Environmental Health is the branch of health care that focuses on the relationships between people and their environment, promotes human health and well-being, and works towards healthy and safe communities. To become an environmental health officer, you'll need to complete a BSc. (Hons) degree in Environmental Health that has been approved by the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH).
What are the university entry requirements for Environmental Health degrees?
To apply to universities for an Environmental Health degree, you should have, or be working towards achieving, a relevant Access to HE Diploma in Health Science. Or, alternatively, 3 A Levels with at least one in a pure science area (Biology, Human Biology, Physics, Chemistry, Maths). Universities can advise on their particular entry requirements and they also publish these on the UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service) website.
With the A Level route, you may also be expected to have a minimum of 5 GCSEs. With the Access to HE Diploma route, you are normally only required to have GCSEs in English and Maths at Grade C or above.
Access to Higher Education Diplomas are aimed at adults 18+ returning to education or wishing to change their career. There are no upper age limits. The Diploma qualification is viewed as being equivalent to 3 A Levels. Access to HE can be studied from home through online learning or at a local college.
There are many websites that track university performance in all subject areas. Students are encouraged to research carefully which university has a good track record in the particular degree course they are interested in. It is also worth looking into the department that you are applying to and see what facilities are available, what sort of placements are on offer and the student satisfaction rate for each degree course.
What do Environmental Health Officers (EHOs) do?
EHOs are primarily concerned with protecting the public from the harmful exposures they may encounter in the environment and with improving its health. EHOs act as advisers, educators and enforcers, and carry out site visits and give assistance to individual householders and businesses and to managers and workers. As an environmental health officer, you'll develop, implement and enforce health policies using specialist technical skills and knowledge to maintain and safeguard standards relating to people's health and well-being. EHOs are involved in many diverse areas including food safety, noise control, pollution control and waste management. They advise on planning and licensing applications, investigate accidents at work, complaints from the general public and carry out visits and inspections to ensure compliance with health and safety legislation and take action to improve conditions.
What personal attributes are needed to become an EHO?
- Attention to detail and the ability to analyse problems and find solutions
- Excellent communication skills to explain complex legislation to people from diverse backgrounds
- The ability to manage time well and efficiently
- High level of literacy and numeracy
- The ability to be assertive but also good negotiating skills
- A team player but also able to work on own initiative
What are the pay and working conditions like?
- Average starting salary is around £25,000
- With experience up to £35,000
- Moving into management roles between £45,000 and £60,000
EHOs work between 35 and 40 hours a week. Some evenings and weekends will most probably be required on a rota basis. They are often office-based jobs but will involve visits to businesses and homes. EHOs are normally required to have a full driving license.
Did you know?
- Forecasts show a growing need for more Environmental Health Officers over the next 10 years, with most graduates getting jobs in the field quickly after completing their degrees.
- As an EHO you can help improve the quality of everyone's health and sense of well being.
- Environmental Health first came to the public's attention in 1840 when Edwin Chadwick conducted an inquiry into the causes of poverty and concluded that people often became poor because of ill health due to a bad environment.
How is the degree funded?
Studying to become an Environmental Health Officer allows you to apply for the standard student support package in the form of a student loan. Scholarships, bursaries or grants may also be available for example, through the university or your place of work.
If you would like to complete an Access to HE course to obtain the qualifications for entry onto an Environmental Health degree course at university, please choose your payment options below or contact us for more information. Studying and achieving this qualification provides a flexible way of achieving, as it is fully online and recognised and accepted by UK universities.