Public health is more necessary than ever. With about 1.8 billion job openings projected each year in health-related occupations, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), it’s no surprise that many students are now pursuing degrees in Public Health. The demand and job security is there, and likely to stay.
Furthermore, careers in this field extend far beyond jobs as nurses and doctors. For example, health and safety specialists, like sanitarians, are equally essential, These professionals ensure that the places in which we live, work, and play are safe, healthy, and adhere to set health and safety regulations.
Does this field sound intriguing to you? Learn more about what a registered sanitarian does, why they are essential to our well-being, and how to launch a career in this important line of work.
What is a Registered Sanitarian?
Public health is the science of protecting and improving the health of individuals, communities, and populations. Public health professionals, like registered sanitarians, dedicate their lives to promoting health and prolonging people’s lives.
Sanitarians, also called environmental or occupational health specialists, identify risks and enforce environmental regulations, health, and safety of everyday environments that humans interact with.
These qualified and trained professionals work in public health divisions of towns, cities, counties, states, and even the private sector. Individuals in this profession are passionate about making a difference in our communities by keeping the environments around us safe and sanitary.
What Does a Registered Sanitarian Do?
Registered sanitarians are responsible for inspecting workplaces and ensuring those workplaces meet safety, health, and environmental regulations. They do so by looking for physical or environmental factors that could affect employees’ and customers’ health, safety, and comfort.
Standard duties and responsibilities of sanitarians and other occupational health and safety specialists include:
- Designing and implementing workplace programs and procedures that control or prevent chemical, physical, or other risks to workers
- Educating employers and workers about maintaining workplace safety
- Demonstrating use of safety equipment and ensuring proper use of equipment
- Investigating incidents to determine the cause and possible prevention
- Preparing written reports of their findings
Furthermore, they conduct inspections in environments that must stay sanitary, such as water treatment facilities, healthcare organizations, and swimming pools.
Why Are Sanitarians Important?
Without registered sanitarians, our homes and workplaces could quickly become unhealthy and unsafe. In fact, though many countries benefit from the work of these professionals, many nations lack proper sanitation infrastructure, and thousands of lives are lost as a result.
For these reasons, sanitarians are vital to a healthy world, especially in areas with inconsistent access to clean drinking water, proper sanitation, and waste facilities. Sanitarians help these communities by working with government or local authorities to improve sanitation standards and quality of life.
Additionally, these individuals ensure the provision and security for safe workplace standards by leading evaluations of high-risk workplaces such as hospitals, construction sites, factories, food processing and preparation facilities.
How Do You Become a Registered Sanitarian?
Working as a sanitarian includes taking samples, writing reports, and proposing suggestions and solutions for strengthening community health. In order to do so, candidates need to gain the skills, knowledge, and education required by earning their degree and in-field experience.
Step 1: Earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Public Health
The first step to becoming a sanitarian is to earn a bachelor’s degree, such as a Bachelor’s in Public Health, Occupational Health and Safety, engineering, or science.
All these degrees are relevant to the field of sanitation and provide a strong foundation for public health policy and managing public health emergencies.
Step 2: Gain In-Field Experience
Many employers require on-the-job training and in-field experience for candidates to know how to keep an environment healthy and safe. Plus, this type of training ensures no mistakes are made, and everything is inspected efficiently.
While the length of this training will vary depending on a candidate’s level of experience, education, and the industry in which they work, it will likely involve learning specific laws and regulations, how to perform inspections, and how to conduct tests.
Step 3: Earn a Master’s Degree in Public Health
While there are employers who hire candidates with a bachelor’s degree, many require and prefer to employ sanitarian candidates with an advanced degree in the public health field, such as a Master’s in Public Health (MPH).
Master’s in Public Health degrees provide the advanced education and training necessary to safeguard public health at the highest level. Master’s students take courses in the following areas:
- Environmental Health
- Injury Prevention
- Occupational Health
- Infectious Disease
- Public Health Policy
Plus, programs like Goodwin University also allow students to select a concentration, like global health, community health, or health policy and management, to specialize in order to further align their degree with their personal and career interests and goals.
Wondering if Goodwin’s MPH program is the right fit for you? Check out our downloadable MPH Get Started Guide and learn more about our track offerings, tuition, curriculum, and more!
Step 4: Obtain Certification as a Registered Sanitarian
To take a career as a sanitarian a step further, candidates can earn certification to become a certified or registered sanitarian.
For example, the National Environmental Health Association offers the Registered Environmental Health Specialists/Registered Sanitarian certification. Other organizations that provide occupational health and safety specialists certifications include the Board for Global EHS Credentialing, the Board of Certified Safety Professionals, and the National Association of Safety Professionals.
The certification process often requires graduating from accredited educational institutions and programs, completing work experience, and passing an examination, whereas maintaining one’s certification requires completing a certain number of hours of continuing education.
Step 5: Start Your Registered Sanitarian Career
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the employment of occupational health and safety specialists and technicians, which registered sanitarians fall under, is projected to grow 13 percent by 2032, much faster than the average for all occupations.
Graduates of Master’s in Public Health programs find exciting and rewarding sanitarian careers in emergency management, healthcare administration, health insurance companies, public health education, as well as clinics, hospitals, mental health facilities, state and local health departments, and government agencies.
Candidates can expect to earn a median annual wage of $78,570, with the highest ten percent earning more than $121,510, as reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
If you are passionate about keeping others and our world healthy and safe, consider a career as a registered sanitarian by earning a Master’s in Public Health degree online at Goodwin University. Our flexible and affordable online program has six start dates, seven-week terms, and even a twelve to fifteen-month accelerated option to fit your needs and schedule.
Plus, thanks to a $1.5 million scholarship grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration, new students interested in this degree can enroll tuition-free for the fall 2023 semester.