How Do I Become an Occupational Hygienist?

Angela Crout-Mitchell

There are several crucial steps that must be taken in order to become an occupational hygienist, including receiving the correct type of education, gaining important experience, and taking the correct examinations for certification. Occupational hygienists are trained professionals that use their education and skills to ensure that work places conform with the expected safety and environmental policies set in place by the local governing bodies and industry guidelines. Becoming an occupational hygienist requires in depth knowledge of engineering and science, as well as creativity and problem solving skills. Prospective students will find there are many different colleges and universities equipped to provide an adequate education.

Woman posing
Woman posing

Taking occupational hygienist courses is the first step to become an occupational hygienist. In order to be eligible for this career, it is necessary to attend and complete a bachelor's degree of science, engineering, or another associated field. Given the wide range of suitable bachelor's degree subjects available in the engineering and science fields, most students are able to find a college or university with little difficulty. Students will want to select a respected school with an excellent reputation and qualified faculty for their education.

In addition to attending college and receiving a bachelor's degree, experience is required before a candidate is able to reach certification status. To become an occupational hygienist, the student must also participate in a work study program with an accredited employer and receive training beyond the traditional occupational hygienist courses. Most licensing agencies require at least three years of on the job training before the candidate is qualified and eligible to sit for various certification exams.

There are several important exams you are required to take and pass before you become an occupational hygienist. In the United States, the American Board of Industrial Hygiene requires prospective hygienists to complete their bachelor's degrees and two years of work study before being eligible to take the chemical and core examinations. Upon successful completion of these exams, the student is considered to be a Diplomate of the American Academy of Industrial Hygiene.

The final step to become an occupational hygienist involves further education and another exam. To take the certified industrial hygienist exam, the candidate must have completed his or her education and have four years of on-the-job experience. After passing the exam, the occupational hygienist is fully certified and licensed to work in his or her chosen field.

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