Industrial hygienists are scientists and engineers committed to protecting the health and safety of people in the workplace and the community.
Whether you're a fresh graduate from school entering the industrial hygiene profession or a seasoned, certified professional, it takes time and effort to secure the next position on your career ladder. Let AIHA help you find your way through our various resources. From CareerAdvantage, our popular job board and career resource center, to our new IH Professional Pathways program, designed to help you navigate the various paths of IH/OEHS professionals, you can find what you need to take your career to the next level.
New to the IH career field? Some answers to common questions.
What exactly is a professional industrial hygienist?
A professional industrial hygienist is a person possessing either a baccalaureate degree in engineering, chemistry, physics, or 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.
Isn't industrial hygiene restricted to just a few industries?
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
- Agricultural companies
- Chemical companies
- Research laboratories
- Consulting firms
- Manufacturing companies
- Hazardous waste companies
And that's just a short list!
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 IH’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.
Did you know...?
Still not sure about what industrial hygiene is? Check out this infographic about the profession!
What is the CIH designation?
AIHA recognizes the need for certification by every professional industrial hygienist as an appropriate hallmark by one's peers. We strongly urge all professional IHs to obtain Board for Global EHS Credentialing (BGC certification, commonly called the CIH (Certified Industrial Hygienist).
The Board for Global EHS Credentialing (BGC) 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 Board for Global EHS Credentialing.
The active BGC certification process for a CIH requires that the person be admitted to examination based upon academic training and four years of experience, successfully pass a one-day examination, and maintain active professional involvement by recertification on a five-year cycle following first certification.
What resources are available for someone who is interested in industrial hygiene as a career option?
We have a few resources for you to consider checking out:
- Check out this handy infographic about the profession.
- Find a career in industrial hygiene with AIHA's CareerAdvantage program.
- Find more governmental, educational, and other IH and OEHS resources.
- 2013 AIHA Students/Early Career Professionals Fact Sheet
- See what possible career paths are available.