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In Florida, three government organizations hire health inspectors to do inspections related to health, sanitation, and safety. Those organizations include the Department of Health, Department of Business and Professional Regulation, and the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. In addition to meeting educational requirements, in order to become a health inspector, you must seek certification from the Department of Health. You do this through coursework and a final examination. Once you are certified, you may then seek a position as a health inspector with one of these organizations.
Attend and graduate from a 4-year, regionally accredited college or university with a bachelor’s degree in health science, public health, environmental science, physical or biological science. You may pursue other degrees aside from these; however; you must have major coursework in one of the mentioned fields. For certification eligibility purposes, the Department of Health defines major coursework as 30 semester hours. The Department of Health does not demand specific courses, but rather coursework in any of these fields totaling 30-semester hours. The Department of Health publishes a guidelines document to an extensive list of courses recommended and within those guidelines, the document details courses that will not count toward certification eligibility.
Apply to sit for the certification exam administered by the Department of Health. You must complete an application packet for Environmental Health Professional Certification by completing the application form in full. You will need to submit the application form, along with your unopened college transcripts and individual checks made out to the Department of Health for the following fees:
Application and Exam Fee - $25 Certification - $25 Additional Certifications - $10 Certification Renewal - $25
Send you application packet and the supporting documents mentioned, along with the required fees to the following address:
The Department of Health Bureau of Community Environmental Health 4052 Bald Cypress Way, BIN A08 Tallahassee, Fl 32399-1710. Attention: Environmental Health Professional Certification
Take all pre-certification coursework for food inspections as required upon approval of your application for the certification exam. You will take the courses online through the Silliker website, where you can enroll and begin study. Once enrolled, you have six months to complete the courses. The course consists of 30-credit hours with concentrations in statutes and regulations of food safety, microbiology, epidemiology, and Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP). You must pass all these courses before sitting for the certification examination. You will need to pay for the courses yourself upon enrollment. Cost for the required courses is $1,100.
Take the certification and pass the certification exam once you have completed all pre-certification coursework. Upon completion of the coursework, the Department of Health will automatically review your results and notify you that you are eligible to sit for the certification exam. You will receive notification by mail of the next time, date, and location for the exam. The location and scheduling of exams do vary; therefore, the Department of Health does not publish these in advance.
Apply for employment as a health inspector once you have received your certification. Although you are now certified, this does not imply guaranteed employment with the Department of Health or any other entity in Florida. At this point, you will begin your job search at the People First website by registering, searching for open-positions, and applying. Keep in mind you must attain certification first, before you can apply for health inspector positions.
If your long-term goal is to serve as a health inspector, it is best to seek employment with the Department of Health or one of the other organizations mentioned in the overview right after graduation, serving in a different capacity. This is because all organizations usually seek to higher from within for health inspector positions. Although, the Department of Health does hire outside, your best opportunity is applying from within the organization.
When conversing with the Florida Department of Health or any other state organization, keep in mind that the use of email exposes your email address to being released in requests for public records. If you do not want your email address released, you will need to maintain contact by phone or by postal mail.