The Public Health Inspector/Environmental Health Officer (PHI/EHO) is a vital member of the public health team and delivery system. The role of the PHI/EHO includes preventing disease, promoting health and improving the environment through the use of education, consultation, inspection and monitoring techniques and, if necessary, by the enforcement of health legislation. The scope of interest covers food hygiene, insect and rodent control, communicable disease investigation, public accommodation, community care facilities, public recreational facilities, water supply and waste disposal systems, occupational health and safety and environmental pollution - air, water, soil and noise. The graduate provides leadership and technical expertise in the development of long-range planning to protect and improve the public's health. To meet these demands, the candidate must be a mature, practical person and possess excellent communication skills, as well as considerable tact and discretion in working with people at all levels within the community. Proficiency is required in problem-solving and decision-making.
The aim of the program is to prepare students to enter the field of environmental health as professional, effective members of a multi-disciplinary health team. Graduates will be able to recognize, evaluate and manage environmental factors that impact on human health, and will have the knowledge and skills needed to meet a growing range of environmental health roles and responsibilities. Specifically, the goals of the program are to:
The cross-disciplinary curriculum includes general studies in health and the health engineering sciences, liberal studies, health care management, math and the physical and social sciences. Students learn of the many health hazards in the environment and develop skills to measure, evaluate and recommend controls for these hazards. Instructional modes include lectures, labs, guided learning, field trips, directed studies and practical experiences. Environmental health is a complex and rapidly changing area of human endeavour. The program provides a firm foundation of education and experience in the sciences and relates to the reduction of injuries and the protection of human health.
Industry (Practical) Experience
Practical experience is a significant component of this educational program. It consists of field trips, projects and hands-on activities as well as three months of off-campus and directly related experience in an appropriate agency (Practicum). Additional information for the Practicum:
Do you have credits from another BC/Yukon post-secondary school? Do you want to know if they transfer to courses here at BCIT? Check out BCIT's Transfer Equivalency Database to find out.
Employment possibilities include municipal, regional, First Nations, provincial and national health agencies, environmental and pollution control agencies, bylaw enforcement and health education as well as private consulting firms and industries such as food processing, catering and fisheries.
PHIs/EHOs are often employed by municipal, regional, First Nations and federal health agencies. Salaries in British Columbia currently range from $51,000 to $74,000.
Read more about post-baccalaureate opportunities.
Should I still apply to Environmental Health if I am missing entrance requirements?
Plan how you intend to meet these requirements prior to submitting your application. In your letter of intent you should outline which courses you will be upgrading, where you are taking them and when you plan to complete them. It is very important that you submit progress reports so that the department can make a decision on your application. Submit final grades when available.Top
Why are some entrance requirements required and others recommended?
The required entrance requirements provide the minimum background information for you to be successful in the program. The recommended entrance requirements will increase your background knowledge and improve your chances of being successful. For those with only C+ grades in the required entrance requirements, your chances of acceptance will increase if you have also completed one or more of the recommended entrance requirements with C+ or higher. If you are not accepted for a particular intake, you may be asked to upgrade course marks in both the required and recommended entrance requirements.Top
How do I contact a Public Health Inspector/EHO?
Select the agency you wish to contact and locate the contact phone number at health.gov.bc.ca/socsec. Or, if you live in the Greater Vancouver area, you can contact a practising health inspector by referring to the blue pages at the back of the White Pages telephone directory. Under the heading "Health Authorities" there are listings for Vancouver Coastal Health and Fraser Health. For those who live outside the Greater Vancouver area, similar listings may be available in your local phone book. Look for the subheadings for "Public Health Inspection" or "Environmental Health".Top
What if I don't have Microbiology?
BHSC 1023 (Introduction to Microbiology) is offered starting in January every year as a classroom-based evening course at the Burnaby campus. Successful completion of this course will satisfy the microbiology entrance requirement for the program. For a list of approved courses at other institutions, please see the list of equivalency courses [PDF]Top
What if I don't have Biostatistics or Statistics?
It is strongly encouraged that you complete this entrance requirement in advance of entering the program. If you don't have time, you must complete an approved Biostats/Stats course prior to entering Level 7. The workload is such that most students in the program are not usually able to complete this course during the academic year and therefore end up taking it over the summer between Level 6 and 7. Applicants who have completed a course with less than a C+ may be required to upgrade their mark to a C+ or higher prior to Level 7.Top
Can you tell me more about BCIT BSYS 1001 or the Computer Skills requirement?
It is strongly recommended that applicants complete the computer course requirement prior to entering the program. We recommend BSYS 1001 (Business Systems 1, based on MS Office 2007) or you can review the list of equivalency courses [PDF].
If you are unable to complete this requirement prior to entrance then the computer course becomes a graduation requirement
Alternately, a Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) Exam may be an option. The Environmental Health department will try to arrange a PLA Exam for those students who have acquired computer skills without taking a course. If we are unable to arrange the PLA Exam during the two years you are in the program, you will have to complete an approved course prior to graduation.Top
What is an equivalent credential?
The program will consider a wide variety of baccalaureate degrees, associate degrees and 2-year diplomas with substantive science content. Your credential will need to be fully assessed as part of the application process so we are not able to provide detailed feedback by phone or in person. We do accept credentials from other provinces and these are assessed on an individual basis. The specific entrance requirements must be completed either as part of the credential or in addition to the credential.Top
Is there a list of approved entrance requirement equivalency courses available at other institutions?
Yes, Environmental Health has prepared a list of approved equivalency courses [PDF].
If a course you are planning to take doesn’t appear on this list of approved courses, please seek approval prior to registration. Contact Lorraine_Woolsey@bcit.ca with the institution name and the course date, name, number and outline/description.Top
Should I take Liberal Studies elective courses prior to entering the Environmental Health Program?
If you have not completed any LIBS electives, we strongly recommend that applicants complete one or two approved LIBS electives prior to entering the program. LIBS courses are not entrance requirements but it is difficult to complete all 12 credits while you are in the program.
The tuition fee is waived for BCIT LIBS courses taken when you are a full-time student in our program (subject to change) but we feel it is still advantageous for you to take one or two LIBS elective courses in advance if you can afford to do so. Once you have been accepted into the program, you will be advised whether or not any courses you have completed to date qualify as LIBS electives.
View BCIT’s list of Liberal Studies core courses.
Applicants who have not yet applied but are intending to apply to the Environment Health Program in the future can apply for Liberal Studies approval. Send an email to Gene_Homel@bcit.ca with the following information:
Requests may take 2-4 weeks to process and you will receive your approval/disapproval by email. Please save your email approval information and submit it with your applicationTop
Which documents can I submit after my initial application?
Only official transcripts and the 2-3 letters of reference may follow your initial application. Submit as soon as possible (include your student number and submit to Student Information and Enrolment Services) as these documents are required for the department to make a final decision.Top
I received a Provisional Acceptance; what does this mean?
A provisional acceptance means that you have been accepted to the program provided you complete your outstanding requirements 30 days prior to the program start. Under some circumstances you may be able to complete the requirement prior to the first day of classes.Top
I am on a waitlist; what does this mean?
If you have been advised that you are on a waitlist it means that the program is full to capacity. If a student drops out, you may be contacted and offered a seat in the program.Top
Do I need to tell Admissions when I complete an entrance requirement at BCIT?
YES, it is your responsibility to submit final grades of any course including those taken at BCIT.Top
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