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Science and Engineering

Industrial Hygienist

Career data updated last on 10/8/2014
Industrial Hygienist Industrial hygienists work to discover and reduce health risks and hazards in settings such as manufacturing, transportation and public facilities. They develop ways to control or eliminate health hazards such as air pollution, unsafe machinery, dangerous materials, radioactivity, excessive noise levels or unsafe/unhealthy buildings. They promote occupational health and safety within organizations by developing safer, healthier, and more efficient ways of working.
Salary $39.53/hr- $79,051 annually
Significant Points About 2 out of 5 people worked in federal, state, and local government agencies that enforce rules on health and safety. Employment of occupational health and safety specialists and technicians is expected to increase 9 percent during the 2006-16 decade, reflecting a balance of continuing public demand for a safe and healthy work environment against the desire for smaller government and fewer regulations.
Specializations Industrial hygienists may specialize in a particular area, such as the collections and analysis of samples or the control of acoustical, chemical, radiational or toxicological hazards.
Work Environment Industrial hygienists work with government agencies, private industry, environmental groups and organized labor groups when designing and developing systems for a healthy work environment. Their jobs often involve considerable fieldwork, and some travel frequently. Many work long and often irregular hours.
High School Prep General college preparation is recommended: Three courses in math including algebra I, algebra II and geometry, or a higher level math course for which algebra II is a prerequisite; three science courses including biology and chemistry, one physical science and one lab course; four English units and two social studies units, including one in U.S. History; and two years of a second language.
Academic Requirements To become an industrial hygienist, you should have a baccalaureate degree in science or engineering, and a master's degree in occupational safety and health, environmental health engineering, physical science or natural science. Certification for industrial hygienists is optional. However, most employers prefer hygienists to be certified. This consists of passing a two-part exam offered by the American Board of Industrial Hygiene. At least five years of work experience, which may include credit for education (one year of credit for a master's degree or two years for a doctorate), is required to apply for the exam. A limited number of internships also are available through the Public Health Service, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or in businesses and industries which work with hazardous materials and chemicals.


Colorado State University
Doctoral Degree Doctoral
Masters Degree Master's

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