Navy Industrial Hygiene Officers (IHOs) are the Navy’s front line of assessing hygiene hazards in the workplace. IHOs are key to making sure Sailors’ workplaces are as clean and safe as possible. Your responsibilities could include:
- Assessing workplace risks and providing consult and recommendations to Navy Commanding Officers and other leaders
- Providing direction for the Navy’s Environmental and Occupational Health, Industrial Hygiene, and Safety programs
- Conducting training and inspections in industrial or operational settings aboard ships, at shore-based workplaces or in the field with Navy Sailors and Marines
- Providing technical expertise at research facilities and laboratories
- Developing engineering and administrative controls and recommend personal protective equipment to properly safeguard people, installations and equipment
- Managing hygiene risks in working, living and operating environments worldwide
- Advising the Navy on environmental and occupational health issues to reduce injury and disease risks among Sailors and Marines
- Leading large multidisciplinary departments and directorates such as Occupational Health and Preventive Medicine, and staff critical positions at higher headquarters commands
Examples of Navy programs controlling environmental and workplace hygiene safety that may fall under your responsibility as an IHO include:
- Occupational Exposure Assessment
- Medical Surveillance
- Hearing Conservation
- Heat Stress/Cold Injury
- Ionizing and Non-Ionizing Radiation Safety
- Environmental Compliance
- Respiratory Protection
- Industrial Safety
- Hazardous Material storage, assessment and disposal
- Detection, assessment and monitoring of chemical and biological agents in wartime and natural disaster contingencies
With more than 120 duty stations around the globe, IHOs may serve anywhere from an aircraft carrier, to an overseas U.S. Naval Hospital, to a Preventive Medicine unit, to a Marine Corps command. There are numerous opportunities to live overseas, including in Hawaii, Guam, Italy, Spain, Bahrain, Japan and Cuba.
Training & Advancement
Those pursuing an Industrial Hygiene Officer position are required to attend Officer Development School (ODS) in Newport, Rhode Island. ODS is a five-week program that provides a comprehensive and intense introduction to the responsibilities of Navy Staff Corps Officers. Here they learn about the military structure of the U.S. Navy, its rich history of traditions and customs, the legal system, leadership, and military etiquette.
A variety of training opportunities are available for Industrial Hygiene Officers in areas such as:
- Occupational safety
- Industrial hygiene
- Environmental protection
- Naval justice
- Information security
- Plans, operations and medical intelligence (POMI)
Once training is complete, you may be assigned to a U.S. Naval Hospital, an aircraft carrier, or a Preventive Medicine Unit (PMU). In this role, you may have the ability to attend annual professional conferences. Promotions are regularly available but are competitive and based on performance.
It’s also important to note that specialized training received and work experience gained in the course of service can lead to valuable credentialing and occupational opportunities in related fields.
Wherever you are in your professional career, the Navy can help ease your financial burdens and advance your career with generous financial assistance and continuing education programs. Opportunities for further education within this platform include:
- Navy College Program
- VOLED Assistance Center
- VOLED Region Advisors
- The Naval Postgraduate School (NPS)
- Naval War College (NWC)
- USAF Air University Air Command and Staff College
Through the Navy Health Professions Loan Repayment Program (HPLRP) you may be eligible to receive financial assistance to pay down the cost of your graduate education.
Current or Prospective Graduate Students
Through the Navy Health Services Collegiate Program (HSCP) you can receive up to $269,000 while finishing a postgraduate degree. This includes a monthly military salary, a generous housing allowance and a comprehensive health-care benefits package.
Full-time Masters and Doctorate degree programs known as Duty Under Instruction (DUINS), are also available for Industrial Hygiene Officers who would like to pursue additional education while on active duty.
Qualifications & Requirements
A degree from a four-year college or university is a minimum educational requirement to become a Commissioned Officer. You must also attend Officer Training. There may be exceptions to the degree requirements based on extensive service experience. Additional qualifications include:
- Be a U. S. citizen currently practicing in the United States
- Have completed a Bachelor of Science degree with a major in Industrial Hygiene, biology or chemistry, or IH related engineering field, preferably ABET accredited; or a Master of Science (or Public Health) Degree with a major in Industrial Hygiene, engineering, toxicology, chemistry, biology or environmental science with a focus on IH or occupational health, preferably ABET accredited. Minimum coursework is: 2 years chemistry, 1 year biology, 1 semester physics, 1 semester calculus, with a total of at least 40 semester hours in science courses. Minimum GPA is 3.0.
- Be willing to serve a minimum of three years on Active Duty
- Be between the ages of 18 and 41
- Be in good physical condition and pass a full medical examination
The following qualifications are preferred by not mandatory:
- Certification in comprehensive practice of Industrial Hygiene (CIH) by the American Board of Industrial Hygiene (ABIH)
- Field experience as an Industrial Hygienist or Industrial Hygiene Technician
Serving part-time as a Navy Reserve Officer, your duties will be carried out during your scheduled drilling and training periods. During monthly drilling, Officers in the Navy Reserve typically work at a location close to their homes. This gives you the flexibility to expand your profession in the Navy without compromising your civilian practice at home.
For annual training, Reserve Sailors may serve anywhere in the world, whether at sea, in facilities stateside, or on bases in countries around the world.
Take a moment to learn more about the general roles and responsibilities of Navy Reserve Sailors.
Most of what you do in the Navy Reserve is considered training. The basic Navy Reserve commitment involves training a minimum of one weekend a month (referred to as drilling) and two weeks a year (referred to as Annual Training) – or the equivalent.
Industrial Hygiene Officers in the Navy Reserve serve in an Officer role. Before receiving the ongoing professional training that comes with this job, initial training requirements must first be met.
For current or former Navy Officers (NAVET): Prior experience satisfies the initial leadership training requirement, so you will not need to go through Officer Training again.
For current or former Officers of military branches other than the Navy (OSVET), as well as for Officer candidates without prior military experience, you will be required to attend the Officer Development School (ODS) in Newport, RI, for a five-week program that provides a comprehensive and intense introduction to the responsibilities of Navy Staff Corps Officers.