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Environmental health

What do Environmental Health Officers do?

It is an extremely varied job, with challenges both personal and professional, as no 2 days are ever the same. As an Environmental Health Officer ('EHO') you will go out and about - you'll meet people, you'll listen, you'll offer support and advice, you'll negotiate and you'll take action.

A career in the environmental health field involves anything and everything that affects public health whether at a local, regional or national level. You will use your specialist skills to develop, co-ordinate and implement public health policies designed to ensure that everyone has the same chance of a better quality of life in a healthier society.

EHOs are committed to improving public health in:

  • food safety and nutrition

  • housing conditions

  • the environment

  • workplace health and safety

Is environmental health the right career for you?

Good communication skills are essential. As an EHO you will need to be able to listen, reason, persuade and influence. You have to be flexible and be equally comfortable working on your own or as part of a team. You must have the right personality to handle challenging situations.

Getting qualified

To become qualified as an EHO in the UK it is necessary to be accepted on a course accredited by the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health at a university or college.

Entry requirements

Entry requirements for school leavers include science A levels or an appropriate GNVQ or an equivalent BTEC qualification. All universities and colleges offering an accredited course have more flexible requirements for mature students. You should contact the individual university for further details.

The undergraduate programme (BSc Hons) requires an entrant to have GCSE passes at grade C or better in English language, mathematics, biology, chemistry and physics and at least 160 points at AS and A2 level, with a science subject at A2 or 200 points at AS and A2 level without a science subject.

Alternatively, applicants should have a BTEC national certificate or diploma in an appropriate science or technology with at least 5 merit passes in subjects at N level or above, or a BTEC higher national certificate or diploma in an appropriate science or technology subject, or qualifications and experience considered to be the equivalent of the above after due consideration by the admitting university. Exceptional entrants not qualified under the above may be allowed with prior approval of the CIEH.

Practical training

Becoming qualified as an EHO involves both academic study and practical training. This is normally a sandwich course which integrates theoretical academic training with practical training so that each can build on the other. It is important that the course enrolled on is accredited by the CIEH. If it is not, it will not lead to a qualification as an EHO.

For more information please see the related links on the right.

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