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Our Planet, Our Health: 5 Careers in Environmental Healthcare to Know About this World Health Day

06 April 2022   |   by Explore Careers

More than perhaps ever, the field of healthcare and medicine is firmly in the spotlight. With the impact of COVID-19 still moving across our communities, vaccines and boosters, health has definitely been on our minds!

With World Health Day coming up later this week, we thought now might be the perfect time to turn our focus toward careers in this sector.

What is World Health Day?

World Health Day (WHD) is a global health awareness day, celebrated on the 7th of April every year to mark the anniversary of the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) founding in 1948 and raise awareness of different health-related issues.

Each year, a theme is selected to highlight a priority area of public health concern globally. The theme for 2022 is Our Planet, Our Health.

This year’s theme acknowledges how intricately our physical health is linked to a healthy planet. Amid a pandemic, a polluted planet, increasing diseases like cancer, asthma, and heart disease, on World Health Day 2022, WHO will focus on the actions needed to keep humans and the planet healthy and foster focus on well-being.

5 Careers in Environmental Healthcare to Explore

As awareness of the link between the environment and health grows, there are a number of emerging and developing careers in this sector.

Many of these roles focus on better understanding, analysing and managing health through environmental considerations. Others focus on raising education within specific industries, including agriculture and food production.

Let’s take a look at five growing careers in the sector:

1. Environmental Health Officer

Environmental Health Officers are quickly becoming in demand as more organisations across different sectors seek to understand their environmental impact and how to manage, reduce and prevent health disasters. In this role, you’ll help develop, enforce and evaluate environmental health policies, programs and strategies to improve health outcomes for employers and local communities. You’ll also oversee the implementation of environmental health legislation and that companies stick to it! You could work across different sectors or specialise in one niche area – it’s unlikely that any two days will be the same!

2. Corporate Health and Safety Director

Working closely with Environmental Health Officers, Corporate Health and Safety Directors support upper management to ensure consistent and up-to-date implementation of safety practices – usually those recommended by the Health Officer!  In this role, you’ll be responsible for providing and directing safety and health programs for every employee within an organisation, which might typically involve managing a team of other professionals to deliver key programs and messaging. Another key responsibility involves continuously developing safety practices and compliance with corporate and Workplace Health and Safety (WHS) and Occupational Health and Safety (OHS).

3. Food Safety Inspector

Food contamination and inadequate disposal of food waste can cause significant environmental issues and people’s health! Food Safety Inspectors are the first line of defence, protecting us from these potential risks and ensuring high standards are adhered to at all times. You’ll ensure correct procedures are followed during processing, packaging and transport activities. You might also be involved in conducting tests to check food quality, alongside quality and assurance and compliance paperwork. This is no easy job often requires working across various environments, indoors, outdoors and in all kinds of temperature climates!

4. Environmental Engineer

Where innovation is required, you can bet you’ll find some engineers – and environmental health is no different! Engineers in this field create protocols and implement systems to help prevent sickness, injury, and damage – to communities, individuals, organisations and property. You’ll merge in-depth knowledge of systems engineering with health and safety procedures to ensure chemicals, machinery, software, and other used materials won’t cause any immediate or long-term harm to people or property.

5. Occupational Health Therapist

The work environments and conditions we operate in day after day can also be a big area that impacts our overall health – this is especially true in roles that require a lot of physical movement and labour, such as construction or athletes, or roles with high stress, such as emergency doctors or firefighting crews. Occupational Therapists assess the functional limitations of people resulting from illnesses and disabilities. You’ll provide ongoing therapy and guidance to enable people to get back into performing their daily activities and occupations. A part of the role might also involve outreach and education, helping the professionals you serve to manage their health in their positions before a health crisis hits.

Environmental Health Career: The Starting Point

To get started with a career in environmental health, you’ll usually require a bachelor’s degree as a minimum in one of the following subjects:

  • Environmental health
  • Environmental science
  • Public health
  • Environmental management

You could study these subjects in science, health science, social science or natural science. And if you’re interested in the engineering pathway, you’ll need to start down that route – usually specialising in your postgrad study.

Where to Find Out More

Our Industry Profiles are a great place to start learning more about this sector and all the others that intersect with it, including salaries, career pathways, and everything in between!


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