a solid understanding of current health and safety regulations.
- Problem-solving, in order to assess situations and implement safety procedures that protect workers from hazardous conditions.
- Physical stamina, as health inspectors may stand for long periods of time, travel regularly, or work within tight quarters.
- Get licensed and certified.
Certification requirements vary state to state. While certification for health inspectors is voluntary for many entry-level positions in Connecticut, it is highly recommended for career advancement and mobility. Becoming a certified health inspector can also make you more marketable when entering the workforce, and help you stand out amongst the competition.
In Connecticut, there are different certifications and licensures you can obtain within the field of public and environmental health. Here are some of the many examples from the Connecticut State Department of Public Health (CT DPH). Each role has its own requirements and steps to become certified. For example, to become a certified food inspector in Connecticut, you must complete required training courses from the FDA (Food & Drug Administration) as well as a number of training inspections.
Connecticut health inspectors may choose to become Registered Sanitarians (RS), for which licensure is required. A Registered Sanitarian is a certified environmental health that is qualified to carry out specialized investigations of air, water, sewage, food, housing, and more. In order to fulfill this title, one must complete the CT DPH Registered Sanitarian application, get approved, and successfully complete the national certification exam.
How to Become a Health Inspector Today
The need for public health inspectors is growing. In 2019, the BLS predicted that roughly 3,800 new occupational health and safety specialist jobs will be added nationwide. However, after facing the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s likely this number will grow. Global Health Now reports that there is an “unprecedented awareness” around the importance of public health, and assures that the demand for public health professionals will only grow bigger during this pandemic and beyond.
Not only this, but there is great reward within this profession—particularly within Connecticut. Connecticut is ranked among the top-paying states for occupational health and safety specialists, offering an average salary of over $84,000 annually. If you are looking to break into the field of health inspection, there is no better time to get started.
If you reside in Connecticut and are seeking a public health school to get started, consider Goodwin University. Goodwin offers a bachelor’s degree in public health, as well as a Master’s in public health (MPH) program for those looking to launch a Sanitarian career. Learn more by calling 800-889-3282.
Goodwin University is a nonprofit institution of higher education and is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE), formerly known as the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). Goodwin University was founded in 1999, with the goal of serving a diverse student population with career-focused degree programs that lead to strong employment outcomes.