Approximately 557,510 inspectors, testers, sorters, samplers, and weighers are employed in the United States. Employers of health and regulatory inspectors include the federal government (mainly in the Departments of Agriculture, Defense, Homeland Security, Justice, Labor, and Treasury), state and local governments, the U.S. Postal Service, and many insurance companies, hospitals, educational institutions, and manufacturing firms. Most environmental health inspectors work for state and local governments. The federal government employs the majority of inspectors in certain areas, such as food and agriculture, which come under the U.S. Public Health Service or the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Consumer safety is evenly divided between local government and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Regulatory inspectors work for the Federal Aviation Administration, Treasury Department, Department of Labor, and Department of Justice.
Applicants may enter the occupations by applying to take the appropriate civil service examinations. Education in specific areas may be required. Some positions require a degree or other form of training. Others need considerable on-the-job experience in the field.
The civil service commissions for state and local employment will provide information on health and regulatory inspection positions under their jurisdiction. The federal government provides information on available jobs at local offices of the employment service, at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, at federally-sponsored American Job Centers, and on the Web site USAJobs (http://www.usajobs.gov). The specific agency concerned with a job area can also be contacted.
Advancement for health and regulatory inspectors in the federal government is based on the civil service promotion and salary structure. Advancement is automatic, usually at one-year intervals, for those people whose work is satisfactory. Additional education may also contribute to advancement to supervisory positions.
Advancements for health and regulatory inspectors in state and local government and in private industry are often similar to those offered at the federal level.
Ask your guidance counselor to set up an interview with an inspector in your field of interest.
Join student organizations related to your area of interest, such as 4-H for agricultural, veterinary, or food inspection.
Visit the Web sites of municipal governments to learn about local health compliance laws. Some Web sites, such as the Restaurant Inspection Web site of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (http://www1.nyc.gov/site/doh/index.page), post inspection reports of restaurants and food facilities.
Get a part-time job or internship with a government regulatory agency.