How to Become a Public Health Inspector

Career Path Guide for Getting Into This Field

Your quest will begin by determining if this career is a good fit for you. Are you interested in public health and safety? Are you able to foster relationships with stakeholders during the course of your work? Are you interested in a career that allows you to advocate on health protection measures for future generations?


If you’ve answered ‘yes’ to these questions, then this field may be a great fit for you!


Below we've outlined what you'll need to succeed in a career as a public health inspector. We've also included helpful supplementary information, such as job description, job duties, salary expectations, a list of possible employers and much more!



Education Needed to Become a Public Health Inspector

Although educational requirements vary by employer, you typically need a bachelor’s degree in a field such as environmental or public health, environmental science, or human ecology in order to work as a public health inspector.


Although it is not typically a requirement to gain entry-level employment, having a master’s level education in one of the aforementioned fields may make your resume stand out to employers, qualify you for a higher pay grade, or allow you to access more senior level positions in the field of environmental health.





What is a Public Health Inspector?

General job description


Public health inspectors (also known as and Environmental Health Officer, Environmental Health Inspector) work within public health teams and have the responsibility of promoting public health through education and monitoring activities.


Their scope of interest covers food hygiene, insect and rodent control, communicable disease investigation, public accommodation, community care facilities, public recreational facilities, water supply and waste disposal systems, occupational health and safety and environmental pollution. They may also be responsible for enforcing environmental legislation.



What Do They Do?

General job duties


• Attend conferences and seminars for the purpose of professional development

• Liaise with other members of the public health team

• May enforce environmental and health laws and regulations

• Develop long-range plans to protect and improve the public's health and the condition of the environment

• Work with community leaders to promote the mandate of the organization 



Who Hires Them?

Local public health authorities employ most public health inspectors, although they are increasingly being hired in the public sector and as independent consultants. Below is a list of employers that hire public health inspectors.


• National, provincial/state and municipal health departments

• Environmental and pollution control departments

• Sewage and water treatment plants

• Agencies interested in industrial health and hygiene

• Solid waste management agencies

• Food production and packing companies

• Manufacturing companies

• Self-employment (as consultants)




Certification You'll Need

In order to work as a public health inspector in Canada, you must be certified with the Canadian Institute of Public Health Inspectors (CIPHI). The certification process includes field placement and written and oral exams. For more information, see the CIPHI website.



Typical Working Conditions

Work Setting: Public health inspectors typically conduct most of their duties on-site in order to conduct inspections and meet with business operators. They also spend time in an office setting, in order to conduct duties such as preparing reports, setting up schedules and answering questions from the public.


Work Schedule: Public health inspectors usually work regular office weekday hours. However, overtime sometimes is required in order to meet deadlines.


Physical Requirements: The work of public health inspectors requires walking, visually inspecting facilities, sitting at a desk, and may also require light lifting.



Helpful Skills To Have

In order to become effective in your career as a public health inspector, you will need to possess the following attributes:


• Enjoy working independently most of the time

• Excellent organization and time management skills

• Good oral and written communication skills

• Must have an interest in and be dedicated to community/public health and safety

• An ability to foster relationships with stakeholders during the course of work

• Interested in advocating on health protection measures for future generations



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Public Health Inspector Salary

The salary level of public health inspectors can vary depending on many factors, such as their level of education and experience, where they work, and many other factors.


Public Health Inspector Salary Canada: According to Service Canada, employees in the Inspectors - Public and Environmental Health and Occupational Health occupational grouped earn an average salary of $55,376 per year.


According to ECO Canada, environmental health officers (who perform duties similar to those of public health inspectors) with several years of experience and education typically earn $64,000 per year.


Public Health Inspector Salary United States: According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, workers in the Occupational Health and Safety Specialists occupational group (which includes public health inspectors) earn an average salary of $64,660 per year.



Similar Occupational Profiles in Our Database

Listed below are jobs that are similar in nature to Public Health Inspector, as they may involve many of the same skills, competencies and responsibilities.


Environmental Auditor

Environmental Education Officer

Environmental Policy Officer

Industrial Hygienist

ISO Auditor




Please consult the references below to find more information on the various aspects of a career as a Public Health Inspector.


Occupations in Alberta:Public Health Inspector.” (March 31, 2019). ALIS website - Alberta Learning Information Service. Retrieved January 11, 2020.

Healthcare:Occupational Health and Safety Specialists and Technicians.” (September 4, 2019). Bureau of Labor Statistics - United States Government website. Retrieved January 11, 2020.

Explore Careers:Environmental Enforcement Officer.” (n.d.). ECO Canada website. Retrieved January 11, 2020.

Career:How To Become An Environmental Public Health Professional (EPHP).” (n.d.). CIPHI Ontario website. Retrieved January 11, 2020.



Relevant Scholarships

Scholarships listed for majors that apply to becoming a Public Health Inspector can be found on our Environmental Science Scholarships and Human Ecology Scholarships pages.


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!



Applicable Majors

Studying one of the university majors listed below is an excellent starting point to becoming a public health inspector. Click on the links to find out what else you can do with these majors!


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