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Career and Education Opportunities for Environmental Health and Safety Specialists in Columbia, Missouri

Many educational and employment opportunities exist for environmental health and safety specialists in the Columbia, Missouri area. There are currently 1,080 jobs for environmental health and safety specialists in Missouri and this is projected to grow 5% to 1,130 jobs by 2016. This is not quite as good as the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for environmental health and safety specialists are expected to grow by about 27.9%. Environmental health and safety specialists generally conduct research or perform investigation for the purpose of identifying, abating, or eliminating sources of pollutants or hazards that affect either the environment or the health of the population.

A person working as an environmental health and safety specialist can expect to earn about $20 hourly or $42,910 per year on average in Missouri and about $28 per hour or $59,750 yearly on average in the U.S. as a whole. Incomes for environmental health and safety specialists are not quite as good as in the overall category of Physical Sciences in Missouri, and not quite as good as the overall Physical Sciences category nationally. Environmental health and safety specialists work in a variety of jobs, including: clinical researcher, marine scientist, and limnologist.

The Columbia area is home to thirteen schools of higher education, including three within twenty-five miles of Columbia where you can get a degree as an environmental health and safety specialist. Given that the most common education level for environmental health and safety specialists is a Bachelor's degree, you can expect to spend about four years studying to be an environmental health and safety specialist if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Environmental Health and Safety Specialist

Environmental Health and Safety Specialist video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, environmental health and safety specialists conduct research or perform investigation for the purpose of identifying, abating, or eliminating sources of pollutants or hazards that affect either the environment or the health of the population. They also utilizing knowledge of various scientific disciplines may collect, synthesize, and take action based on data derived from measurements or observations of air, food, and other sources.

Environmental health and safety specialists analyze data to establish their validity and scientific significance. They also communicate scientific and technical data to the public, organizations, or internal audiences through oral briefings or public hearings. Equally important, environmental health and safety specialists have to furnish scientific and technical guidance, support and oversight to governmental agencies or the public. Finally, environmental health and safety specialists inspect and implement environmental technical standards and formal regulations that meet all appropriate requirements.

Every day, environmental health and safety specialists are expected to be able to articulate ideas and problems. They need to listen to and understand others in meetings. It is also important that they read and understand documents and reports.

It is important for environmental health and safety specialists to furnish advice on proper standards and regulations or the development of policies and codes of practice for environmental management. They are often called upon to ready charts or graphs from data samples, providing summary data on the environmental relevance of the data. They also collect and report environmental data, such as pollution emission measurements, atmospheric monitoring measurements, meteorological and mineralogical data, and soil or water samples. They are sometimes expected to decide on data collection methods to be employed in research projects and surveys. Somewhat less frequently, environmental health and safety specialists are also expected to formulate and design research models, using knowledge of mathematical and statistical concepts.

Environmental health and safety specialists sometimes are asked to design methods to minimize the impact of production processes on the environment, on the basis of the study and assessment of industrial production and physical, biological, and social environments. They also have to be able to design programs designed to obtain the most productive, non-damaging use of land and supervise or train students, environmental technologists or other related staff. And finally, they sometimes have to investigate and report on accidents affecting the environment.

Like many other jobs, environmental health and safety specialists must be reliable and have exceptional integrity.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Columbia include:

  • Atmospheric Scientist. Investigate atmospheric phenomena and interpret meteorological data gathered by surface and air stations, satellites, and radar to prepare reports and forecasts for public and other uses.
  • Biologist. Research or study basic principles of plant and animal life, such as origin, relationship, and functions.
  • Chemist. Conduct qualitative and quantitative chemical analyses or chemical experiments in laboratories for quality or process control or to develop new products or knowledge.
  • Food Science Technician. Perform standardized qualitative and quantitative tests to determine physical or chemical properties of food or beverage products.
  • Forester. Manage forested lands for economic, recreational, and conservation purposes. May inventory the type, amount, and location of standing timber, appraise the timber's worth, negotiate the purchase, and draw up contracts for procurement. May determine how to conserve wildlife habitats, creek beds, and soil stability, and how best to comply with environmental regulations. May devise plans for planting and growing new trees, monitor trees for healthy growth, and determine the best time for harvesting. Develop forest management plans for public and privately-owned forested lands.
  • Geological Specialist. Study the composition, structure, and other physical aspects of the earth. May use geological, physics, and mathematics knowledge in exploration for oil, gas, or underground water; or in waste disposal, land reclamation, or other environmental problems. May study the earth's internal composition, atmospheres, and its magnetic, electrical, and gravitational forces. Includes mineralogists, crystallographers, and seismologists.
  • Hydrologist. Research the distribution, circulation, and physical properties of underground and surface waters; study the form and intensity of precipitation, its rate of infiltration into the soil, movement through the earth, and its return to the ocean and atmosphere.
  • Microbiologist. Investigate the growth, structure, and other characteristics of microscopic organisms, such as bacteria, algae, or fungi. Includes medical microbiologists who study the relationship between organisms and disease or the effects of antibiotics on microorganisms.
  • Scientist. Study the chemical composition and physical principles of living cells and organisms, their electrical and mechanical energy, and related phenomena. May conduct research to further understanding of the complex chemical combinations and reactions involved in metabolism, reproduction, and heredity. May determine the effects of foods, drugs, and other substances on tissues and vital processes of living organisms.
  • Soil Conservation Technician. Plan and develop coordinated practices for soil erosion control, soil and water conservation, and sound land use.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Environmental Health and Safety Specialist Training

Columbia College - Columbia, MO

Columbia College, 1001 Rogers, Columbia, MO 65216. Columbia College is a large college located in Columbia, Missouri. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 14,081 students and an admission rate of 53%. Columbia College has a bachelor's degree program in Environmental Studies.

Westminster College - Fulton, MO

Westminster College, 501 Westminster Ave, Fulton, MO 65251-1299. Westminster College is a small college located in Fulton, Missouri. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 992 students and an admission rate of 77%. Westminster College has 2 areas of study related to Environmental Health and Safety Specialist. They are:

  • Environmental Studies, bachelor's degree.
  • Environmental Science, bachelor's degree.

Central Methodist University-College of Liberal Arts & Sciences - Fayette, MO

Central Methodist University-College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, 411 Central Methodist Square, Fayette, MO 65248-1198. Central Methodist University-College of Liberal Arts & Sciences is a small university located in Fayette, Missouri. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 1,031 students and an admission rate of 66%. Central Methodist University-College of Liberal Arts & Sciences has a bachelor's degree program in Environmental Science.

CERTIFICATIONS

Certified Water Technologist: The Certified Water Technologist (CWT) program represents the highest professional credential in the industrial and commercial water treatment field.

For more information, see the Association of Water Technologies website.

Associate Safety Professional: The Associate Safety Professional (ASP) designation is the start of the process toward achieving the CSP certification.

For more information, see the Board of Certified Safety Professionals website.

Environmental Professional Intern: The EPI credential is an opportunity for students who anticipate entering the environmental field, or for graduates who have entered the field within the last five years, to demonstrate personal knowledge of general environmental science.

For more information, see the Institute of Professional Environmental Practice website.

Registered Environmental Health Specialist/Registered Sanitarian: The REHS/RS is the premiere NEHA credential.

For more information, see the National Environmental Health Association website.

Certified Environmental Health Technician: CEHT is for individuals who are interested in field intensive environmental health activities--such as testing, sampling, and inspections, and who are required to provide information on safe environmental health practices and to eliminate environmental health hazards.

For more information, see the National Environmental Health Association website.

Registered Environmental Technician: A Registered Environmental Technician is an individual who, in support of and under the direction of Registered Hazardous Substances Professionals, environmental pofessionals and scientists, carries out in a responsible manner proven techniques of a technical nature in a particular hazardous materials/waste management field.

For more information, see the National Environmental Health Association website.

Associate Environmental Professional: Associate Environmental Professional is the entry level program of professional environmental certification.

For more information, see the National Registry of Environmental Professionals website.

Forensic Mold Master: The purpose of the Forensics Mold Master (FMM) credential program is to establish a person's understanding of the basic forensic principles of water intrusion sources and the relationship to resulting mold spore development; testing and data interpretation; and limited mitigation using engineered controls.

For more information, see the National Registry of Environmental Professionals website.

Registered Radiation Protection Technologist: A Radiation Protection Technologist is a person engaged in providing radiation protection to the radiation worker, the general public, and the environment from the effects of ionizing radiation.

For more information, see the National Registry of Radiation Protection Technologists website.

Certified Recycling Systems Professional: Earning this certification shows your employer and your colleagues that you are committed to only the highest standards in our industry.

For more information, see the Solid Waste Association of North America website.

Certified Composting Technical Associate: Those earning this prestigious designation have specifically demonstrated their abilities in how to effectively plan, design, and operate composting sites.

For more information, see the Solid Waste Association of North America website.

Municipal Solid Waste Management Systems - Technical Associate: By earning this certification, you will demonstrate knowledge and proficiency that only the top in a field can show.

For more information, see the Solid Waste Association of North America website.

Bioreactor Landfill - Technical Associate: By earning this certification, you will demonstrate knowledge and proficiency in this new technology.

For more information, see the Solid Waste Association of North America website.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Columbia, Missouri

Columbia, Missouri
Columbia, Missouri photo by Grey_Wanderer

Columbia is situated in Boone County, Missouri. It has a population of over 100,733, which has grown by 19.2% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Columbia, 85, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Columbia are valued at $171,800 on average, which is below the state average. In 2008, three hundred thirty-five new homes were constructed in Columbia, down from six hundred fifty-three the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Columbia are educational services, health care, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is educational services, accommodation and food services, and health care. The average travel time to work is about 15 minutes. More than 50.5% of Columbia residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 24.0%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Columbia is 6.8%, which is less than Missouri's average of 8.9%.

The percentage of Columbia residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 40.9%, is less than both the national and state average. Sugar Grove Church, Fairview Church and Emmanuel Church are among the churches located in Columbia. The most common religious groups are the Southern Baptist Convention, the Catholic Church and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).

Columbia is home to the Columbia Country Club and the Columbia Plaza as well as Nickell Park and Stephens Park. Shopping centers in the area include Whitegate Shopping Center, North County Shopping Center and Biscayne Mall. Visitors to Columbia can choose from Churchill's, Columbia Super 8 Motel and Arrow Head Motel LLC for temporary stays in the area.