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What is Industrial Hygiene?
By Sam MacArthur

Obtaining an industrial hygienist degree offers opportunities for your career. By understanding the degree program and the potential advantages of certification, you can determine whether you want to focus on industrial hygiene or related fields.

What is Industrial Hygiene?

Before you take measures to obtain an appropriate degree, you want to ask what is industrial hygiene and what can you expect from the work. The fundamentals of industrial hygiene focus on identifying and evaluating potential stresses and risks in a work environment. It then strives to find a solution to address risks and control the environment to reduce the potential for injuries or sickness in the workplace.

The importance of industrial hygiene cannot be understated. An industrial hygienist plays a critical role in the health and safety of professionals in a variety of work environments. Industrial hygiene ensures that a company is not facing challenges with keeping their employees safe from harmful situations. On the larger level, industrial hygienists are part of the greater effort to promote public health in industrialized, urban America.

What Does an Industrial Hygienist Do?

While you may understand the goal of industrial hygiene, you still want to ask what does an industrial hygienist do for their job. The industrial hygiene job description may vary slightly based on the industry and work environment, but some factors remain similar in most jobs.

Industrial hygienist jobs focus on making a work environment safe for the employees as well as the local community. An industrial hygiene job description may focus on addressing specific risks that already exist in the workplace. For example, ensuring that the company and employees follow safety protocols when handling dangerous and toxic chemicals. Hygienists may also focus on checking automatic systems, such as the ventilation, to prevent risks to employees when problems arise. In some areas, the role of an industrial hygienist may overlap with an environmental health specialist, as the hazards workers face are also environmental hazards.

The jobs may also focus on factors associated with identifying potential problems. For example, an industrial hygienist may develop safety protocols for a new company or address concerns related to the current practices of an older business model. The primary role of an industrial hygienist is evaluating, assessing, and improving safety procedures.

Do Industrial Hygienists Make More With Certification?

When it comes to the industrial hygienist salary, certification such as the American Board of Industrial Hygiene (ABIH) Certified Industrial Hygienist may play a role in advancing in your career. The certified industrial hygienist salary makes slightly more than a hygienist without certification in a similar role, but exact details may vary based on location, industry, and your place of work. Exact details regarding your salary and compensation may differ based on several factors.

Your role in industrial hygiene may also impact your salary. On average, professionals working in management positions have a higher income when compared to other roles. You may also make more in certain industries, such as pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries, so you want to compare your options before you finalize a position in any company. Keep in mind that companies may set different standards based on the risks and concerns associated with their industry and services. For example, research companies may have higher risks due to the nature of their research and may require certain certification and education standards before you start working. Details about your salary and benefits in a company may vary.

Working as an industrial hygienist offers opportunities in a variety of industries and companies. The key is obtaining the right degree and certification to obtain your career goals. Since you can work in a variety of fields and industries, you will want to focus on long-term plans to determine when to consider certification or a higher education.

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