Bachelor of Science in Environmental Health
A. James English, Program Director
Environmental health is the study and management of factors that adversely affect the environment and the health and well-being of humans. The curriculum in environmental health, which is accredited by the National Environmental Health Science and Protection Accreditation Council, encompasses a variety of disciplines in the preparation of environmental health specialists, industrial hygienists, and occupational safety specialists.
Environmental health specialists are responsible for education, consultation, and enforcement relating to local, state and federal laws, regulations, and standards governing the safety and sanitation of air, water, milk, food, solid, hazardous and infectious wastes, sewage, housing, institutional environments, and other health hazards. They are actively involved in the overall environmental quality within a community and prevention of diseases associated with environmental factors. Industrial hygienists conduct health hazard evaluations, perform health effects/risk assessment research, and manage health programs in industries or governmental organizations. They anticipate, recognize, evaluate, control, and eliminate health hazards in industry, the community, or the environment. Occupational safety professionals similarly anticipate, identify and evaluate hazardous conditions and practices in the workplace. They develop, implement, administer, measure and evaluate the effectiveness of hazard control programs.
The program requires six credit hours of field practice or internship within an environmental health setting, either a governmental or industrial site. A variety of internship sites are available in the Hampton Roads area for these experiences. Internship sites elsewhere in the state, nation, or world can also be arranged if desired. Internships are typically taken the summer between the junior and senior year. Students are responsible for providing their own transportation to these sites. Upon graduation, students are eligible to sit for the professional licensing examination in environmental health. With experience, students are eligible to take the certification examination in industrial hygiene and/or occupational safety.
A broad spectrum of employment opportunities is available to graduates whose employment success has been outstanding. Graduates have found positions in local, state, and federal health and environmental agencies such as the FDA, USDA, EPA, OSHA, NASA, and DOD. Many work in hospitals, industries, insurance companies, laboratories, consulting firms, waste and wastewater plants, and other organizations, agencies and firms.