Health Inspector: Education & Career Requirements

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a health inspector. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about degree programs, job duties and registration to find out if this is the career for you.

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Essential Information

Health inspectors ensure compliance with environmental and sanitation standards. They investigate and enforce health statutes for restaurants, hotels, swimming pools and industrial complexes. They typically complete a bachelor's degree program in a natural science, though some jobs may be available to individuals without a degree who have completed a minimum amount of coursework in the sciences.

Required Education Bachelor's degree common
Other Requirements Registration with state or county
Projected Job Growth* 7% between 2012 and 2022 (occupational health and safety specialists)
Median Salary (2013)* $67,960 (occupational health and safety specialists)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Educational Requirements to Become a Health Inspector

Health inspectors, also known as sanitarians or environmental health specialists, typically earn a bachelor's degree in environmental health, sanitary science or a natural science. Students who've completed any bachelor's degree program that includes 30 semester hours or 45 quarter hours of natural sciences are generally eligible for sanitarian positions. Some employers may not require a degree as long as applicants have completed 30 semester hours of natural sciences coursework.

Natural science courses that commonly meet eligibility requirements include biology, chemistry, physics, pathology, anatomy, air pollution, industrial hygiene, soil science, toxicology and public health. Social sciences, such as anthropology and psychology, may not apply. Organizations that accredit programs relevant to health inspectors include the National Environmental Health Science and Protection Accreditation Council and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.

Registration Information for a Health Inspector

Most state or county health departments require individuals to pass a registration examination to be able to practice as a health inspector. In addition to satisfying an education requirement, most municipalities also require some work experience in health inspection or a related field to be eligible to sit for the examination.

Professional organizations, such as the National Environmental Health Association (NEHA) typically administer the registration examinations, which occur several times per year. Common test topics include sampling and investigative procedures, food safety, water, wastewater, hazardous materials and pests.

Continuing Education Requirements

Most municipalities require environmental health specialists to renew their registration with a requirement to complete continuing education credits to be eligible for renewal. Registration renewal typically takes place every 1-2 years and requires 12-15 hours of continuing education per calendar year. Continuing education providers may include government agencies, non-profit professional organizations and accredited universities.

Salary and Career Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimated a 7% job growth for occupational health and safety specialists for the years 2012 through 2022. These workers earned $67,960 as a median yearly wage in 2013.

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Popular Schools

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must complete an application online and submit transcripts for their highest degree earned.
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

    What is your highest level of education?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must live within close proximity to school locations
    • Must be graduated from high school by 2011
    School locations:
    • Florida (2 campuses)
    • Texas (3 campuses)

    Classroom-Based Programs

    What is your highest level of education?

Other Schools:

  • School locations:
    • Rhode Island (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Brown University include:
      • Graduate: First Professional Degree, Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Medical and Health Professions
      • Medical Ethics and Bioethics
      • Medical Residency Programs
      • Public Health and Safety
        • Community Health and Preventive Medicine
        • Public Health Medicine, Treatment
  • School locations:
    • Iowa (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at University of Iowa include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Medical and Health Professions
      • Clinical Laboratory Science Professions
      • Communication Disorders Sciences
      • Dental
      • Health and Fitness
      • Medical Diagnostic and Treatment Professions
      • Medical Residency Programs
      • Mental Health Services
      • Nursing Professions
      • Pharmaceutical Sciences and Administration
      • Public Health and Safety
        • Community Health and Preventive Medicine
        • Environmental Health
        • Health Services Administration
        • Medical Scientist
        • Occupational Health and Industrial Hygiene
      • Therapeutic and Rehabilitation Professions
  • School locations:
    • Pennsylvania (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Temple University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: First Professional Certificate, Post Master's Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Medical and Health Professions
      • Communication Disorders Sciences
      • Dental
      • Medical Administrative Services
      • Medical Residency Programs
      • Nursing Professions
      • Pharmaceutical Sciences and Administration
      • Podiatry - DPM
      • Public Health and Safety
        • Community Health and Preventive Medicine
        • Environmental Health
        • Public Health Education
      • Therapeutic and Rehabilitation Professions
  • School locations:
    • Oregon (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Portland State University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Medical and Health Professions
      • Communication Disorders Sciences
      • Medical Administrative Services
      • Mental Health Services
      • Nutrition Services
      • Public Health and Safety
        • Community Health and Preventive Medicine
        • Public Health Education
        • Public Health Medicine, Treatment
  • School locations:
    • Wisconsin (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at University of Wisconsin include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Medical and Health Professions
      • Clinical Laboratory Science Professions
      • Communication Disorders Sciences
      • Health and Fitness
      • Medical and Health Preparatory Sciences
      • Medical Diagnostic and Treatment Professions
      • Medical Residency Programs
      • Nursing Professions
      • Nutrition Services
      • Pharmaceutical Sciences and Administration
      • Public Health and Safety
        • Community Health and Preventive Medicine
      • Therapeutic and Rehabilitation Professions
      • Veterinary Medicine and Clinical Sciences
  • School locations:
    • Texas (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at The University of Texas include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Medical and Health Professions
      • Clinical Laboratory Science Professions
      • Medical Diagnostic and Treatment Professions
      • Medical Ethics and Bioethics
      • Medical Residency Programs
      • Nursing Professions
      • Public Health and Safety
        • Community Health and Preventive Medicine
      • Therapeutic and Rehabilitation Professions
  • School locations:
    • Indiana (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Indiana University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Non-Degree: Coursework
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Medical and Health Professions
      • Communication Disorders Sciences
      • Health and Fitness
      • Optometric and Ophthalmic Services
      • Public Health and Safety
        • Community Health and Preventive Medicine
        • Public Health Medicine, Treatment
  • School locations:
    • Illinois (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Southern Illinois University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Medical and Health Professions
      • Communication Disorders Sciences
      • Dental
      • Health and Fitness
      • Medical Administrative Services
      • Medical Assisting
      • Medical Diagnostic and Treatment Professions
      • Medical Residency Programs
      • Nutrition Services
      • Public Health and Safety
        • Community Health and Preventive Medicine
      • Therapeutic and Rehabilitation Professions

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Avg. Wages For Related Jobs

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics