State Health Inspector Careers: Job Description & Salary Info

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What are the pros and cons of a state health inspector career? Get real job descriptions, career outlook and salary information to see if this career might be the right choice for you.
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Pros and Cons of Becoming a State Health Inspector

A state health inspector works for a state government agency to ensure that businesses under its jurisdiction are operating safely. Read about the pros and cons of becoming a state health inspector to see if this career appeals to you.

Pros of a State Health Inspector Career
Higher-than-average annual salary ($70,470 as of May 2014)*
Most jobs can be attained with a bachelor's degree*
Work in a wide variety of environments*
Opportunity to work with the latest technology*

Cons of a State Health Inspector Career
Slower-than-average job growth predicted (7% percent from 2012-2022)*
Work environments may be unpleasant, such as mines or tunnels*
May be exposed to toxic materials*
Schedules may become irregular if dealing with emergency situations*

Source: *U.S. Bureau Labor Statistics (BLS)

Essential Career Information

Job Duties

State health inspectors monitor and audit businesses to ensure that state and federal regulations are upheld. Inspectors also ensure that consumer and worker health conditions are maintained. For example, an inspector may assess a factory's ventilation system or a store's lighting and temperature mechanisms. Inspectors may also work with chemicals or biological materials to ensure that proper storage and handling regulations are being followed. When an accident or emergency occurs, inspectors investigate to identify the root of the problem and prevent re-occurrence. They may also analyze a business to help management reduce workplace absences and lower insurance costs.

Career Prospects and Salary

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts slow job-growth for all occupational health and safety specialists, including inspectors working for state agencies. It is estimated that overall employment opportunities for inspectors will only increase by 7% percent from 2012-2022. However, inspectors who monitor nuclear power stations or loss prevention may see growth in job openings during this decade. In May 2014, the BLS indicated that the median annual salary for all occupational health and safety specialists was $69,210, while the mean annual wage for inspectors working for state governments was $70,470.

What Are the Requirements?

Education

Most positions require inspectors to have a bachelor's degree in a related field such as engineering or biology. Some employers seek candidates with a master's degree. Classes in topics like hazardous material supervision and risk analysis may prove useful once on the job. Inspectors should also be very comfortable with state and federal laws and procedures as related to their field of expertise.

Experience

In lieu of a bachelor's degree, some inspectors may secure a job through work experience. On-the-job training provides inspectors with the specific background they need to be successful. Inspectors must also be physically fit as much of the job requires walking and standing during inspections.

What Employers Are Looking For

Many state agencies advertise job titles that are industry specific. Some positions ensure health standards are maintained while others inspect the physical safety of a business. Most state employers look for inspectors with relevant experience. The following job openings were posted in May 2012:

  • A West Virginia agency was seeking a bridge safety inspector to join a safety inspection division. Inspectors must have been able to climb bridges and work in bad weather. Interested applicants must have first passed a written test to be considered. Preference was given to applicants who were certified as a bridge technician-in-training by the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies.
  • A state agency in Pennsylvania was looking to hire anthracite underground mine inspectors to fill five vacancies. The inspectors would audit mines to ensure compliance with all safety rules and regulations. In addition to inspections, the position required inspectors to participate in rescue operations. Applicants must have had at least ten years' experience with underground anthracite coalmines.
  • The Department of Consumer Affairs in California was looking to hire a level one inspector to monitor cosmetology, esthetician, electrology and barbering businesses. Candidates must have been willing to travel overnight and work evenings and weekends as needed. Applicants who were fluent in Spanish or Vietnamese were highly desired.
  • A state insurance department in Texas was looking to hire an inspector to join the Occupational Safety and Health Consultation Program. The inspector would monitor small-size businesses to ensure health and safety in the workplace. Applicants should have had a bachelor's degree plus one year related experience.

How to Stand Out

Successful inspectors have established a strong track record of mitigating risk. Additionally, they must have strong consulting and communication skills to enable effective dialogue with businesses and individuals that will enforce health and safety standards.

Obtaining voluntary professional certification can also bolster a resume. For example, the Board of Certified Safety Professionals offers the Certified Safety Professional (CSP) designation. To apply for the CSP, candidates must have a bachelor's or associate's degree in a health or safety-related field, three years' experience and pass two exams. Inspectors can also take advantage of courses offered by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to enhance their professional education.

Other Careers to Consider

Fire Inspector

If you are interested in the field of health and safety but would like to secure a job with just a high school diploma, consider a position as a fire inspector. Fire inspectors and investigators assess physical structures to ensure that fire codes are being followed. They may analyze a building after a fire to determine the cause of the blaze. While only a high school diploma is needed for many positions, fire inspectors must also pass a training academy. Like a state health inspector, the BLS predicts slow job growth for this position. Opportunities are expected to increase by only nine percent from 2010-2020. In May 2011, the BLS indicated that the median annual wage for all fire inspectors in the U.S. was about $57,000.

Health and Safety Engineer

If you would like a career in health and safety with a slightly brighter outlook and salary projections, consider a position as a health and safety engineer. Engineers develop systems and guidelines to ensure workplace safety. Like many state health and safety inspectors, candidates need a bachelor's degree to secure a position. The BLS predicts that job opportunities for engineers will grow by 13% from 2010-2020. In May 2011, the BLS reported that the median annual salary for all health and safety engineers was about $75,000.

Popular Schools

  • Online Programs Available
    1. Kaplan University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Public Health
      • M.S. in Health Education
      • Master of Healthcare Admin
    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor: Nutrition Science
      • Bachelor: Healthcare Admin
      • Bachelor: Health and Wellness
      • Bachelor: Health Science
    Associate's
      • AAS in Public Safety and Security
  • Online Programs Available
    2. Regent University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • Doctor of Strategic Leadership - Healthcare Leadership
    Master's
      • Master of Arts in Government - Healthcare Policy and Ethics
      • Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership - Healthcare Management
      • Master of Business Administration - Healthcare Management
      • Master of Public Administration - Healthcare Policy and Ethics
    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor of Science in Professional Studies - Leadership Studies
      • Bachelor of Science in Professional Studies - Psychology
      • Bachelor of Science in Psychology
  • Campus and Online Programs
    3. South University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Public Health (MPH)
      • Healthcare Administration (MBA)
      • Healthcare Administration (MHA)
  • Online Programs Available
    4. Grand Canyon University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • EdD in Organizational Leadership - Health Care Administration
    Master's
      • MS in Nursing: Public Health
      • MBA: Health Systems Management
      • MS in Health Care Administration
    Bachelor's
      • BS in Health Care Administration
      • BS in Health Sciences: Professional Development & Advanced Patient Care
      • Bachelor of Science in Behavioral Health Science
  • Online Programs Available
    5. Purdue University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Public Health
  • Online Programs Available
    6. Penn Foster High School

    Program Options

    High School Diploma
      • HS Diploma
  • Campus Locations:
    7. CDI College

    Program Options

    Certificate
      • Diploma in Assistance in Health Care Facilities - Assistance la Personne en tablissement de Sant
      • Diploma in Health Care Assistant
      • Diploma in Health, Assistance & Nursing Sant, Assistance et Soins Infirmiers
      • Diploma in Health Care Aide
  • Philadelphia, PA

    Temple University

  • Portland, OR

    Portland State University

  • Madison, WI

    University of Wisconsin

Featured Schools

Kaplan University

  • Master of Public Health
  • Bachelor: Nutrition Science
  • AAS in Public Safety and Security

Which subject are you interested in?

Regent University

  • Doctor of Strategic Leadership - Healthcare Leadership
  • Master of Arts in Government - Healthcare Policy and Ethics
  • Bachelor of Science in Professional Studies - Leadership Studies

What is your highest level of education completed?

South University

  • Public Health (MPH)
  • Healthcare Administration (MBA)
  • Healthcare Administration (MHA)

What is your highest level of education completed?

Grand Canyon University

  • EdD in Organizational Leadership - Health Care Administration
  • MS in Nursing: Public Health
  • BS in Health Care Administration

What is your highest level of education?

Purdue University

  • Master of Public Health

What is your highest level of education?

Penn Foster High School

  • HS Diploma

What is your age?

CDI College

  • Diploma in Assistance in Health Care Facilities - Assistance la Personne en tablissement de Sant
  • Diploma in Health Care Assistant
  • Diploma in Health, Assistance & Nursing Sant, Assistance et Soins Infirmiers

What year did you graduate high school?