How to Become a Restaurant Inspector

Restaurant Inspectors are professionals who are experienced in reviewing restaurants to see whether they are meeting state requirements for food safety and sanitation regulations.

These professionals are responsible for assuring consumers are purchasing and dining from a restaurant that follows state mandated codes assuring their health.

Individuals who want to become a Restaurant Inspector will need a combination of skills and educational background in order to succeed in this profession.

Restaurant Inspectors must have the ability to be detail oriented, have in an depth knowledge of federal and state regulations and be able to track and list items that restaurants need to improve in order to assure public safety.

Education Requirements to Become a Restaurant Inspector

Individuals who want to become a Restaurant Inspector will need a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in order to enter this profession.

In addition, some personal characteristics are highly recommended in order to succeed in this field.

Individuals must have attention to detail since they are responsible for identifying any safety concerns whether they are small or large.

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Physical stamina is also important in this field as it requires individuals to travel and stand for long stretches of time.

Communication skills are also needed in order to debrief safety concerns with owners or managers.

Individuals who want to become a Restaurant Inspector will need a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in order to enter this profession.

Individuals are encouraged to complete a program in occupational health, safety, an environmental health degree or a closely related science degree.

If attending a university or college that doesn’t offer any of these degrees, individuals are encouraged to study a science related field and take courses in: biology, toxicology, microbiology and chemistry.

Individuals are also encouraged to complete an internship while enrolled in an undergraduate program.

Individuals are encouraged to contact their states for exact details regarding licensing requirements.

For the most part, many states accept the Registered Environmental Health Specialist/Registered Sanitarian (REHS/RS) administered by the National Environmental Health Association (NEHA).

You may visit their website at NEHA for more information and a list of additional certifications.

Restaurant Inspector Job Description

Restaurant Inspectors are responsible for visiting restaurant and other food establishments to ensure they are following state and federal regulations and other compliance.

These professionals will inspect and evaluate several aspects of food service settings.

Some types of establishments these individuals may inspect include restaurants, school cafeterias, hotel kitchens, grocery stores, daycare centers and boarding homes.

For the most part, Restaurant Inspectors work full time during regular business hours.

However, there are some instances in which evenings and weekend hours are required.

Because Restaurant Inspectors must travel between locations, they must spend time planning their visits.

They will evaluate many aspects of food handling.

The following list includes some areas these professionals evaluate:

  • Cooking temperatures
  • Employee hygiene
  • Equipment sanitation and maintenance
  • Food handling and storage
  • Presence of any rodents or insects contamination

Restaurant Inspectors may evaluate the preceding areas and write notes during the evaluation, write reports, make suggestions to the establishment and report findings to their state.

Based on their evaluation, Restaurant Inspectors have the ability to categorize an establishment as not following health codes which may result in the restaurant having to close.

Restaurant Inspector Salary and Career Path

Restaurant Inspectors are part of a profession in the Occupational Health and Safety Specialists.

In 2012, all professions in this field earned a median wage of approximately $66,790 per year.

Exact wages will depend on a variety of factors including the government agency one works for, years of experience and geographical location.

The top earners in this field made up towards $97,380 per year in 2012.

The majority of these professionals work full time with some occasional weekend and evening hours arising from emergency instances.

The job outlook for individuals working as Occupational Health and Safety Specialists, which Restaurant Inspectors work under, is expected to grow at a slower than average rate when compared to other professions.

Job opportunities for this profession are projected to increase by 7 percent through the year 2022.

Individuals who have advanced education and are certified have better job prospects than individuals who are not.

Restaurant Inspectors have an important role in deeming a food establishment as following state health codes.

Their skills in attention to detail and report writing help them in being successful in this profession.

Individuals interested in this career can assure they are playing an important role in food safety.

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