Environmental health professional
Environmental health professionals are at the forefront of public health, as every aspect of environmental health is designed to improve the public’s health and wellbeing.
The five main areas of environmental health are:
- noise and environmental pollution
- food safety and hygiene
- workplace (occupational) health
- housing standards
- public health
Environmental health professionals work to meet statutory regulations in these areas.
Environmental health professionals could be involved in one or more of the following:
- working with other health professionals on programmes to improve health and wellbeing
- protecting the public from environmental hazards
- investigating complaints about neighbourhood noise and other nuisance
- investigating contaminated land
- inspecting food premises
- investigating outbreaks of food-borne illness
- taking samples
- giving advice to individuals and communities on environmental health matters
- assessing risk and advising employers and employees on occupational health risks
- providing and giving evidence in court cases involving environmental issues
- investigating workplace accidents
- assessing risks to health from poor housing
Want to find out more?
- Find out more about the entry requirements for environmental health professionals
- Find out more about the skills and interests needed by environmental health professionals
- Find out more about the training and development for environmental health professionals
Pay and conditions of employment are likely to vary depending on the employer. For more information please view our pay and benefits page.
Food and safety officer: £29,033 (Hyndburn Borough Council, 2017)
Regulatory services officer (food safety): £30,024-£36,924 (London Borough of Ealing, 2017)
Environmental health officer - Housing: £32,486-£37,306 (Hinckley & Bosworth Borough Council, Leicestershire, 2017)
Environmental health officer - Housing: £34,859-£40,436 (Camden Council, 2017)
Environmental health officer (food, health and safety, and licensing): £30,785-£32,486 (Eden District Council, 2017)
Environmental enforcement officer: £24,871-£29,026 (Guildford Borough Council, 2017)
Environmental enforcement team leader: £29,099-£33,926 (Guildford Borough Council, 2017)
Where the role can lead
As an environmental health practitioner (EHP), at first you will be one of the profession’s ‘all-rounders’, providing first-level support and advice across all areas of environmental health.
Having begun a career in local government carrying out general regulatory enforcement duties, an EHP may choose to specialise and take post-graduate qualifications leading to expertise that can be delivered in the private sector, where their skills in delivering risk-based interventions are much valued. For others, management beckons, and several former EHPs hold chief executive posts around the country.
With responsibility for public health having passed to nominated local authorities in 2013, obtaining a master’s degree and registration can lead to appointments at consultant and director level. Alternatively, a higher degree, and especially a PhD, can take an EHP into academia, and teaching and research.
Becoming an EHP offers a rewarding career for people who want influence, satisfaction and challenge.
Job market and vacancies
In England, environmental health professionals are employed by local authorities, training companies, charities and universities. A public health workforce report (2014) estimated that there were 5,500-8,500 environmental health practitioners in England (including at least 4,000 in local authorities).
Around 291 (3%) of members of the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) work for charities.
In Scotland, the main employers of environmental health professionals are local authorities, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), local NHS Health Boards and Special Health Boards. A report on the public health workforce in Scotland (2015) estimated that there were 980 full-time equivalent environmental health officers food safety officers and technical support staff working in local authorities in Scotland.
- Local Government Talent: Jobs (UK)
- Scottish Local Government Jobs
- Scottish Environment Protection Agency
- Health and Safety Executive
- Local Government Jobs in Northern Ireland
- Public Sector Jobs in Wales
- Jobs.ac.uk (for academic jobs)
- Environmental Health News Jobs Online
- Royal Society for Public Health
If you’re applying for a job in a local authority, each has its own set of core values underpinning its recruitment exercises, which can usually be found in the recruitment section of its website.
Note that terms such as ‘practitioner’, ‘manager’, ‘specialist’ and ‘consultant’ may have different meanings in different job titles. Therefore, they do not necessarily reflect the role category that the job really belongs to. It is important to check the person specification of the role to fully understand the skills and knowledge required.
- Further information