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Career and Education Opportunities for Environmental Health and Safety Specialists in Charleston, West Virginia

Many educational and employment opportunities exist for environmental health and safety specialists in the Charleston, West Virginia area. There are currently 610 jobs for environmental health and safety specialists in West Virginia and this is projected to grow 8% to 660 jobs by 2016. This is not quite as good as the national trend for environmental health and safety specialists, which sees this job pool growing by about 27.9% over the next eight years. 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.

Income for environmental health and safety specialists is about $20 hourly or $42,220 yearly on average in West Virginia. Nationally, their income is about $28 hourly or $59,750 yearly. Compared with people working in the overall category of Physical Sciences, people working as environmental health and safety specialists in West Virginia earn less. They earn less than people working in the overall category of Physical Sciences nationally. Jobs in this field include: human health risk assessor, clinical laboratory scientist, and coastal planner.

There are seventeen schools of higher education in the Charleston area, including one within twenty-five miles of Charleston where you can get a degree to start your career 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, it will take about four years to learn 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 Charleston 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.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Environmental Health and Safety Specialist Training

University of Charleston - Charleston, WV

University of Charleston, 2300 MacCorkle Avenue, SE, Charleston, WV 25304. University of Charleston is a small university located in Charleston, West Virginia. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 1,431 students and an admission rate of 66%. University of Charleston 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: Charleston, West Virginia

Charleston, West Virginia
Charleston, West Virginia photo by Malepheasant

Charleston is situated in Kanawha County, West Virginia. It has a population of over 50,302, which has shrunk by 5.8% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Charleston, 84, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Charleston are priced at $268,400 on average, which is far greater than the state average. In 2008, thirty-four new homes were constructed in Charleston, up from twenty-seven the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in Charleston are health care, educational services, and public administration. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, health care, and public administration. The average travel time to work is about 16 minutes. More than 32.6% of Charleston residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 15.0%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Charleston is 7.7%, which is the same as West Virginia's average of 7.7%. About 16.7% of Charleston's residents are below the poverty line, which is better than the state average.

The percentage of Charleston residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 34.5%, is less than both the national and state average. Starcher Baptist Church, Southeast Church of the Nazarene and South Ruffner Presbyterian Church are among the churches located in Charleston. The largest religious groups are the American Baptist Churches in the USA, the United Methodist Church and the Catholic Church.

Charleston is home to the John F Kennedy Center and the Kanawha County Courthouse as well as Watt Powell Stadium and Ruffner Memorial Park. Shopping centers in the area include Patrick Street Plaza Shopping Center, Laidley Court Shopping Center and Plaza East Shopping Center. Visitors to Charleston can choose from Days Inn Charleston East WV, Motel 6 and Fairfield Inn Charleston for temporary stays in the area.