How Do I Become an Environmental Health Practitioner?

Angela Crout-Mitchell
Angela Crout-Mitchell
Woman with hand on her hip
Woman with hand on her hip

There are several crucial steps you have to undertake if you wish to become an environmental health practitioner, including receiving the correct education, gaining valuable experience, and applying to the best agencies and companies to obtain a position in your chosen field. As an environmental health practitioner, helping to ensure public health, understanding the effects of common pollutants on the various body systems, and establishing ways to reduce those effects are common professional goals. The education and training for this field is constantly changing and evolving, and colleges and universities that offer environmental health studies consistently update their curriculum to reflect those changes.

The first step to become an environmental health practitioner is to obtain the right education and degrees to be hired and properly perform the job functions. Most candidates choose to work towards a bachelor's degree in one of the major sciences first, such as chemistry, biology, or physics, though environmental engineering and geology are good choices as well. Some colleges and universities offer environmental health as a major, and you can choose to attend one of these schools, though it may require distance learning courses or relocation. It is not uncommon for potential environmental health practitioners to work towards a master's degree as well, because this step helps to promote a career and is often required by some employers.

In addition to receiving the correct type of education, many job market experts suggest that those that wish to become an environmental health practitioner work in an internship or other networking position before or immediately following graduation in order to make connections within the environmental health field. Many college advisers can assist students in finding these types of positions. Some are paid work, and others offer valuable experience only with no pay.

Once you have taken all of the necessary steps to become an environmental health practitioner, it is vital to know which agencies and companies to apply to. It is common for local and federal government agencies to employ environmental health practitioners in a variety of different applications, including different branches of the military. These practitioners are asked to use their skills to design programs to protect the health of the community or military personnel, depending on the job location. Environmental health positions are becoming increasingly popular within the private sector of business and medical health care as well.

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      Woman with hand on her hip