What Do Environmental Health Workers Do?
Environmental health workers are responsible for carrying out measures for protecting public health, including administering and enforcing legislation related to environmental health and providing support to minimize health and safety hazards.
Common duties of environmental health workers include collecting samples of water, soil, waste and animal matter; transporting and documenting samples; verifying code and regulatory compliance; investigating complaints; preparing and maintaining records; and other duties as needed.
Where Do Environmental Health Workers Work?
Environmental health workers are usually employed by local government or state health authorities to advise on and enforce public health standards. However, many are employed in the private sector, the military, and other third sector agencies such as charities and NGOs.
What Do Environmental Health Workers Earn?
In 2022, the average annual income reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) for environmental science and protection technicians in the United States was $53,970. The New York State Department of Labor (NYSDOL) reports that, in 2023, environmental science and protection technicians in New York earned a median annual salary of $50,382 (environmental science and protection technicians in the 25th percentile made approximately $38,149 while those in the 75th percentile made approximately $65,050).
Supply and Demand
The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the number of jobs for environmental science and protection technicians (including health) in the U.S. will increase by 6% between 2021 and 2031. The New York State Department of Labor projects that the number of jobs for environmental science and protection technicians (including health) in the state will increase by 15% between 2020 and 2030.
For more information on projections of environmental health workers by New York State labor regions, 2018-2028, click here.
New York Educational/Licensure Requirements
The educational requirements for environmental health workers vary. Environmental health workers working in government agencies may have more stringent requirements than those working in other locations. Most environmental science and protection technicians need an associate degree or two years of postsecondary training. Sometimes new technicians are trained on the job by more experienced environmental science and protection technicians. Higher level environmental health workers, such as environmental engineers and scientists need a bachelor’s degree with a substantial number of college credits in the sciences. The types of science courses required may differ depending on the specific area of interest or concentration. Master’s or doctoral degrees are available in environmental health, engineering, and science.
New York does not require licensure for environmental health workers.
In addition to scholarships offered at different schools, scholarships for environmental health workers are available from the National Environmental Health Association: http://www.neha.org/students/index.html.
Educational Programs in New York (subject to change)
Mailman School of Public Health
722 West 168th Street
New York, NY 10032-0403
(212) 305-3464 or (212) 305-3466
|CUNY Graduate School of Public Health
55 W 125th St
New York, NY 10027
|Rochester Institute of Technology
College of Applied Science and Technology
One Lomb Memorial Drive
Rochester, NY 14623-5603
|University at Albany-SUNY
School of Public Health
1 University Place
Rensselaer, NY 12144
|University at Buffalo- SUNY
401 Kimball Tower
Buffalo, NY 14260
|SUNY Downstate Medical Center
School of Public Health
450 Clarkson Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11203
Additional Web Links
For more information about environmental health workers, please visit these websites:
American Academy of Environmental Engineers and Scientists: http://www.aaees.org/
American Academy of Sanitarians: www.sanitarians.org
American Public Health Association: www.apha.org
Association of Environmental Engineering and Science Professors: http://www.aeesp.org/
National Environmental Health Association: www.neha.org
New York State Public Health Association: http://nyspha.roundtablelive.org/
Public Health Association of New York City: http://www.phanyc.org/
Public Health Online: www.publichealthonline.org/