How to Become an Industrial Hygienist


Career Path Guide

Are you interested in a career that allows you to help improve the safety of workplaces? Are you interested in a career that allows you to conduct work in the office as well as in the field? Would working closely with other professionals in your field appeal to you?


If you’ve answered ‘yes’ to these questions, you may be well suited for a career as an industrial hygienist.


Below we've outlined what you'll need to succeed in this profession. We've also included helpful information for an industrial hygienist career, such as job description, job duties, salary expectations, a list of possible employers and much more!



Education Needed to Become an Industrial Hygienist

Industrial hygienists typically need a bachelor’s degree in industrial or occupational health, safety, or a related scientific or technical field, such as engineering, biology, or chemistry. Some employers may require you to have a graduate degree is required in industrial hygiene, health physics, or a related subject.


Typical coursework may include radiation science, hazardous material management and control, risk communications, and respiratory protection. The specific coursework you should pursue will depend on which area you plan to specialize in. For example, courses in health physics focus on topics separate from those in industrial hygiene.


Success Tip: Even if an employer does not require you to have a graduate degree to gain employment with them, it is recommended to have one, as it can grant you access to a higher pay grade and senior level positions.





Typical Job Description

Industrial hygienists, also known as occupational hygienists, are responsible for overseeing a variety of investigative, inspection related, and consultative professional assignments to prevent occupational diseases and improve the work environment and safety of the public and private labour forces.



Typical Job Duties of Industrial Hygienists

The responsibilities of industrial hygienists vary depending on the industry, workplace, and the types of hazards affecting employees; these responsibilities typically include:


• Participate in special studies and monitoring programs

• Examine plans and specifications of proposed contaminant and physical agent control

• Consult with management, industrial engineers, employee representatives and other relevant agencies regarding industrial health problems and solutions

• Perform follow up activities to endure corrective measures are carried out when necessary

• Evaluate investigation findings, proposed corrective measures, and compliance with health rules, regulations, standards and legislation

• Review plans for health hazard control procedures

• Interpret rules and regulations to officials of industry and other relevant parties

• Uses ventilation testing equipment and special measuring devices for the determination of airflow rates, noise, lasers, and other physical factors in the work place



Work Experience Needed

Although it may not be mandatory, many employers in the field of industrial hygiene prefer hiring candidates who have work experience. Working an internship, co-op or practicum position can be a great way to gain in-field experience as a student. Speak with your professors or your school’s career services office in order to get information on such opportunities. 



Certification for Becoming an Industrial Hygienist

Certification is not typically mandatory in order to work as an occupational hygienist, though most practitioners choose to become certified through the Canadian Registration Board of Occupational Hygienists (CRBOH).


Registration with the CRBOH confers the right to use the title Registered Occupational Hygienist (ROH) or Registered Occupational Hygiene Technologist (ROHT), and indicates the attainment and maintenance of a high standard of professionalism.





Industrial Hygienist Salary

The salary level of industrial hygienists can vary depending on a variety of factors such as their level of education, their level of experience, where they work and a variety of other factors.


Industrial Hygienist Salary - United States: According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, workers in the Occupational Health and Safety Specialists occupational group (which includes indsutrial hygienists) earn a median salary of $73,600 per year (may, 2017 figures).


Salary in Canada: According to the 2019 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey, Albertans employed in the Natural and Applied Science Policy Researchers, Consultants, and Program Officers (which includes industrial hygienists) occupational group earn an average salary of $81,207. Meanwhile in B.C., WorkBC states that those in the same occupational group earn an annual provincial median salary of $89,149. Unfortunately, no similar statistics were available from reliable sources for other Canadian provinces or territories at the time of writing (October 15, 2019).



Who Employs Industrial Hygienists?

There are many types of organizations that employ individuals with the skills, knowledge and competencies of industrial hygienists in order to ensure their workplaces are safe; these organizations may include:


• Industrial plants (such as manufacturing, oil and gas, agriculture, transportation, and forestry plants)

• Municipal, provincial/state and federal government departments

• Occupational health and safety consulting firms

• Public utility companies

• Insurance companies

• Hospitals

• Labour unions

• Colleges and universities

• Research institutions

• Self-employment (typically on a consultancy basis)



Current Job Postings

Our job board below has "industrial hygienist" postings in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia.




Similar Occupations

Listed below are jobs that are similar in nature to "industrial hygienist", as they involve many of the same skills, competencies and responsibilities.




ISO Auditor

Public Health Inspector

Safety Coordinator

Safety Engineer



References: Industrial Hygienist Career

Please use the references below to find more information on the various aspects of a career as an Industrial Hygienist.


Occupations in Alberta:Occupational Hygienist.” (March 21, 2019). ALIS website - Alberta Learning Information Service. Retrieved October 15, 2019.

Explore Careers:Natural and applied science policy researchers, consultants and program officers (NOC 4161).” (December 11, 2018). WorkBC website - Province of British Columbia. Retrieved October 15, 2019.

Occupational Employment Statistics:Occupational Health and Safety Specialists.” (March 30, 2019). United States Bureau of Labor Statistics website. Retrieved October 15, 2019.

Career profiles: “Occupational Hygienist.” (n.d.). ECO Canada website. Retrieved October 15, 2019.

Membership:FAQs.” (n.d.). Canadian Registration Board of Occupational Hygienists. Retrieved October 15, 2019.




Scholarships for Becoming an Industrial Hygienist

All of the scholarships found on our Biology Scholarships and Environmental Science Scholarships pages are relevant for becoming an industrial hygienist.


Success Tip: Be sure to apply for any scholarships that you even barely qualify for, as there are millions of dollars of scholarships that go unused every year due to a lack of applicants!



Relevant University Majors

Studying one of the university majors listed below can make help set a great foundation for this profession:


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