Industrial hygienists are unseen gatekeepers, standing between the public and the products they consume. They go into industrial environments, identify threats to either the workers or the general public, and help come up with solutions for them.
It’s important to work. It’s also difficult.
In this article, we talk about what industrial hygienists do, why it is important, and how to become one.
What Is the Career Outlook for Industrial Hygienists?
Industrial hygienist jobs are projected to expand by approximately 4% in the next six years.
While this pales in comparison to some high-demand career paths, like nursing or education, it is a stable number that suggests industrial hygienists of the future should be received by a receptive job market.
What Is an Industrial Hygienist?
Industrial hygienists work to make factory settings safe, both environmentally, and for the people who are working there.
Not only do they monitor the conditions of the factory to identify potential safety risks, but they also maintain sanitary standards to make sure that environmental waste and material corruption do not pose a risk to the general public safety.
Because their work can take place in many different settings (food, manufacturing etc.) the day-to-day routine of an industrial hygienist can vary significantly based on the specifics of the location they are monitoring.
In all cases, their job is to make safety and hygiene in the workplace a priority.
What Kind of Education do You Need?
Industrial hygienists usually need to have at least a bachelor’s degree in industrial hygiene, or a discipline that will familiarize them with chemicals, and other hazards that they might encounter within a factory setting.
Some industrial hygienists come from a science background, such as chemistry, physics, or biology. Others receive a background education in engineering. A master’s degree is not technically necessary.
However, job candidates with a master’s degree are typically viewed as more desirable and will often command a higher salary than people who only have a bachelor’s degree.
What Salary Do Industrial Hygienists Make?
Industrial hygienist salaries can range dramatically from around $50,000 for entry-level workers, all the way to more than $100,000 for people with more experience and education. While the range is dramatic, industrial hygienists at almost every level command a higher salary than the national average of $50,000.
What Do Industrial Hygienists Do on an Average Day?
Every industry has its own health and safety standards for production. It is the job of the industrial hygienist to make sure these standards are being upheld. They perform their job by going into industrial settings and looking to identify areas in which safety and sanitary standards are lax.
Sometimes their job is to be proactive. In situations where threats are not currently active, the hygienist works with the manufacturing company to come up with a plan that will maintain health and safety standards.
It’s often said that the core responsibilities of the industrial hygienist are to “identify, anticipate, and prevent risk.”
Though the way these responsibilities are carried out may vary depending on the day, the end goal is always the same: to make production safer, both for workers and the general public.
Is it Safe to Be an Industrial Hygienist?
Though hygienists work to identify risks, they usually do not come into contact with them. However, their job does involve stepping into situations that contain many variables. Depending on the scene they are investigating, they may come into contact with harsh chemicals, or noxious fumes that could pose a threat to health and wellness — particularly in the event of prolonged exposure.
Industrial hygienists are typically well-trained to avoid personal risk. They are also outfitted with equipment that keeps them safe from typical industrial threats.
Public Health and Safety Careers
Industrial hygiene is one of the many careers that fall under the broader umbrella of public health and safety. Similar jobs include city inspectors, air and water quality analysts, environmental scientists, and, in short, any other job that focuses on making communities safer for the people living in them.
Not only do these jobs make a difference in the lives of the people they affect, but they are also well compensated, with most of them producing salaries that range from the upper five figures to the early six figures.
While the background for each of these careers may vary somewhat, many involve education in engineering. College students who are interested in focusing their career in public health should speak with their guidance counselors to learn more about what they should focus on in their studies. Was this article on industrial hygienist job outlook helpful? Please leave a comment below.