Public Health Technician
Environmental Health Careers with State and County Health Departments
Employing science and engineering graduates from a variety of disciplines, environmental health programs offer meaningful and satisfying careers helping protect people and communities from public health risks. They provide an attractive variety of work assignments and settings, and ample opportunity for professional development and advancement. State positions and most county jobs offer excellent fringe benefits including subsidized health insurance coverage, reasonable and flexible work hours, generous amounts of leave time, and unrivaled pension plans. In combination, these factors allow science and technology graduates to experience gratifying careers while enjoying an enviable quality of life.
Recent surveys indicate there is a substantial shortfall of candidates for these jobs.
Under the direction of sanitarians and other environmental health professionals, technicians promote public health by conducting inspections and preparing reports that document compliance with the Public Health Law and the State Sanitary Code in settings such as: restaurants, children's camps, hotels, campgrounds, swimming pools, bathing beaches, water and sewage treatment systems. Technicians may also assist with investigations of illness outbreaks, children's camp injuries, and environmental conditions conducive to childhood lead poisoning, and may respond to public health nuisances, indoor air violation complaints and public health emergencies. They also may conduct reviews of written plans related to operation, construction design, and facility corrections.
In addition to the Public Health Technician title, some county health departments and the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene use other titles for similar positions, including Environmental Health Technician and Environmental Aide. The New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) uses the title of Public Health Inspector.
Candidates typically must posses an associate's degree or have completed 60 credit hours, including 12 credit hours in the natural sciences. Acceptable natural sciences include biology, chemistry, geology, hydrology or physics. Candidates who satisfy these minimum requirements must take a written exam. Candidates who pass the exam are then placed on a civil service recruitment list.
Public Health Technician and related titles exist at most county health departments. The NYSDOH uses Public Health Inspectors primarily for summer positions, in nine state district offices.
Salaries vary depending on location, title and grade level. For example, the NYSDOH Public Health Inspector title is state salary grade 11, which has a salary range of $32,500 to $41,500 effective April 2008. Public Health Technician salaries vary from county to county.
Contact & application information
Written exams are conducted and vacancy announcements issued periodically. Both types of announcements for state positions can be found on the NYSDOH web site. Additional information on environmental health jobs and activities can be found at the Public Health Works ! link found on that page. Questions about employment opportunities with the NYSDOH may be e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or you may contact the agency's Bureau of Personnel Management at 518-486-1812. Employment opportunities at county health departments can be obtained by contacting individual counties; contact information can be found through the New York State Department of Civil Service web site, or through related links at the NYSDOH web site listed above such as that of the New York State Association of County Health Officials.
New York City job postings and related information are found at http://www.nyc.gov/html/doh/html/hr/career.shtml, or information can be obtained at (212) 788-4655.