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Health and Regulatory Inspector Job Description, Career as a Health and Regulatory Inspector, Salary, Employment

Definition and Nature of the Work, Education and Training Requirements, Getting the Job

Education and Training State certification

Average Salary $64,000 per year

Job Outlook Very good

Basic Job Description

Health and regulatory inspectors usually work for the government and inspect workplaces to make sure they are safe and sanitary for employees and customers. They inspect equipment, machinery, and other details within the work environment to make sure they pass safety and sanitation regulations put in place by the government. They also interview employees, managers and business owners to find out how work practices are performed and how they handle accidents or injuries. They look over paperwork regarding employee accidents and injuries and use these records to help determine whether or not the place is safe to work according to government standards. Inspectors have the ability to suspend certain practices that pose a risk to employee or customers safety, and can write new guidelines that must be followed if the existing rules are proven to be ineffective. They may also photograph work environment that they believe causes violations in the event that the establishment needs to have legal action taken against them.

Education and Training Requirements

Health and regulatory inspectors usually have a degree from an accredited university in environmental and occupational health. They can then take state administered tests to become licensed to work as a government employee that performs tests and inspects workplaces.

Most states require students in this field to work in the field as an intern or apprentice for about six months before becoming qualified to take the state test and become licensed to work on their own.

High school students who want to work in the health inspection industry often take courses in biology, chemistry or food sciences to gain an understanding of chemical use and how to prevent injury. Students can also look for work in the restaurant industry to gain an understanding of restaurant practices and procedures.

Getting the Job

Health and regulatory inspectors need to be tough and serious about their job. They need to be certified through the state in which they plan to practice and fully understand government practices and regulations regarding health and safety in the workplace. Health and regulatory inspectors have good problem solving skills and decision making to make sure they are not letting business owners or employees to get away with working in an unsafe or unsanitary environment.

Health and regulatory inspectors must be comfortable working in a very strict and regulated environment. They need a sense of authority and need to be comfortable discussing issues regarding health and sanitation with businesses as well as initiating legal action that needs to be taken against them in serious cases.

Job Prospects, Employment Outlook and Career Development

Health and regulatory inspectors typically start out working amongst a group of inspectors and regulators. Over time, an inspector who has developed an excellent record may advance to working as a manager of the entire health inspection department and conducting training courses for new employees.

Health and regulatory inspectors have advanced their careers by working in politics as environmental activists, writing manuals on health and sanitation for businesses, or even writing books on the importance of public health and safety practices. Since health inspectors understand how to properly maintain a restaurant, they may even open a restaurant that is guaranteed to abide by government safety regulations.

Employment outlook for health and regulatory inspectors is expected to stay the same over the next several years. Working in the field is a less common career aspiration now than it was 20 years ago, so positions are opening up as inspectors retire.

Working Conditions and Environment

Health and regulatory inspectors spend most of their time on the road visiting various businesses to inspect their work environment. They usually work alone or occasionally with the assistance of someone who specializes in food processing regulations. Health inspectors will work with a lot of people if they are visiting a restaurant with a lot of employees, but will not communicate with employees as they observe the environment and work practices being performed. They may speak with employees if they see them doing a specific job that requires extra care or special skill in order to properly perform.

Health and regulatory inspectors will occasionally come in contact with an exceptionally unsanitary environment or even diseases or infection. Inspectors must be prepared for these instances and be able to take proper measures to prevent themselves or others from getting sick.

Occasionally health inspectors will work long or unusual hours. If they are in charge of inspecting a bar that is only open at night, they will have to work around the hours of operation for the bar and come in while the work day is in full force. If they are observing a factory that makes bagels and breakfast pastries and is only open in the early morning, they will have to work around their schedule as well. Working nights, weekends and early mornings is not unusual for a health and regulatory inspector.

Salary and Benefits

The average salary for a health and regulatory inspector is about $64,000 per year. Inspectors are almost always employed through the government, so they are secured with a good salary and excellent health insurance benefits. Government employees also get all federal holidays off work, so that is another benefit to working in the field. Working for the government also provides a great deal of job security, so once a health inspector is hired in and continues to do good work, they do not have to worry about being laid off or losing their job due to cutbacks.

Where to Go for More Information

National Restaurant Association
1200 17th Street NW
Washington, DC 20036
(202) 331-5900

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
200 Independence Avenue S.W.
Washington, DC 20201

Additional topics

Job Descriptions and Careers, Career and Job Opportunities, Career Search, and Career Choices and ProfilesHealth & Medicine