Public Health Engineer

Finding a job that you love is important. There are plenty of factors that can turn a regular job into your dream career, including excellent pay, personal rewards, and good job security. For many, a career as a public health engineer meets all of those and more. It allows one to work in a position that helps others, but doesn’t require them to administer bedside care on a one on one basis.

A career as a public health engineer can be incredibly rewarding and open up a variety of doors for those who enter the field. If you think that a career as a public health engineer is right for you but still want to learn more about what it entails and what it has to offer, read on.

What Is a Public Health Engineer?

A public health engineer is responsible for designing tools and systems or developing new policies and procedures that help prevent others from being sick or injured. They may find employment in a government agency, but often work in the private sector as well where they focus their attention on a single company.

The job involves numerous things including:

  • Address the public or lawmakers about health concerns or regulations
  • Assist problem facilities or private industries in improving their safety levels
  • Inspect and analyze public health facilities and systems
  • Develop plans for improving facilities and health programs
  • Educate public about health concepts and safety measures
  • Review data and lab reports
  • Consult with various agencies to enhance safety

Those in this position will often evaluate sanitation and health levels in hotels, campground, restaurants, parks, beaches, public meeting spaces, and more. Even the air and water quality in an area will be monitored by those in this position.

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Proper education and training will help tremendously in improving one’s ability to do their job, but sometimes personal qualities have a big impact on job performance as well. There are several specific strengths that a person should have that can help enhance their ability to serve as a public health engineer, including the following.

  • Attention to Detail – Being able to spot problem areas and identify them quickly is important.
  • Good Communication Skills – This includes written and spoken communication. A public health engineer will have to prepare reports, give speeches, and more in order to ensure that public health improves. As such, it’s a must that they have good communication skills.
  • Strong Problem Solving Skills – Being able to troubleshoot issues and solve problems is a key component in this field, and will have a direct impact on one’s ability to perform as a public health engineer.
  • Strong Memory – Understanding the different regulations, codes, and rules is important, and having a strong memory is a vital part of the job.

Nature of the Work

An average day as a public health engineer involves visiting different locations and conducting an inspection on them to ensure that they meet all state and federal regulations. Additionally, spotting problem areas that are within guidelines but could be improved is important as well.

The public health engineer will also spend a good bit of their time creating reports and developing methods for improving the public health and reducing various health risks. They also enforce all state and local regulations related to public water, sewage disposal, waste elimination, and much more. As such they find themselves working with numerous representatives of local and state governments on a regular basis.

In most cases public health engineers will be employed in a government agency. Some private sector jobs exist, but they are much rarer than the public sector ones – hence the name ‘public health engineer’.

Education and Training

In order to become a public health engineer, a bachelor’s degree will be required. Often, the degree is that of an environmental engineer with a specialization in the field of public health though some schools offer an outright public health engineer degree. Most states will require a license to become a public health engineer, and a licensing exam will be needed to obtain this certification.

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Public health engineers earn an average of about $76,830 per year or $36.94 hourly according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The specific salary will depend on location, experience, training, and much more.


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