5 Careers with an EHS Degree

5 Careers with an EHS DegreeEnvironmental health is a science of human injury and illness prevention as well as well-being advancement. This study includes identifying and analyzing environments and hazardous agents while limiting exposures to other hazardous physical, chemical, and biological agents in elements that may affect health. It is a science in balance and defense that protects people and the environment with a focus on preventative measures.

An Environmental Health Science degree is the first step towards a variety of gratifying jobs. They can range from teaching to fieldwork, and some require further education to qualify. Even though each job may specialize in a certain area of environmental health, they do retain some similarities.

Most environment health jobs offer above average salaries starting at the entry level. However, they can involve some unavoidable dangers and stresses due to the nature of the jobs.  That is why an EHS degree should be paired with skills such as effective communication, detail oriented, problem-solving, physical health and stamina, and team compatibility. Students will do well if they are passionate, prepared, and excited to be involved with a science critical to people’s well-being.

Environmental Health and Safety Specialist

Environmental health and safety specialists protect the public and environment by identifying issues, enforcing regulations, analyzing hazards, and preventing accidents or injuries. They work with safety policies, perusing them for weaknesses and effectiveness, and suggest changes that can optimize safety and health. Job responsibilities include: educating and training in management programs, accident investigations, ensuring safety compliance, creative proactive safety and environmental programs, and improve the quality of established regulations and practices.

Specialists made a median of $77,946 per year in 2015 with a 6% growth rate in the next 10 years. Manufacturing and construction companies are some of the leading employers of environmental health and safety specialists, but more companies have been hiring recently to increase the safety and health of their employees.

Corporate Health and Safety Director

Corporate Health and Safety Directors work closely with the CEO, CFO, HR Director, and other upper management to ensure consistent and up-to-date implementation of safety practices. As the director, they are responsible for wholly providing and directing safety and health programs. A few parts of that responsibility is continuously developing and utilizing safety practices, occasional auditing to test compliance with corporate and OSHA safety requirements, and manage specific health and safety plans for remediation.

It is important to have practiced skills to qualify for employment as a corporate health and safety director. Skills can include, but are not limited to, advanced health and safety knowledge, OSHA requirements knowledge, organizational and supervisory skills. Directors oversee large amounts of employees, and are responsible for keeping them safe. In 2015, this position earned a median salary of $126,800, making it one of the higher paid OSHA positions.

Food Safety Inspector

Inspectors are the first line of defense, protecting consumers from diseased and spoiled foods. They are responsible for applying, interpreting, and explaining food product standards, not to mention the daily in-house inspection of products before and after processing. Inspectors must be prepared to work in noisy, industrial environments, indoors and outdoors, in exaggerated temperatures, and need to have physical stamina along with attention to detail.

There are multiple career paths, such as a “consumer safety inspector” They work mostly in privately owned meat, poultry, and egg processing plants. They guarantee operations are within safety, health, and sanitation regulations as well as administer regulatory inspections in other areas related to consumer health. Another career is that of an “import inspector”. They work at ports or other points of entry into the U.S, checking imports from other countries for adherence to strict safety and health guidelines.

Private commercial slaughter plants and farms hire food safety inspectors, but none more so than the U.S government. The United States Department of Agriculture is one of the primary employers of inspectors, protecting and preventing dangerous foods from entering commercial streams. In 2016, median salary for a food safety inspector was $48,924 per year and a high of $62,000, along with a 5% growth rate for the following 10 years.

Health and Safety Engineer

Engineers in this field create protocol and implement systems to defend people and property against sickness, injury, and damage. They merge the knowledge of systems engineering and health and safety to assure chemicals, machinery, software and all other consumer products will not harm people or property. They mostly work in an office setting, with occasional travel for on-site work. In 2015, the median salary for a safety and health engineer was $84,600, and they have a projected 6% growth rate for the next 10 years. Manufacturing, construction, and industrial plants are the lead employers of health and safety engineers, but the government offers heavy employment as well.

OSHA Inspector

Inspectors hired directly by OSHA through the Department of Labor conduct inspections on private and public facilities for compliance with federal laws. While there are varied inspecting jobs, from auditing biochemical hazard regulations to the safety of office workers, they start with three specific OSHA career paths.

OSHA’s three paths are through industrial hygienists, safety engineers, and safety and occupational health specialists. Industrial hygienists focus on providing advice regarding environmental issues that may be present. Safety engineers provide advice and insight specifically targeted towards compliance with health and safety laws. Safety and occupational health specialists work with employee comfort and office ergonomics as well as ventilation and lighting.

Due to the variety of OSHA inspector positions, the median salary is a larger range. They may make anywhere between $48,000 to $72,000 annually.

Learn More

Learn to identify and analyze potential workplace hazards, infractions and risks through a bachelor of science in occupational safety online.  Our Eastern Kentucky University bachelor’s degree in safety can help you grow within the industry and cement a career as a leader in the effort to protect workers. Expand your knowledge and understanding of the field by diving into topics ranging from employee safety education to regulatory compliance to policy and enforcement.


“ExploreHealthCareers.org.” Environmental Health Sciences. N.p., n.d. Web. http://explorehealthcareers.org/en/Career/47/Environmental_Health_Sciences

“Study” ASPPH. N.p., n.d. Web. http://www.aspph.org/study/environmental-health/

“Epidemiologist” U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, n.d. Web. http://www.bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/epidemiologists.htm

“FSIS” USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service. N.p., n.d. Web. http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/home

“Definitions of Environmental Health.” National Environmental Health Association: NEHA. N.p., n.d. Web. http://www.neha.org/about-neha/definitions-environmental-health