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Industrial Hygienist Career

What are industrial hygienists? Learn more...

Industrial hygienists are actually engineers and scientists who protect the safety and health of people in the workforce, and ensure that state and federal regulations are followed. Industrial hygienists have earned a bachelorís degree in either chemistry, physics, engineering, or biological or physical science with additional required three-years of work and training in industrial hygiene. If you pursue a masterís or a doctoral degree a related field of science or engineering, the three-year requirement may be reduced.

Become an Industrial Hygienist

Industrial Hygienist Resources...

Do you ever worry about the air quality of your workplace? Do you worry about the possibilities of mold, chemicals that might be leaching or off-gassing from paint, or even radiation or asbestos? Have you known anyone who was injured or suffered ergonomic stress on the job? Concerns can vary widely based on your occupation and place of work, but safety is important whether you work in an office or on a construction site. They are concerns we often do not consider until our health is compromised. Industrial hygienists are responsible for examining workplaces for sanitation, potential hazards, for assessing risk, and for recommending safety improvements. They also train and educate about on-the-job risks and sometimes help develop safety protocols and regulations.

What type of education and training does a career in industrial hygiene require?

There are associate degree programs in occupational health and industrial hygiene. However, in order to be certified you will need to earn a minimum of a bachelorís degree. Some entry-level positions will only require a two-year associate degree with additional training in industrial hygiene and safety and one year of experience. Most will require ea bachelorís degree and some employers will actually require a masterís degree in industrial hygiene. If you are interested in pursuing this, you have the option of earning a bachelorís degree in chemistry, physics, biology, or engineering. When you complete your degree, you can try to get some entry-level job experience, or pursue a Master of Public Health in Industrial Hygiene. Coursework in specific industrial hygiene programs is interdisciplinary, including research and field experience in addition to classroom coursework. You will learn about a wide range of topics, such as fire safety, hazard surveillance, chemical safety, biosafety, hazardous waste, hearing conservation, air quality, and respiratory protection, to name just a sampling. Make sure the program you choose is accredited by the ABET (American Board of Industrial Hygiene).

Certification and salary information

Certification is done through the American Board of Industrial Hygiene (ABIH). In order to be eligible to sit for the certifying exam to become a certified industrial hygienist (CIH), you will need the bachelorís degree and four years of experience. Recertification is done every five years.

The average salary for an industrial hygienist is about $70,000. While the work of the industrial hygienist is often behind the scenes and unrecognized by the general public, their work is responsible for keeping workers and community safe. And as the general public has become more aware of harmful toxins and chemicals in their home and work environment, the demand for safety and for industrial hygienists will only grow. Employers will need the training and expertise of a certified industrial hygienist to assess working conditions and to implement regulations. Get started on a related degree now and you can pursue an advanced degree or training and become a CIH.

To learn more about becoming an industrial hygienist, you can contact schools that offer related training programs or learn more by reading the career plan discussion on becoming an industrial hygienist If you are still trying to determine the right career choice, take some time to explore additional careers in health care.