The BCIT Environmental Public Health program is applied learning at its best. Our industry-leading instructors train you to become a health inspector and environmental public health professional.
Through legislation, education, and promotion, our graduates work with people in almost every industry to safeguard public health. It’s an important job. Our students gain current, practical experience to become certified and start working as soon as they graduate.
About The Program
- Two-year, full-time Bachelor of Environmental Public Health program
- Small class size provides you with individual support
- Lectures, field trips, and research deliver a solid theory-based knowledge
- A three-month practical experience at a BC health agency gives you direct field experience
Visit Program Details to learn more about the BCIT Environmental Health program and the features of our practical experience.
Who It’s For
This program is for individuals who:
- Like working with teams to problem solve and manage conflict in a public health setting
- Enjoy a flexible work environment that changes daily
- Have an interest in building strong communication skills
- Have two or more years of post-secondary education
Our selection process helps you start off on the right foot. Click on Entrance Requirements to find out if this program is right for you.
What Grads Can Do
Our grads can work anywhere in Canada. Our program sets students up to thrive from day one of their future career. See Graduating and Jobs to learn what a future in environmental public health looks like.
Watch the Environmental Public Health program video.
Note: In alignment with public health orders, this program requires that students be vaccinated for a number of communicable diseases – including COVID-19.
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.
This program prepares students to enter the field of environmental public 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. They will have the knowledge and skills needed to meet a growing range of environmental health roles and responsibilities, specifically:
- expanded knowledge, skills, and attitudes necessary to meet the current and evolving needs of employers, the profession, and the community;
- a commitment to life-long learning and professional growth;
- an appropriate combination of specialty, research, and multi-disciplinary courses that will promote the development of critical thinking, problem solving, decision making, and communication skills.
General studies in health and the health engineering sciences, liberal studies, health care management, math, and the physical and social sciences are included. Instructional modes include lectures, labs, guided learning, field trips, directed studies, and practical experiences.
Industry (practical) experience
Practical experience is a significant component of this educational program. It consists of field trips, projects, hands-on activities, and a three month practicum off-campus at an appropriate health agency. The Practicum may require relocation due to limited Vancouver-area positions. In addition, the Practicum:
- is required for graduation.
- requires a valid driver’s license and access to a vehicle. A Class 5 (full) driver’s license is preferred; a Class 7 (novice) license is the minimum, but may not be adequate for all practicum locations.
- sites are usually assigned to student by the program area.
- positions are unpaid; students are responsible for all relocation costs (if applicable).
- requires up-to-date immunizations prior to the practicum.
- may require the student to purchase workplace insurance if the practicum is done outside BC.
Graduating & Jobs
Our graduates are ready
The need for environmental public health is everywhere. From law enforcement, consulting, and legislation to government and quality assurance, public health jobs are critical to keeping people safe – day in, day out.
Entry level position salaries start at approximately $66,000 and go to approximately $95,000 after a few years. They include:
- Public health inspector (PHI)
- Environmental health officer (EHO)
- Specialist positions with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA)
Think outside the box and career opportunities in public health can be found in almost any industry. Find out more about the work we do on the Environmental Health Related Links page.
Want more education? This program meets the bachelor’s degree requirement for the Master of Public Health program at the University of British Columbia and at Simon Fraser University.
Faculty, Advisors & Staff
Dale Chen, MSc, CPHI(C)
Tara Abraham, MHA, CPHI(C)
Keith Herle, BA, BSc, CPHI(C)
Amardeep Kambo, M.Sc., CPHI(C)
Fred Shaw, BSc
Vanessa Karakilic, BSc, BTech, CPHI(C)
Frequently Asked Questions
- Why are some entrance requirements required and others recommended?
- How do I contact a Public Health Inspector/EHO?
- What if I don’t have Biostatistics or Statistics?
- What is meant by six additional credits of Science?
- What if my transcript has letter grades rather than percentages?
- When should I apply for transfer credits?
- Is there a list of approved entrance requirement equivalency courses available at other institutions?
- Should I take Liberal Studies elective courses prior to entering the Environmental Public Health program?
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.
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 practicing 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”. These search terms may also yield results in your local Yellow Pages telephone directory.
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 67% may be required to upgrade their mark to a 67% or higher prior to Level 7.
What is meant by six additional credits of science?
These can be any courses deemed to be ‘science’ by the post-secondary institution you attended. These include HSCI courses at SFU. Note that you cannot list the same courses here that you used on the first section.
What if my transcript has letter grades rather than percentages?
Include the back pages of your official transcript containing letter grade/percent conversion information for your post-secondary institution when you submit your application.
When should I apply for transfer credits?
For courses other than Liberal Studies, you must first be accepted into the program. At that point you can complete a course credit application form which will go to the instructor for a decision. This will be explained in more detail once you are in the program.
Is there a list of approved entrance requirement equivalency courses available at other institutions?
Yes, Environmental Public 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 Dale_Chen@bcit.ca with the institution name and the course date, name, number and outline/description.
Should I take Liberal Studies elective courses prior to entering the Environmental Public Health program?
If you have not completed any LIBS electives, we strongly recommend that you complete at least one LIBS elective prior to entering the program. LIBS courses are not entrance requirements, but it is difficult to complete the two LIBS elective credits while you are in the program.
Tuition fees are waived for BCIT LIBS elective courses if taken while you are a full-time student in our program (subject to change), but we feel it is advantageous to take LIBS elective courses in advance if you can afford to do so.
View BCIT’s list of Liberal Studies core courses.
If you are intending to apply to the Environmental Public Health program and are seeking pre-approval for an acceptable non-BCIT liberal studies elective prior to submitting your application, send an email to Michael_Bourke@bcit.ca with the following information:
- Your name and BCIT student number. If you have never had a BCIT number, create a BCIT ID. Note: approvals will NOT be processed unless an applicant has a BCIT student number.
- Post secondary institution name, course number, credit value, and a complete detailed course outline.
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 application
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.
Dale Chen, Program Head
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