How to Become an Environmental Health and Safety Specialist in 2023

How to Become an Environmental Health and Safety Specialist

How to Become an Environmental Health and Safety Specialist: Let’s say you’re probably wondering “How do you get EHS Certified?”, Is there an easy way to get an EHS certification online?

Understanding the work description of the environmental health and safety or EHS specialist is the first step to knowing if you’d get their certificate or not.

If you enjoy working with people, or you enjoy challenges, and probably love the idea of changing work environment daily, then a career as an Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) professional might be for you.

In an EHS role, you support a large number of organizations in complying with workplace and public protection standards.

A career as an environmental health specialist is ideal for people who want to study science and learn how environmental factors affect human health.

People who study environmental health work in the fields of medicine, public health and advocacy, environmental research, toxicology, and more.

That being said, This article guides you on How to Become an Environmental Health and Safety Specialist.

The article also discussed the necessary employability skills that will help you to stand out in your quest to become an Environmental Health Specialist.

Without further Ado let’s dive in…

Content Summary

What is an environmental health and safety professional?

Environmental health and safety (EHS) professional is a specialist that protects the health and safety of the environment, the workforce, and the public by setting and applying the safety measures.

EHS professionals usually work for themselves or state agencies on federal, state, or local levels.

EHS professionals who specialize in the environment usually work for state parks, national park services, or federal organizations such as National Oceanic and atmospheric administration as well as the US environmental protection agency.

General health and safety professionals work for Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and other government bodies.

Because your job is to apply regulations on different locations, you often travel. They are also often in stressful or risky situations as they determine the safety level on construction sites.

Your days will not only be spent in offices but also mines, factories, and construction sites.

Who is an EHS Specialist?

Environmental health and safety specialists are popularly known as the EHS Specialist, identifies, analyses, and solve environmental problems that affect human health and the environment.

Also, specialists in this field use their knowledge to carry out research and investigations to identify and eliminate environmental pollutants and hazards.

What is the Job Description of an EHS Specialist?

Typically, their primary responsibility is to identify and control exposures. They also plan, coordinate and run inspection programs for compliance with health, safety, and environmental regulations.

Most EHS specialists mostly work in regulatory agencies as well as manufacturing and technology industries.

If you pick a career in environmental health, you’ll also be able to apply to private companies, consulting firms, government entities, and labs. Basically, the EHS specialist can work as;

  • Health Officer
  • Health and Safety Manager
  • Environmental Health Supervisor
  • An Environmental Health Worker Clinical
  • Environmental, Health and Safety Consultant

Working in either of the above-mentioned position, you will be carrying any following roles. Nonetheless, your roles is dependent on the position your are occupying.

  • Inspect multiple types of facilities such as storage tanks, hazardous materials facilities, landfills, and drinking water systems.
  • Identify and report on infractions of health regulations.
  • Use epidemiological data to assess risk and develop policy. 
  • Investigate environmental health concerns on high-risk populations.
  • Provide feedback to organizations, including effective interventions or preventive safety measures.
  • Develop strategies to improve health security in response to pandemics or natural disasters.
  • Preparing technical findings reports.
  • Analyzing samples and surveys to assess threats
  • Providing scientific and technical guidance or support to the team
  • Reviewing and implementing formal regulations and guidelines to enact the rules.

What Skills Do I Need as an EHS Specialist to Gain a Certificate?

To earn certification in EHS, Professionals in this area often have technological and scientific skills. Written and oral communication skills are important, especially if they work in consulting or advocacy roles. other skills of interest include;

  • Interpersonal skills
  • Decision-making skills
  • Problem-solving ability
  • Monitoring and evaluation skills
  • Critical thinking and Analytical skills.

Also, we discovered you need training with any regulatory agency, HSE courses, or OSHA. These hard skills boost your chances of earning the EHS certificate seamlessly.

What are the Job Specialization that Earn You an EHS Certificate?

An Environmental health and safety specialist can earn a certificate as a general practitioner or as a specialist. Talking about the specialization, an intending EHS personnel can choose to earn a certificate online or in a traditional school via these specializations;

  • Industrial ecologists.
  • Climate change analysts.
  • Environmental restoration planners.

What Educational and Certification are Required for an Environment Health and Safety Specialist?

To earn an EHS Certificate, you must hold a 4-year bachelor’s degree. This degree must have enlightened you on courses such as natural science, biology, chemistry, physics, geoscience, or engineering.

Nonetheless, to qualify for a top position as an EHS professional, here are Qualifications for top EHS certifications you need to get.

  • Certified Safety Professional: This certification requires a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in any field as well as four years of experience where risk is at least 50% preventable.
  • Safety Management Specialist: Prospective EHS professionals will need at least 10 years of safety management-related experience where a minimum of 35% of the job involves the management of personnel, processes, procedures, and other safety-related programs.
  • Associate Safety Professional: This certification requires a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in any field or an Associate Degree in Environment, Health, or Safety. You will also need at least one year of experience where risk is at least 50% preventable.
  • Graduate Safety Practitioner: Candidates for this certification must have a bachelor’s or master’s degree from a qualified academic program. They also must have the CSP experience requirement and obtain the CSP designation within the eligibility period.
  • Transitional Safety Practitioner: For this designation, candidates must hold a credential from a qualified equivalent program and must achieve the CSP experience requirement and ASP within the eligibility period.
  • Occupational Hygiene and Safety Technician: This certification requires three years of experience where safety, health, or environmental work is at least 35% of the job duties.

More Certification:

  • Construction Health and Safety Technician: Candidates pursuing this certification must have three years of experience where 35% of the duties for the position are safety, health, or environmental work.
  • Safety Trained Supervisor: For this certification, candidates must have three years of construction experience where at least 35% of the responsibilities in the position involve health and safety. This certification also requires 30 hours of safety, health, and environmental training.
  • Safety Trained Supervisor Construction: This certification requires two years of supervisory experience or four years of construction-related work experience as well as 30 hours of safety, health, and environmental training.
  • Certified Environmental, Safety, and Health Trainer: This certification requires 135 hours of training, teaching, or development for any safety, health, and environmental specialty.Line 1

How Do I Get EHS Certified?

Basically, If a career as an environmental health specialist is of interest to you, these are the steps to follow to earn an EHS Certification from the Board of Certified Professionals.

  • Earn a bachelor’s degree.
  • choose an Area of expertise
  • Gain relevant work experience.
  • Earn certifications.
  • Find a job.

#1. Acquire a Bachelor’s or Master’s Degree

For every certification, a level of education is needed, and the same applies to EHS. From research, 58.8% of Certified EHS specialists have a bachelor’s degree. On the other hand, 13.3% of certified EHS specialists have master’s degrees.

According to O*Net education data, 70% of the workplaces for environmental scientists and specialists require a bachelor’s degree.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics points out that most jobs require at least one Bachelor’s degree in natural sciences or related areas such as engineering or geosciences.

Due to the type of work, scientific courses such as biology, chemistry, and microbiology are needed.

Students can typically earn bachelor’s degrees in these areas if their school does not offer undergraduate programs in environmental health. These classes are often needed when applying to master’s programs.

If you pursue a Bachelor of Science in environmental health, your courses may include environmental law compliance, ergonomics, occupational safety, and industrial hygiene. Undergraduate research methods courses and laboratory or internship experience are recommended.

What this suggests, is that on the journey to earn an EHS certification whether online or not, you need some form of education. Which in this case applies to either Bachelor’s or Master’s degree.

#2. Choose an Area of Expertise

Once you have an educational degree, the next step to earning the EHS certificate is choosing a specialization. Making a choice of specialization can be very difficult, but with research and an expert’s advice, it becomes easily surmountable.

In a bid to guide your choice, we made research on the common majors for an EHS Specialist. Here’s what we found. We discovered EHS specializations such as industrial ecologists, climate change analysts, and Environmental restoration planners. To mention but a few!

You can as well make your research to find your best fit!!!

#3. Gain Hands-on Experience From EHS Jobs or Trainings

A certification says “Mr EHS Specialist can be trusted to do any EHS job assigned to him/her”. Before you’re certified as an EHS by any Board of Certified Safety Professionals, there must be proof you can handle tasks as assigned to you.

Therefore, to earn a certification in EHS, you need to gain experience via jobs, internships, volunteering, or training.

Internships usually are an excellent source of experience. Below is a list of some organizations that offer environmental health internships:

With these, the Board of Certified Safety Professionals can qualify you to earn an EHS certificate.

#4. Earn Certifications

Some jobs require training regulated by Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). In some cases, this training can involve a certification.

Although all jobs do not require certifications, they can help to prove their skills and their knowledge. Creation Certification can help you to get involved in the application process.

Many people in this area choose diplomas of registered environmental health specialists. This is administered by the National Association of Environmental Health. The preservation of this identification information includes a review that shows a capability in a series of environmental health problems.

#5. Get a Job as Environment Health Specialist

After gaining at least a bachelor’s degree in a course that has to do with environmental health, you can apply for a number of environmental health jobs with private companies, consulting companies, government entities, and laboratories.

Any work experience or certifications can make you a more competitive applicant, but may not be required depending on the position.

Who Can Get Certified as an EHS Specialist?

Basically, getting a certification in Environmental Health and Safety Management extends beyond the Environmental Health Student. Students who have a B.Sc or Master’s in the following professional courses can be certified as EHS Specialists. They include;

  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Occupational health
  • Environmental health and safety
  • And other related fields.

Also, earning additional qualifications like a master’s degree can earn you earn an EHS certificate. In addition, the Environmental Health and Safety Certificate obtained by a Master’s degree holder makes you eligible for higher-level positions and management roles.

Environmental Health and Safety Specialist
Environmental Health and Safety Specialist

Are there Online Certification Courses For an EHS Specialist?

We know the world is gradually recovering from the Noble coronavirus, which makes some people ask questions like; is it possible to get EHS certificate programs online?

If you are asking this question; the simple answer is YES!!!

That being said, we also have over 57 Free Udemy Online Courses available for you.

For mid-career professionals who work as well as seek opportunities to pursue their academic interests, An online certification in EHS will be a great option.

Below is a list of some Environmental Health and Safety Courses available for interested students.

#1. OSHA Workplace Safety (General Industry 6 Hr Class)

This is one way to get EHS certificate programs online. In this EHS online certification course series, you will be introduced to the general safety requirements that any employee should be aware of, and provides a comprehensive overview of general workplace safety that companies seek and can require their employees to understand and adhere to.

These health and safety programs and procedures in this course are derived from federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations.

#2. ISO 45001. Occupational Health & Safety management system

This EHS Specialist certification course on Udemy, allows students to build a career in occupational health and safety management and understand the requirements of ISO 45001.

Thus, if you are looking for a credible way to earn EHS certificate programs online, this could just be your sure plug.

Moreso, this course will aid students to implement an occupational health and safety management system while participating in an OH&S audit according to ISO 45001. In addition, this EHS online certification course aids students migrate from OHSAS 18001 to the new ISO 45001.

#3. OSHA Safety Training: Conducting Safety Meetings

Basically, to earn an Environmental Health and Safety Certificate in this course, you will learn how to design and deliver effective safety meetings.

Also, it enlightens you on common safety meeting problems and how to avoid them. Also, tips on how to engage workers’ managers in the design and delivery process will be taught.

In the end, you will be able to get your EHS certificate programs online.

#4. Fire Safety and Prevention Planning

The basics of developing FSMS (Fire Safety Management System) for organizations will be a key study.

Also, students will learn how to define the roles and responsibilities of a Fire Marshal or Fire Warden.

In addition, students will get to understand how to control the FIRE hazards, fix extinguishing systems and how to use portable FIRE extinguishers and various modes of heat transfer (i.e conduction, convection, and radiation).

A tip on how to understand the “Training Requirements” for FIRE prevention and response planning is a keynote in this EHS online certification course.

#5. OSHA Safety Pro: Personal Protective Equipment

This is yet another way to earn EHS certificate programs online. The EHS Specialist in view will learn how to effectively protect themselves against the many lurking hazards that exist at our places of business.

Also, they will gain knowledge and understanding of the use and care of equipment required by employers.

In addition to this, this EHS online certification course will demonstrate to employers one’s ability to care for their safety as well as the safety of their employers while on the job.

The basics of OSHA regulations and the concept of working safely and returning home to one’s family in the condition in which they left to work will be taught.

#6. OSHA Safety Pro: Deadly Concrete Dust. Crystalline Silica.

This course offers the EHS specialist an opportunity to receive a FREE and editable HSE Crystalline Silica Safety Manual complete with forms, training records, a safety committee program, and an incident investigation program.

Also, you will learn how to save lives and costly medical bills through awareness and prevention of the prolific yet evasive killer crystalline silica.

Students become aware of how everyone comes into contact with this hazard, and take action to protect themselves and others from this deadly dust.

#7. Complete Health and Safety Auditor Course. OHSAS 18001.

The EHS specialist will have a great understanding of ALL the requirements of OHSAS 18001. Participate in an OHSAS 18001 audit and offer consulting on OHSAS 18001 implementation.

Also, the EHS specialist will learn how to implement an Occupational Health & Safety Management System independently.

In addition, students will learn how to master the most popular standard for health and safety management.

What Is the Salary Structure of a Certified Environmental Health and Safety Specialist?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for environmental health and safety specialists or their equivalent professions is estimated to grow 8% between 2018 and 2028.

Nonetheless, there is a wide range of career options in environmental health. The type of company or industry may impact the salary.

The top-paying industries for environmental scientists and specialists, including health, all had an annual mean wage over $100,000 in 2019, according to BLS wage data. These industries were:

  • Natural gas distribution
  • Merchant wholesalers, nondurable goods
  • Federal government
  • Oil and gas extraction
  • Wholesale electronic markets and agents and brokers

The category with the highest concentration of employment was management, scientific, and technical consulting services. The annual mean wage for this industry was $79,650 in 2019, according to the BLS wage data.

Environmental scientists and specialists earned a median annual wage of $71,360 in 2019, the BLS reported. The highest-earning 10% in this occupation category received over $124,760.

 The BLS projects an 8% increase in jobs for environmental scientists, including health scientists, from 2018 to 2028—more than the average across all occupations. Growing, complex public health concerns may contribute to job demand in this field.

However, in the meantime, the bearer of environmental health and safety or the EHS certificate earned a median annual salary of $80,030 in 2020 said the Bureau.

Environmental Health Specialist vs. Environmental Health Scientist

These two professions work on similar topics and in similar contexts. However, environmental scientists are more focused on applying the scientific method to help solve complex problems. This can include reclaiming polluted land, monitoring environmental impacts, and making recommendations to public health officials.

Environmental Health Specialist vs. Registered Environmental Health Specialist

Certified Environmental Health Specialists (REHS) typically conduct inspections for the government or the private sector. In addition, the holders of REHS certification have passed an exam to prove their competence in the field of environmental health. This accreditation may be required for some jobs; others may prefer candidates with this certification.

Environmental Health Specialists vs. Occupational Health and Safety Specialists

Occupational health and safety specialists are specialists who work for the safety and health of people in the workplace.

You can focus on non-environmental issues such as safety signage, fall protection, and personal protective equipment. In contrast, environmental health professionals focus on the health and well-being of people in non-work settings.

This concentration studies the health of the population on a larger scale than occupational health and safety.

Frequently Asked Questions About EHS Certificate

What is EHS certificate?

The Professional Health and Environmental Security Certificate Course clarifies its responsibility for security and protection in the workplace and ensures that you have both the “know-how” and the resources to meet those responsibilities

How do you get EHS certified?

Here are some steps for earning your EHS certification:

  • Pursue an education. The required level of education depends on the EHS certification you plan to pursue.
  • Pass the Associate Safety Professional (ASP) certification exam.
  • Obtain experience.
  • Safety specialist.
  • Safety director.
  • Environmental health and safety officer.

What EHS means?

EHS stands for Environment, Health & Safety. … The “S” refers to regulations intended to protect the safety of employees on worksites and the “H” is the health of employees

Is EHS a good career?

CareerBuilder has identified the “safety and health engineer” position as one of the seven fastest-growing jobs that pay about $75,000 a year – more evidence that EHS jobs are an in-demand and wise career choice.

How long does it take to become an environmental health specialist?

The CSP degree requires a 4-year degree in any discipline or a 2-year degree related to environmental health and safety. In addition, at least three years of work experience in the field of environmental protection and safety is usually required.

What degree do you need to be a environmental health specialist?

Most environmental health specialists earn bachelor’s degrees in environmental health. In some instances, related education such as biology, geology, or environmental engineering is acceptable. Master’s and doctoral degrees can be earned and certification is available.

How much does an environmental health specialist make?

Environmental Health Specialist Salary

Annual SalaryMonthly Pay
Top Earners$85,000$7,083
75th Percentile$69,000$5,750
25th Percentile$45,500$3,791

Where do environmental health officers work?

EHOs can be used by both the private sector and the public sector and are not only responsible for checking companies and properties for hazards, but also have the duty to act in the event of health injuries and for safety.