Environmental Health Sciences
In the wake of recent man-made and natural disasters, the US is placing a high priority on building up the nation's public health workforce. Since 2002, Federal funding has increased for public health preparedness, including scholarship and loan repayment programs, workforce development grants, and funding for emergency preparedness. What does this mean for you? It means that with a degree in public health, you’ll be in high demand – and on a career path filled with advancement opportunities.
The air we breathe; the water we drink; the land we build on and the homes we live in... numerous elements of our natural and man-made environment have the potential to affect our health.
Complex interactions between human genetics and our physical surroundings can give rise to a variety of diseases and health conditions - including asthma, cancer, and food poisoning. Environmental health professionals improve public health by focusing all their efforts on identifying and addressing these environmental risk factors.
This is a wide-ranging, complex, and multifaceted profession, spanning chemistry, toxicology and engineering, among other disciplines. It also involves collaboration with and reliance upon other professionals, including chemists, geologists, biologists, meteorologists, physicists, physicians and engineers.
If you love science, are good at seeing "the big picture," and tend to be a team player, this could be the perfect health career for you.
With a degree in environmental health, you can work in a wide range of jobs and work settings. For instance, you may work for an environmental health-related agency of the federal government, such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the National Center for Environmental Health (NCEH at CDC), the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), or the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
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Because environmental health is so broad in scope, it is often broken down by the type of risk factors you will focus upon in your career:
To find accredited schools of public health with environmental health science programs, see the Association of Schools of Public Health website. Search for schools that provide training for this career.
A complete list of accredited programs can be found on the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH) website.
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Last updated: March 9, 2014
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