Build Your Career
The Career and Employment Services Committee (CES) is a diverse group of AIHA members who, in conjunction with the Student and Early Career Professionals Committee, work to attract others to careers in the occupational and environmental health and safety (OEHS) profession.
- Students and Young Professionals - AIHA is committed to reaching out to students and young professionals pursing careers in industrial hygiene and other OEHS professions.
- CareerAdvantage - CES assists AIHA members in identifying employment and career opportunities and provides forums such as the Development Fair, online job board, career counseling, and webinars to enhance career transition skills.
Careers in Industrial Hygiene
What Does an Industrial Hygienist Do?
Job diversity is a major benefit to consider when choosing a career in the environmental health and safety arena. Industrial hygienists are not limited to one particular type of industry; they are employed in a variety of organizations such as:
- Public Utilities
- Colleges and universities
- Insurance companies
- Labor unions
- Chemical companies
- Research laboratories
- Consulting firms
- Manufacturing companies
- Hazardous waste companies
Many industrial hygienists work for private corporations or federal or state government agencies as salaried employees. However, the fastest-growing segment of the industrial hygiene profession is self-employment or consulting. Many industrial hygiene careers can lead to upper management positions. The hygienist’s job is a multifaceted one that touches every aspect of an organization and benefits a company’s bottom line through increased productivity, improved morale, and lower workers’ compensation and liability costs. The industrial hygienist acts as an adviser, making recommendations and setting standards to keep the workplace safe. This requires working with employees at all job levels and requires a genuine commitment to caring about people and the environment.
Self-starters who take pride in their work and care about people and the environment are well suited for this profession. Diverse job responsibilities allow the IH to choose from many types of work. Plus, there is always an opportunity to become a consultant and start a business.
The salary depends on many variables, including education, tenure and certification. The following figures are based on the 2008 AIHA salary survey. As of January 1, 2008, 25% of respondents earned $81,000 or less and 25% earned $120,000 or more. The average mean salary for all respondents was $94,947. The median was $90,000 and the maximum was $375,000.
A professional industrial hygienist is a person possessing either a baccalaureate degree in engineering, chemistry, physics, or in a closely related biological or physical science from an accredited college or university, who also has a minimum of three years of industrial hygiene experience. A completed doctorate in a related physical, biological or medical science or in related engineering can be substituted for two years of the three-year requirement. A completed master's degree in a related physical or biological science or in related engineering can be substituted for one year of the three-year requirement. Under no circumstances can more than two years of graduate training be applied toward the three-year period.
While this definition does not include certification, the American Industrial Hygiene Association recognizes the need for such certification by every professional industrial hygienist as an appropriate hallmark by one's peers and strongly urges all eligible members to obtain American Board of Industrial Hygiene certification.
The American Board of Industrial Hygiene
has established that successful candidates for certificates shall attain the status of Diplomate of the American Academy of Industrial Hygiene subject to compliance with requirements established by the American Board of Industrial Hygiene.
The active ABIH certification requires that the person be admitted to examination based upon academic training and four years of experience for the Certified Industrial Hygienist (CIH), successfully pass a one-day examination, and maintain active professional involvement by recertification on a five-year cycle following first certification.
The Certified Industrial Hygienist (CIH) certification distinguishes an industrial hygienist and also advances the profession in general. An industrial hygienist is eligible for certification after working four years in the field and involves passing a comprehensive one-day certification exam. When the exam is passed and all requirements are met, an industrial hygienist becomes a certified industrial hygienist, also known as a CIH. To maintain certification, industrial hygienists participate in continuing education programs. For more information about certification, go to the American Board of Industrial Hygiene (ABIH), www.abih.org
Twenty-two universities currently offer ABET accredited industrial hygiene masters level programs.
ABET Accreditation of Bachelors-Level Industrial Hygiene Programs