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Industrial Hygiene

The industrial hygiene profession deals with the anticipation, recognition, evaluation, and control of occupational health hazards in the workplace. The industrial hygienist evaluates worker exposure to chemical, physical, and biological hazards, and other factors that contribute to unsuitable working conditions. Industrial hygienists implement measures to control these hazards to provide a safe and healthful working environment. They often are involved with safety and environmental issues as well.

Industrial hygiene students are eligible for a minor in chemistry upon graduation. Students find jobs in private industry, government or consulting firms, and an alumni network provides internship and job opportunities. The USU industrial hygiene program is accredited by the Applied Science Accreditation Commission of ABET (www.abet.org), 415 North Charles Street, Baltimore MD 21201, tel. (410) 347-7700. Graduates are encouraged to pursue professional certification as a CIH (www.abih.org) or CSP (www.bcsp.org) and are eligible to receive a GSP (www.bcsp.org/GSP) designation upon graduation. 

Industrial Hygiene Internships

Suggested 4-Year Plan

Major Requirement Sheet

Information for students, from the American Industrial Hygiene Association

USU Industrial Hygiene Student Association

  

Industrial Hygiene Enrollment\Graduation Data:

Year

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

Enrolled with PubH-IH Emphasis

69

79

86

80

71

82

86

 64

Total Graduated with IH

9

14

18

20

16

16

14

 11

Total entered workforce as IH or Safety

6

8

17

17

14

14

8

 9

Total entering Grad School

0

3

1

1

1

0

0

 0

Total pursuing medical, dental, pharmacy, or other health fields

3

3

0

2

0

1

5

 3

Not in any of the above categories

0

0

0

0

1

1

1

 2

TBD = Too be determined

GOALS of the Industrial hygiene program:

The Utah State University baccalaureate industrial hygiene program seeks to graduate well educated, entry level, industrial hygienists who are prepared for either professional practice or graduate school with a solid science background in biology and chemistry and who are competent in the principles and practice of industrial hygiene, prepared with occupational safety skills, and knowledgeable about environmental protection.  The approach of the Utah State University industrial hygiene program to achieving this goal is to integrate the knowledge gleaned from a strong basic science and humanities education into our applied science and professional practice curriculum and to meet the requirements of ABET accreditation (http://main.abet.org/aps/Accreditedprogramsearch.aspx).

Consistent with the above goals, the following Program Educational Objectives have been identified for the Industrial Hygiene emphasis: Graduates will be able to …

  • succeed in an entry-level industrial hygiene position in a regional, national, or international industry or governmental or nongovernmental agency.
  • integrate biological, chemical, and other basic sciences into their professional practice.
  • utilize existing and future technical tools and techniques within their profession.
  • work effectively within the social, organizational, regulatory, and economic constraints and opportunities of their profession.
  • pursue a graduate degree, lifelong learning activities, and/or professional certification.

The USU Industrial Hygiene Program uses the General Criterion 3 of ABET and the ABET Program Criteria for Industrial Hygiene Programs to determine expected Student Outcomes upon graduation from our program.  General Criterion 3 of ABET states that upon graduation students have:

  • an ability to apply knowledge of mathematics, science, and applied sciences 
  • an ability to design and conduct experiments, as well as to analyze and interpret data 
  • an ability to formulate or design a system, process, or program to meet desired needs
  • an ability to function on multidisciplinary teams 
  • an ability to identify and solve applied science problems 
  • an understanding of professional and ethical responsibility
  • an ability to communicate effectively 
  • the broad education necessary to understand the impact of solutions in a global and societal context 
  • a recognition of the need for and an ability to engage in life-long learning
  • a knowledge of contemporary issues 
  • an ability to use the techniques, skills, and modern scientific and technical tools necessary for professional practice. 
  • identify agents, factors, and stressors generated by and/or associated with defined sources, unit operations, and/or processes;
  • describe qualitative and quantitative aspects of generation of agents, factors, and stressors;
  • understand physiological and/or toxicological interactions of physical, chemical, biological, and ergonomic agents, factors, and/or stressors with the human body;
  • assess qualitative and quantitative aspects of exposure assessment, dose-response, and risk characterization based on applicable pathways and modes of entry;
  • calculate, interpret, and apply statistical and epidemiological data;
  • recommend and evaluate engineering, administrative, and personal protective equipment controls and/or other interventions to reduce or eliminate hazards;
  • demonstrate an understanding of applicable business and managerial practices;
  • interpret and apply applicable occupational and environmental regulations;
  • understand fundamental aspects of safety and environmental health
  • attain recognized professional certification

FAQ

It helps if you know Hygeia was the Greek goddess of health. Often depicted with a serpent (a symbol of health), Hygeia is the daughter of Asclepius, the god of medicine, and sister to Panacea, goddess of remedies. The Hippocratic Oath for physicians began "I swear by Apollo the Physician and Asclepius and Hygeia and Panaceia and all the gods and goddesses. . . "
"Hygiene" is the science of the promotion and preservation of health, and "industrial hygiene" is the profession that deals with occupational health hazards. In much of the world, industrial hygiene is more appropriately known as "occupational hygiene".
Industrial hygienists generally like to solve problems and they enjoy helping others. Good speaking and writing skills are important, as industrial hygienists need to communicate and interact with workers and management. Industrial hygiene is a technical field, so it helps to have an aptitude and interest in the sciences. IH professionals are represented by people of all ages, races and genders. For example, one fourth of U.S. industrial hygienists are female.
Industrial hygienists are involved with chemical, physical, and biological hazards, and they often use instruments and specialized equipment to evaluate these hazards. Industrial hygienists specify methods to control the hazards, such as using a ventilation system or wearing protective equipment. While industrial hygienists usually are "generalists" with a wide base of knowledge and expertise, they also may specialize in specific areas like ergonomics or radiation safety, for example.
Industrial hygienists work for government, industry, insurance companies, consultants, and regulatory agencies like OSHA, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. They often find themselves doing work in related fields, such as safety or environmental compliance.
Most industrial hygiene jobs are found in the more industrialized and populated regions of the country, like the East, Midwest, and West Coast. Here in the Intermountain region, many industrial hygienists work for mining companies, government, and industry.

Based on the starting salaries of our graduates from 2011-2015, we have seen a salary range of $33,500 to a high of $76,000, with the average of all salaries being at $59,100. Of course salaries vary based on type of industry, the geographical area, and the position requirements.

For a start, you can check out the IH professional organizations, the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists, and the American Industrial Hygiene Association. For a more technical look at industrial hygiene, visit the Occupational Safety and Health (OSHA) web site. Their "Safety and Health Topics" offer detailed information for specific industrial hygiene and safety subjects. Each topic is organized by the industrial hygiene principles of "recognition", "evaluation", and "control". Also, check out the OSHA Technical Manual for professional-level guidance. Another valuable resource is NIOSH, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.
Utah State has a nationally recognized industrial hygiene program, and our students do very well after graduation. Our program is one of only four accredited undergraduate industrial hygiene programs in the US, and USU Public Health faculty members are certified in industrial hygiene (CIH). USU graduates are eagerly sought by employers looking for quality candidates and students are very successful in pursuing advanced schooling (medical school, graduate school, etc.).