How to Become a Food Safety Specialist

How to Become a Food Safety Specialist

1. Earn a Bachelor's Degree (4 Years)

Food safety specialists are typically required to have earned their bachelor's degree to be qualified for entry level employment.

Completing a degree from an accredited environmental health program is the best route to enter the environmental health field. Accredited programs are consistently scrutinized and held to higher standards than others, well-preparing students for the work they'll be expected to undertake.

Programs are accredited through the National Environmental Health Science and Protection Accreditation Council (EHAC).

The preparation timeline below provides an example environmental health curriculum:

Grade Level Example Courses
  • Biology I & Lab
  • Biology II & Lab
  • College Algebra
  • Pre-Calculus
  • Humanities Requirements
  • Electives
  • Physics I & Lab
  • Chemistry I & Lab
  • Chemistry II & Lab
  • Molecular Biology & Lab
  • Statistics I
  • Calculus I
  • Humanities Requirements
  • Electives
  • Environmental Health
  • Occupational Health
  • Organic Chemistry I & Lab
  • Organic Chemistry II & Lab
  • Water & Wastewater
  • Epidemiology
  • Bacteriology
  • Communicable Diseases
  • Humanities Requirements
  • Electives
  • Occupational Safety
  • Risk Assessment
  • Industrial Hygiene
  • Anatomy & Physiology I
  • Toxicology
  • Seminar
  • Remaining Requirements & Electives

2. Earn a Certification (Optional)

Although earning a certification is not required to enter the field with most employers, some still require them before they will hire a candidate.

Obtaining a certification is also advisable as it increases the competitiveness of the candidate versus the qualifications of others, and will likely lead to more opportunities and higher salaries.

The National Environmental Health Association (NEHA) offers certifications for food safety specialists, among others.

Learn More About the Comprehensive Food Safety (CCFS) Certification