Health and Regulatory Inspectors


Education and Training Requirements

There is such a variety of skills involved in these inspection jobs that the qualifications and education required depend on the area of work.

High School

A bachelor's degree is the minimum education required to be a health or regulatory inspector. High school students should focus on college preparatory classes, such as speech; English, especially writing; business; computer science; and mathematics. Those who have settled on a career path in health and regulatory inspection may focus on biology, health, chemistry, agriculture, earth science, or shop or vocational training.

Postsecondary Training

The specific degree and training qualifications vary for each position and area in which inspection is done. For federal positions, a civil service examination is generally required. Education and experience in the specific field is usually necessary.

Certification, Licensing, and Special Requirements

Certification or Licensing

Certification and licensing requirements vary according to the position. For example, a majority of states require licensing for sanitarians or environmental health inspectors.

Mine safety inspectors may have to take a general aptitude test in addition to having mining experience. They also need some specific skills, such as electrical engineering qualifications for mine electrical inspectors.

No written examination is required for agricultural commodity graders and quarantine inspectors, but they need experience and education in agricultural science.

Additional certification can be obtained from various professional organizations, such as the American Board of Industrial Hygiene (ABIH). ABIH offers the certified industrial hygienist designation for occupational and health safety inspectors. The Board of Certified Safety Professionals also provides several certification credentials. 

Other Requirements

Requirements vary with each position. Postal inspector positions, for example, require candidates to pass a background check and a drug test, meet certain health requirements, possess a valid driver's license, and be a citizen of the United States between the ages of 21 and 36 years of age.

Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits

Depending on the particular inspection job, you may need prior general work experience in the field (such as aviation or agriculture). Much of the training will be on the job, but you will also need a license for many jobs, and some require passing civil service exams. To succeed as an inspector, you must be up to date in the laws and codes in your field. You should also be open to travel, since you will have to visit many different sites.

Health and regulatory inspectors must be precision-minded, have an eye for detail, and be able to accept responsibility. They must be tenacious and patient as they follow each case from investigation to its conclusion. They need to be able to communicate well with others in order to reach a clear analysis of a situation and be able to report this information to a superior or coworker. Inspectors must be able to write effective reports that convey vast amounts of information and investigative work.