Pursuing a bachelor’s degree in environmental health and safety enhances your knowledge of several aspects of environmental management from occupational hygiene and public health to toxicology and environmental sustainability. Graduates are able to identify and control or eliminate activities that can potentially affect the quality of environment in our homes, workplaces, hospitals or schools. As such, they are qualified to pursue a variety of jobs in diverse settings, ranging from healthcare to education and research.
Before highlighting the careers you can pursue, here is a list of some of the universities offering accredited undergraduate programs in environmental health and safety.
- Missouri State University, Missouri
- Rochester Institute of Technology, New York
- Indiana State of Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania
So, which careers are we looking at?
1. Industrial Hygienist
Industrial hygienists work to control environmental hazards that can lead to injury or ill health in the workplace. In a pharmaceutical manufacturing plant, for example, these hygienists determine whether their fumes that are produced during manufacturing are injurious to production workers and the immediate community. They then recommend suitable measures to control the hazards. Apart from manufacturing plants, these hygienists can work in hazardous waste companies, hospitals and many other types of organizations. According to Salary.com, the median annual wage for industrial hygienists is $79,338.
2. Emergency Management Specialist
Emergency management specialists help to handle crises such as floods, earthquakes and oil spills. They develop disaster preparedness programs and train employees on how to handle various crises. During an emergency, it is their job to coordinate response activities. Although these specialists can work in any organization, government agencies, nuclear plants, humanitarian organizations and crisis management companies are the main employers. Payscale reports that the median annual wage for emergency management specialists is $56,487.
Although many aspiring toxicologists enter the profession through a bachelor’s degree in toxicology, those with a degree in environmental health and safety can also get the job because the program offers toxicology coursework. Toxicologists study the effects of various chemicals on human beings and their surroundings. They help organizations that deal with chemicals and chemical products to minimize workers’ exposure to harmful chemicals. The median annual salary for toxicologists is $72,102, according to data compiled by Salary.com.
4. Construction Safety Inspector
Construction activities often pollute the environment. Government agencies hire construction safety experts with a background in environmental health and safety to work as inspectors. Their job is to inspect both residential and commercial construction projects and detect regulatory violations. If you feel this is the career for you, the Bureau of Labor Statistics says you should expect to earn $56,430 a year.
5. Social Responsibility Expert
Social responsibility experts with a bachelor’s degree in environmental health and safety help organizations to implement community projects that protect the environment. They conduct research to identify the community’s environmental problems and determine the initiatives that can best address these problems. If factories operating within the area pollute the environment, then initiating an air purification project is an environmentally-sound decision. To get this job, you will also need significant environmental management experience. According to Indeed, social responsibility experts earn $74,000 a year.
These are just some of the career openings available for environmental health and safety professionals. Some graduates also become air quality specialists and hazardous waste specialists.
Evidently, your desire to protect the environment combined with a bachelor’s degree in environmental health and safety can lead to several occupations.