Expand your environmental science degree in exotic locations Environmental Health

Cruising a thousand feet beneath the ocean’s surface on a surveillance mission. Berthing on a floating city with thousands of personnel during a humanitarian mission. Serving in exotic locations like Japan, Egypt or Spain. Where Navy personnel live and work is far from typical.

As an environmental health specialist, your job is to help protect servicemembers’ health and safety by preventing and controlling the spread of disease. You’ll gain exceptional experience as an environmental health specialist in America’s Navy, wherever it is called: Haiti, Central America, the Pacific Southwest and more. You’ll perform cutting-edge research using the latest technology in your workplace. And be a part of something much bigger than just a group of coworkers.

Job Description

With a minimum of a bachelor’s degree, Navy Environmental Health Officers (EHOs) focus on prevention and control of diseases in Navy and Marine Corps populations. In this role, you will:

  • Determine effective methods of health-threat assessment
  • Conduct ongoing disease and environmental surveillance
  • Identify potential dangers and develop countermeasures for actual and potential threats

Specific Responsibilities

Navy EHOs also focus on:

  • Food service sanitation
  • Drinking water surveillance
  • Disease outbreak investigations
  • And helping combat the threat of bioterrorism

You could even find yourself:

  • Providing guidance to Commanding Officers, Operational/Joint/Coalition Force Commanders and Installation Commanders on food safety, water and wastewater safety, communicable disease control, risk communication, and epidemiological/biostatistic methods of assessing threats
  • Gaining a nationally recognized credential as a Registered Environmental Health Specialist (REHS) from the National Environmental Health Association
  • Championing a variety of essential programs like:
    • Food sanitation and safety
    • Public health sanitation
    • Thermal stress control
    • Swimming pool/recreational sanitation
    • Ashore and afloat water and wastewater sanitation
    • Vector control
    • Preventive medicine for ground forces
    • And disease surveillance and prevention

Work Environment

With more than 250 Navy and medical facilities around the globe, you could serve anywhere from an aircraft carrier in the Mediterranean, to a world-renowned National Naval Medical Center in the U.S., or even at the Navy Environmental Health Center (NEHC) in Portsmouth, Va.

Education Opportunities

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.

Graduate Students

Navy Health Services Collegiate Program (HSCP) – Graduate students may receive up to $134,600 while finishing your degree. This amount includes a generous monthly salary and housing allowance ranging from $3,280 to $5,610 for up to 24 months.*

Offers have many variables. To get details and find out which offer would benefit you most, request that a Navy Officer Recruiter contact you.

*Navy HSCP housing allowance based on graduate school location. Increased offer amounts available in areas with a higher cost of living.

Practicing Professionals

Navy Health Professions Loan Repayment Program (HPLRP) – Practicing professionals may receive up to $80,000 to help repay your graduate school loans by applying to receive $40,000 each year for up to two years.*

To be eligible, you must serve as an Active Duty Medical Service Corps Officer for each year you receive the loan payment.

Offers have many variables. To get details and find out which offer would benefit you most, request that a Navy Officer Recruiter contact you.

*Offer depends on specialty, service requirement and availability.


To qualify for Active Duty employment consideration as an Environmental Health Officer in the Navy Medical Service Corps, you must meet these basic requirements:

  • Be a U.S. citizen currently practicing in the U.S. (contact a
    Navy Medical Recruiter for details)
  • Bachelor's or master's degree in environmental health from a program accredited by the National Environmental Health Science and Accreditation Council (EHAC)
  • Or a master's of Public Health degree with a concentration in environmental health from a college of public health accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH)
  • Degree should include courses in environmental health, epidemiology, food safety, water quality, air quality, solid waste and wastewater management, communicable diseases, public health sanitation, vector control, toxicology, risk assessment, risk communication, biostatistics and microbiology
  • Be willing to serve a minimum of three years of Active Duty
  • Be between the ages of 18 and 41
  • Be in good physical condition and pass a full medical examination

You may also be expected to meet certain preferred requirements:

  • Certification as a Registered Environmental Health Specialist (REHS) or Registered Sanitarian (RS) through the National Environmental Health Association or a state agency
  • Master's applicants should have an undergraduate degree in environmental health or biological life sciences. Physical science degrees, such as chemistry and physics, may be acceptable with additional coursework in the life sciences, such as microbiology, zoology or human physiology
  • Field experience in an environmental health- or public health-related occupation
  • Completed graduate-level coursework with GPA of 3.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale
  • Interview by an Active Duty Environmental Health Officer (Lieutenant or above)


After the Navy

Many environmental health specialists can get experience evaluating various environments and exploring contaminants that could be causing disease outbreaks. But assessing the situation in the aftermath of a tsunami in Indonesia is the kind of experience that you just don’t get in most civilian jobs.

It’s also the kind of experience that will provide exceptional opportunities and an unprecedented chance to advance your career once you choose to return to civilian life as a Corporate Health & Safety Manager, Environmental Engineer, Manager of Strategic Environmental Initiatives, and more.

Consider Your Service Options.

There are different ways that you can commit to serve in America's Navy. Besides full-time opportunities in Active Duty, part-time Reserve positions are also available in this career area.