Working in the health field is something that plenty of people consider. The reasons are obvious – knowing that you’re helping others, earning a great salary, and enjoying good professional benefits are the hallmarks of the medical field and are hard to ignore. But not everyone wants to provide direct, one on one patient care. Luckily, there are numerous other areas within the public health field that allow you to work without doing so. Becoming a consumer safety officer is one such career path.
This position is unique in that it has a direct impact on thousands of people, even though those same people are unlikely to ever see your face. If you want to learn more about becoming and working as a consumer safety officer, keep reading.
What Is a Consumer Safety Officer?
A consumer safety officer works to inspect various industries that are regulated by the government. They inspect for health violations, regulatory non-compliance, and procedures and techniques. Different areas of focus exist within the field, and these professionals may work to monitor foods, drugs, and more.
Common job duties for these professionals include:
- Routinely monitor and inspect various facilities and organizations for compliance
- Coordinate review process for new drugs being developed
- Investigate any complaints related to a specific product or organization
- Begin action against violators of various codes and regulations
- Develop new inspection techniques
- Manage data and monitor it for changes
- Plan and direct new or existing regulatory programs
- Help advise various officials and representatives about different policies, methods, and techniques related to consumer safety.
The most common employer of consumer safety officers is the government, in particular the Food and Drug Administration – the FDA. These positions are available throughout the country, and the consumer safety officer will work to inspect and monitor all products and industries that are regulated by the FDA. Some other employers exist, but they are rare.
As with any job, having skills and characteristics that match the job duties is important. Your training will help as well, but the following areas will be well worth paying attention to if you’re considering this career. Strength in these areas is important for your success in the position.
- Good Communication – Being able to communicate well is vital since you’ll be coordinating with others in the field, explaining policies to company managers and owners, and more.
- Strong Organization – Being able to organize information and reports is important. You’ll likely work on a number of cases in numerous locations, and as such being able to keep track of data is a must.
- Good Memory – Part of the job is directly related to your knowledge of regulations and laws. The better your memory, the more information you’ll be able to quickly recall when needed.
Nature of the Work
The overall nature of the work is a combination of field work and office work. An average day will usually involve conducting on-site inspections, meeting with state and local officials to consult with them about safety related issues, and more. In the office, filing reports, planning new regulatory programs, and reviewing new policies will be common.
In some instances, attending special training classes and conferences may be involved as well. The job requires a variety of skills in a number of locations, and as such it is one that is more likely to stay interesting for those who don’t want to spend all of their time behind a desk.
Education and Training
In order to become a consumer safety officer, you’ll need to have a bachelor’s degree or higher in a field directly related to the industry. Usually, food technology, epidemiology, medical science, physical science, and other public health related areas of study are preferred. Your studies should focus on areas that are directly linked to overall consumer safety. Additionally, holding a master’s or higher degree will usually open up better opportunities, and real world experience in the field will have a major impact on finding employment as well.
Salaries are well above the national average, and usually range from $75,000 to more than $115,000 depending on position, experience, and employer. The job is in demand, and the need for these professionals is expected to grow significantly over the future as the country’s population continues to increase and more safety officers are needed.