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How Do I Become a Health Inspector?

Certain facilities, such as public facilities and manufacturing environments, undergo routine health inspections.
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  • Written By: Tricia Ellis-Christensen
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 25 August 2014
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There are many different careers in health inspection, and each have specific requirements for the person who wants to become a health inspector. Most people may assume that a health inspector is someone who primarily is responsible for checking restaurants to be certain they are operating in a safe and hygienic manner, in accordance with state or country laws. Yet there are other jobs that may have the title of health inspector or environmental health specialist, and these include jobs where the main inspection would be of housing units, or environments that serve the public like public swimming pools, nursing homes, and day care centers. Some inspectors may be certified to investigate health and safety of more than one type of thing.

Some people are able to become a health inspector with a high school diploma and on the job training. They may have take to exams for which their job trains them or to apply for certification. Good communication skills are needed, since a health inspector often writes reports about findings. Therefore, in high school, people should be certain to focus on doing well in English classes.

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While there are some people who can become a health inspector with a high school diploma, others may need extra education. Some A.A. degrees exist that focus on inspection in specific fields. More often, people may need to pursue bachelor's level training. In a few jobs, graduate work is needed so that inspector has enough training to truly spot any potential health hazards. Again this will depend on area in which people work. About a third of people who are inspectors possess only a high school diploma, and the rest have an A.A. degree or higher in their field.

Though this is not always a requirement, those wishing to become a health inspector also may need certification in their area of expertise. There are a number of certifying agencies in the US such as the Board of Certified Safety Professionals, the Indoor Air Quality Association, and The Council on Certification of Health, Environmental, and Safety Technologists. Since there are so many certifying agencies, it’s important to check with local agencies employing inspectors in the varied areas to see which certification is appropriate.

The person who wants to become a health inspector in most fields needs to train for their job and can best find out what training is needed by looking at requirements in each field. No matter what training exists, health inspectors often have to be prepared to be in environments that may not be healthy, and especially in government inspection capacity, they can deal with people who are upset that their places of work are under inspection. At other times, businesses or organizations fully comply with all requirements of safety laws.

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Sporkasia
Post 4

I actually base my selection of restaurants on the health inspection stickers, the ones with the scores for everyone to see. Well, that's not the only factor when I choose a restaurant, but if I see a sign with a score less than 95 percent then I'm going to have second thoughts.

The thing is that I know the score doesn't tell the entire story. A restaurant can lose points for a variety of reasons and some violations are worse than others. Still, any score below 95 is suspect to me.

Animandel
Post 3

Drentel - I agree with you that health inspectors should be well trained in their responsibilities. No one wants any business to be closed unfairly or because of the actions and recommendations of poorly trained inspectors.

However, I worry more about health inspectors missing violations because they are not prepared to carry out their jobs. This could endanger large numbers of people, and there are some health violations that can lead to deaths.

Drentel
Post 2

I think health inspectors should have as much training as possible because their reports and recommendations have the ability to affect so many people. Restaurants and facilities that don't pass health inspections are on their way to no longer being in operation.

Shouldn't people with this much influence be held to high standards? I'm not saying health inspectors need to be doctors and nurses or have as much training as people in those positions, but reading a book on how to become a public health inspector and taking a test shouldn't be enough training to hold the position.

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