Healthcare is more than just eating an apple a day.
Although doctors and nurses are an important part of maintaining our society’s health, there are also lots of other jobs that help keep us healthy – many of which we’ve never even thought of.
How clean is that needle in your tattoo parlour? How terrible is the air quality on the SkyTrain you take every morning? What’s really happening to your takeout food before you bring it home?
All these questions are answered by people in the environmental health profession, and some of the jobs they do are pretty interesting.
Public health inspector
The world is a germ-riddled place, and public health inspectors are there to make sure the public doesn’t get too sick from it. These inspectors examine everywhere from swimming pools and community drinking water systems to restaurants and tattoo parlours to make sure everyone is kept safe and healthy in community areas.
Positions at the Canadian Food Inspection Agency
This is where the food portion comes in. Although both public health inspectors and environmental health officers can respond to complaints and investigate particular restaurants, people at the Canadian Food Inspection Agency focus on food safety across the whole country. They put out food recall notices, do research on diseases like mad cow disease, and help keep the food industry accountable to Canadians.
Environmental health officer
Public health inspectors and environmental health officers are two different names for the same job, and are used interchangeably. They commonly work in government to keep our communities safe and healthy, making sure that everyone complies with health and safety laws. They’re kind of like the police officers of the healthcare world.
Positions with the health authorities
Regional health authorities are one of the largest employers for people in the environmental health profession. The health authorities are responsible for identifying population health needs, planning programs and services, and making sure those programs are properly managed. And to do all that, they need people who are attentive to their communities, creating action plans to keep everyone healthy.
The need for environmental health is everywhere – from food inspection to air and water quality. Almost every industry needs to make sure it’s safeguarding public health.
Students in the BCIT environmental health bachelor program get to investigate these questions in their research work. They also get to continue working on these issues after they graduate.
The BCIT environmental health bachelor program is the only one of its kind in BC. It trains students to safeguard public health through legislation, education, and promotion – and it lets them get practical experience they can use as soon as they graduate.