Charlene Brassington, Interim Program Director
Environmental health is the study and management of factors that can 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 professionals, industrial hygienists, and occupational safety specialists.
Environmental health professionals manage environmental health and safety programs, work with communities to address environmental hazards, conduct environmental hazard and accident investigations, provide safety training, conduct safety audits, perform Job Hazard Analysis, work to foster sustainability, and lead emergency preparedness and response services. Industrial hygienists conduct evaluations and monitor harmful agents and health hazards (such as: noise and vibration, chemicals, gases and vapors, radiation, heat, and biohazards) in the work environment and recommend controls to minimize the health risk to workers in the occupational environment. In simple terms they anticipate, recognize, evaluate and control occupational exposures. On the environmental side, environmental health professionals engage in education, consultation, and enforcement relating to local, state and federal environmental health laws, regulations, and standards. They work on air and water quality, food safety, management of hazardous and infectious materials, housing, disease vectors, institutional environments, and other environmental health issues. Environmental health professionals manage environmental health and safety programs for companies, government agencies, academic institutions, non-profit organizations, health departments, and military installations.
The program requires three credit hours of internship field practice within an environmental or occupational health facility or industrial site. A variety of internship sites are available in the Hampton Roads area for these experiences. Internship sites throughout the U.S. and overseas are also available. Internships are available any semester but are typically completed in the summer between the junior and senior year. Most internships are paid and many out of area internships offer a stipend to cover expenses.
Upon graduation, students are eligible to sit for the professional licensing examination in environmental health. With work experience, students are eligible to take the certification examinations in industrial hygiene as Certified Industrial Hygienist (CIH) and/or in safety as Associate Safety Professional (ASP) and then a Certified Safety Professional (CSP).
A broad spectrum of employment opportunities are available to graduates. Alumni employment success has been outstanding, with graduates finding employment in agencies such as the USDA, EPA, OSHA, NASA, FDA, and DOD. Many work in private industries, manufacturing plants, the oil industry, consulting firms, health departments, waste and wastewater plants, civil service, and other organizations.
Students may be admitted to the program on the satisfactory completion of 60 semester hours of recommended study of required prerequisite courses and with the approval of the program director. Applications to the program, including all materials, may be submitted any time during the academic year for consideration for admission. Permission must be granted by the program director prior to applying to the program if the student has fewer than the 60 semester hours of required prerequisite courses.