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Career and Education Opportunities for Environmental Health and Safety Specialists in Durham, North Carolina

If you want to be an environmental health and safety specialist, the Durham, North Carolina area offers many opportunities both for education and employment. Currently, 3,120 people work as environmental health and safety specialists in North Carolina. This is expected to grow 24% to about 3,880 people 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%. 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.

Environmental health and safety specialists earn approximately $24 per hour or $50,270 yearly on average in North Carolina. Nationally they average about $28 per hour or $59,750 yearly. Earnings for environmental health and safety specialists are not quite as good as earnings in the general category of Physical Sciences in North Carolina and not quite as good as general Physical Sciences category earnings nationally. Environmental health and safety specialists work in a variety of jobs, including: regulatory compliance specialist, health environmentalist, and human health risk assessor.

There are twenty-six schools of higher education in the Durham area, including five within twenty-five miles of Durham where you can get a degree to start your career as an environmental health and safety specialist. The most common level of education for environmental health and safety specialists is a Bachelor's degree. You can expect to spend about four years training to become 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 Durham 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

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill - Chapel Hill, NC

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 103 South Bldg Cb 9100, Chapel Hill, NC 27599. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is a large university located in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 28,567 students and an admission rate of 35%. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has 2 areas of study related to Environmental Health and Safety Specialist. They are:

  • Environmental Studies, bachelor's degree which graduated 6 students in 2008.
  • Environmental Science, bachelor's degree, master's degree, and doctor's degree which graduated two, thirty, and seventeen students respectively in 2008.

North Carolina State University at Raleigh - Raleigh, NC

North Carolina State University at Raleigh, 2101 Hillsborough Street, Raleigh, NC 27695-7001. North Carolina State University at Raleigh is a large university located in Raleigh, North Carolina. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 32,871 students and an admission rate of 60%. North Carolina State University at Raleigh has a bachelor's degree program in Environmental Science which graduated ten students in 2008.

Wake Technical Community College - Raleigh, NC

Wake Technical Community College, 9101 Fayetteville Road, Raleigh, NC 27603-5696. Wake Technical Community College is a large college located in Raleigh, North Carolina. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 14,839 students. Wake Technical Community College has an associate's degree program in Environmental Science which graduated four students in 2008.

North Carolina Central University - Durham, NC

North Carolina Central University, 1801 Fayetteville Street, Durham, NC 27707. North Carolina Central University is a medium sized university located in Durham, North Carolina. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 8,033 students and an admission rate of 74%. North Carolina Central University has a bachelor's degree program in Environmental Science which graduated eight students in 2008.

Meredith College - Raleigh, NC

Meredith College, 3800 Hillsborough St, Raleigh, NC 27607-5298. Meredith College is a small college located in Raleigh, North Carolina. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 2,250 students and an admission rate of 69%. Meredith College has a bachelor's degree program in Environmental Science which graduated one student in 2008.

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: Durham, North Carolina

Durham, North Carolina
Durham, North Carolina photo by Specious

Durham is situated in Durham County, North Carolina. It has a population of over 223,284, which has grown by 19.4% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Durham, 86, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Durham are valued at $187,200 on average, which is well above the state average. In 2008, 1,082 new homes were built in Durham, down from 1,574 the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in Durham are health care, educational services, and professional, scientific, and technical services. For men, it is construction, educational services, and health care. The average commute to work is about 21 minutes. More than 41.8% of Durham residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 18.3%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Durham is 7.3%, which is less than North Carolina's average of 10.6%.

The percentage of Durham residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 39.3%, is less than both the national and state average. Laymans Church, Holy Infant Church and Homestead Heights Church are among the churches located in Durham. The most prominent religious groups are the Southern Baptist Convention, the United Methodist Church and the Catholic Church.

Durham is home to the Hope Valley Country Club and the Union Building as well as Durham County Stadium and Northgate Park. Shopping centers in the area include South Square Mall, Lakewood Shopping Center and Kings Plaza Shopping Center. Visitors to Durham can choose from Brownestone Inn, Durham-Days Inn ) and Hilton Durham for temporary stays in the area.