How to Become an Industrial Hygienist

If you’re interested in starting a career as an Industrial Hygienist, then read on. This guide contains essential information such as educational requirements, necessary skills, average salaries and more.

 

What Does an Industrial Hygienist Do?

Industrial Hygienists are responsible for monitoring, evaluating and fixing health and safety issues within the workplace. Industrial Hygienists can work in a variety of settings, including government agencies, independent consulting firms, factories and mines.

In addition to analyzing different types of physical hazards, Industrial Hygienists also work with management and administration personnel in order to make sure that any present hazards or code violations are understood and dealt with accordingly. Common Industrial Hygienist duties and responsibilities include:

  • Evaluating air quality, heat, stress, noise levels and other factors
  • Recording their observations and findings
  • Ensuring that all health and safety protocols are followed

Industrial Hygienist Skills

All Industrial Hygienists need to be experts in their field so that they can quickly and correctly identify dangers in the workplace, whether those dangers are chemical or biological. And, since properly neutralizing those dangers requires the cooperation of multiple parties, Industrial Hygienists also need to have excellent communication skills so that any hazardous situation can be resolved as smoothly and efficiently as possible.

Other key Industrial Hygienist skills include:

  • Strong record-keeping skills
  • Attention to detail
  • Math proficiency
  • Computer literacy

 

How Do You Become an Industrial Hygienist?

Education and Training

According to our analysis of online job postings, employers are looking for Industrial Hygienists with a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree n industrial hygiene, engineering, public health, environmental health and safety or a related field.

While not all employers require candidates to have a master’s degree, all employers do require candidates to have a bachelor’s degree. Whether or not you decide to earn a master’s degree as well as a bachelor’s degree is up to you, although it’s worth noting that having a master’s will broaden your employment options.

Additionally, some employers require potential candidates to either be a CIH (Certified Industrial Hygienist) or CSP (Certified Safety Professional). Even if an employer does not explicitly state that you must be certified, obtaining certification of your own volition will not only make you better suited for any position but will also demonstrate initiative and dedication to employers. Click here for information on becoming a CIH, or click here for information on becoming a CSP.

Finding a Job

According to data published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, demand for Occupational Health and Safety Specialists, which includes Industrial Hygienists, will increase 4 percent. This is expected to result in the opening of 2,800 new positions between 2014 and 2024.

Before you start looking for jobs, be sure to have a polished and professional resume ready for submission. Take a look at JobHero’s library of carefully curated Industrial Hygienist resume samples for ideas and guidance.

Once your resume is ready to go, conduct an online job search to find open positions in your area. Before you start sending off applications, though, you’ll want to consider writing a cover letter to accompany your resume. A good cover letter can convey your work ethic, special areas of expertise and reasons for applying to prospective employers. Check out our extensive collection of cover letter samples for inspiration.

 

How Much Do Industrial Hygienists Get Paid?

Depending on whether they work as a permanent employee or a contractor, Industrial Hygienists can get paid on either an hourly wage basis or an annual wage basis. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median hourly wage for Industrial Hygienists is $33.75, with the lowest-paid earning $19.66 per hour and the highest-paid earning $49.51 per hour.

Top Ten States for Industrial Hygienist Salary

Industrial Hygienists in the following ten states make the highest median hourly wage in the U.S.

  1. District of Columbia: $41.61
  2. Rhode Island: $40.81
  3. Alaska: $39.66
  4. California: $38.58
  5. New Jersey: $38.50
  6. Connecticut: $36.95
  7. Maryland: $36.77
  8. North Dakota: $36.72
  9. Colorado: $36.21
  10. Washington: $36.11

 

Industrial Hygienist Resources

We put together this list of resources to help you keep exploring your career as an Industrial Hygienist.

Professional Groups

American Industrial Hygiene Association – AIHA was founded in 1939, has over 10,000 members and aims to protect worker health. It provides its members with 75 local sections, a magazine and journal, a member directory, webinars, virtual conferences, online courses and an annual conference.

Industrial Hygienists on LinkedIn

EHSQ Elite – This group of more than 80,000 members aims to connect professionals in the field of Environment, Health, Safety and Quality (ESHQ). Here you can share knowledge, exchange advice, look for job openings and stay updated on industry news.

American Industrial Hygiene Association – This group has over 17,000 members and is a great way to network with other members of AIHA.

Industrial Hygienist Books

Fundamentals of Industrial Hygiene – This valuable resource is great for both students studying for exams and experienced professionals in need of a reference guide. It contains thorough explanations of the practices and procedures used by Industrial Hygienists.

OSHA General Industry Regulations – A thorough knowledge of the rules and regulations created by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is essential to every Industrial Hygienist, and this book goes over those regulations in a straightforward and easy-to-read manner.

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