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Environmental Health Specialist Trainee

County of Sonoma
Santa Rosa, California, US
Closing date
Nov 25, 2022

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Academic / Research
Conservation science
Salary Type
Employment Type
Full time
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Position Information

Do you have a Bachelor's degree in Biology or a related science field? Would you like to serve the community and help protect the environment and the public? Join our dynamic and innovative team as an Environmental Health Specialist (EHS) Trainee!

Starting salary up to $40.78/hour ($85,112/year), a cash allowance of $600/month, and a competitive total compensation package!*

These positions may be filled at either the Trainee, I, or II level. If you are interested in applying at the I or II level, you will need to apply to the separate, concurrent recruitments being conducted.

Please Note: The EHS Trainee positions require possession of a valid letter of eligibility issued by the State of California to start an EHS Trainee program. For more information on the requirements and process to obtain a letter of eligibility, please visit the CA Registered Environmental Health Specialist Program website.

What We Offer

Working at the County of Sonoma offers expansive opportunities for growth and development, the ability to be a part of a challenging and rewarding work environment, and the satisfaction of knowing you're working to better our communities. You can also look forward to flexible work arrangements and excellent benefits* including:

Eligibility for a salary increase after 1,040 hours (6 months when working full-time) for good work performance; eligibility for a salary increase for good performance every year thereafter, until reaching the top of the salary range
Competitive vacation and sick leave accruals, 12 paid holidays, and an additional 8 floating holiday hours per year
County paid 100% premium contribution for the majority of employee-only and employee + family health plan options
An annual Staff Development/Wellness Benefit allowance of up to $850 and ongoing education/training opportunities
County contribution to a Health Reimbursement Arrangement to help fund post-retirement employee health insurance/benefits
Retirement fully integrated with Social Security
May be eligible for up to 8 weeks (320 hours) of Paid Parental Leave after 12 months of County employment
Some positions may have the ability to work within a hybrid telework schedule that meets the needs of our staff, department operations, and the communities we serve

Working as an EHS Trainee

As an EHS Trainee, we help you build your career in Environmental Health to gain training and work under close supervision in all aspects of the EHS profession. An EHS Trainee is responsible for learning to perform the necessary tasks to protect public health, serve the community, and support the functions of the Environmental Health Section. EHS positions perform routine inspections, investigate complaints and achieve compliance with County and State regulations in all Environmental Health programs. These include Food Facilities, Recreational Facilities, Cannabis Facilities, Medical Waste Facilities, Water Systems, Beach monitoring, Solid Waste, Body Art, Childhood Lead Prevention, Storm Water, Organized Camps, Detention Facilities, and Disaster Preparedness. An EHS Trainee will communicate regularly with their supervisor to calibrate expectations and ensure that a consistent approach is being maintained. They will interact with the public and other agencies and also learn to:

Conduct inspection and documents findings
Review and interpret Codes related to Environmental Health Programs
Educate the public and implement enforcement when necessary
Environmental Health staff generally work day shifts from Monday-Friday and may be asked to occasionally work weekends and evenings to conduct field inspections at temporary events and investigate complaints. As many functions occur outdoors, staff should be prepared to work in a variety of conditions from freshwater and ocean water sampling, to solid waste inspections at transfer stations and food safety inspections at restaurants in various weather conditions. Peak work activity periods are typically from May through October with ongoing routine food inspection and then starting the bulk of pool inspections, community events inspections, and organized camp inspections.

The ideal candidates will possess the written and oral communication skills necessary to effectively respond to citizen complaints and prepare reports. Teamwork, professionalism, and a positive outlook are highly desired for this position. The ideal candidates will also possess:

Strong interpersonal skills with the ability to interact with a diverse customer base
The ability to adjust to a variety of business conditions while communicating professionally with the public orally and in writing
Experience analyzing regulations and lab results
Intermediate MS Office skills including Outlook, Word, Excel, and PowerPoint
Additional training in any Environmental Health program area
As an EHS Trainee, your employment would be limited to a maximum of thirty-six months. Within that period, you are expected to obtain a certificate of registration as an Environmental Health Specialist (REHS) issued by the State of California. After you obtain your California REHS certificate, and based upon your performance and mastery of the Trainee position, you would then be eligible for promotion to Environmental Health Specialist I, within three years from your appointment as an EHS Trainee. EHS Trainees serve a one year probationary period.

*Salary is negotiable within the established range. Benefits described herein do not represent a contract and may be changed without notice. Additional information can be found in the Engineers and Scientists of California Union Local 20 Memorandum of Understanding (ESC MOU) and our Employee Benefits directory.

This recruitment is being conducted to fill multiple full-time positions and one part-time position in the Department of Health Services. This employment list may also be used to fill future full-time, part-time, or extra-help (temporary) positions as they occur during the active status of the list. Qualified County employees who wish to be considered for future positions should consider applying to this recruitment.


Minimum Qualifications

Any combination of education, training, and experience that would provide an opportunity to acquire the knowledge and abilities stated herein. Normally, this would include:

Education: Graduation from an accredited college or university with a degree in environmental health science, biology, chemistry, physics, microbiology or a related subject, as required by state law, to obtain registration as an Environmental Health Specialist.

Experience: There is no experience requirement.

Special Qualifications: Possession of a certificate issued by the state of California indicating that the person is an approved Environmental Health Specialist Trainee by the time of appointment, and possession of a valid certificate of registration as an Environmental Health Specialist as required by the State of California's Health and Safety Code within thirty-six months of appointment.

License: Possession of a valid driver's license at the appropriate level including special endorsements, as required by the State of California, may be required, depending upon assignment, to perform the essential job functions of the position.

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities

Knowledge of: sanitation science, requirements and procedures and the methods and procedures used in inspecting, investigating and correcting unsanitary conditions; federal, state and local laws and regulations governing environmental health and safety; principles and practices of public health; principles of general chemistry, physics, microbiology and biology; methods of gathering and analyzing data.

Ability to: learn to plan, organize and carry out research, analyze, and evaluate data and make recommendations based on findings; learn to detect unsanitary conditions and public health hazards and secure correction through education, voluntary compliance, or legal enforcement; prepare comprehensive reports; communicate verbal and written ideas clearly and logically; establish and maintain effective relationships with other governmental officials and the general public.

Selection Procedure & Some Helpful Tips When Applying

Your application information and your responses to the supplemental questions are evaluated and taken into consideration throughout the entire selection process.
You should list all employers and positions held within the last ten years in the work history section of your application. Be as thorough as possible when responding to the supplemental questions.
You may include history beyond ten years if related to the position for which you are applying. If you held multiple positions with one employer, list out each position separately.
Failure to follow these instructions may impact your competitiveness in this process or may result in disqualification.
Please visit Getting a Job with the County of Sonoma to review more detailed information about the hiring process, including the application process, examination steps, and department selection process.


Responses to supplemental questions will be scored using position-specific criteria. Please provide specific and detailed responses of a reasonable length to allow for a thorough assessment of your qualifications. Responses that state "See Resume" or "See Application" may be considered insufficient and therefore may not be scored.

The selection procedure will consist of the following examination:

An Application & Supplemental Questionnaire Appraisal Examination (weight 100%) will be conducted to evaluate each applicant's application and supplemental questionnaire for satisfaction of minimum qualifications (pass/not pass); and for educational coursework, training, experience, knowledge, and abilities which relate to this position. Each applicant will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

Relevance of work history, related experience, and achieved level of education and/or training as described in the application and responses to the supplemental questions.
Candidates demonstrating possession of the minimum qualifications will be placed on an employment list in order of most qualified to least qualified based on the achieved score received in the Application & Supplemental Questionnaire Appraisal Examination. Scores may be adjusted based on such factors as the number of candidates, anticipated vacancies, past practice, and natural breaks in the scores achieved by this group of candidates.


A background investigation is required prior to employment. Candidates referred to departments for a selection interview are typically required to sign authorization and release forms enabling such an investigation. Failure to sign prescribed forms will result in the candidate not being considered further for that vacancy. Reference information will not be made available to applicants.

Additional requirements, such as successful completion of a physical exam, drug screen, etc., may apply, depending on the duties and responsibilities of the position. If you receive a conditional job offer for the position, the requirements upon which the offer is contingent will be outlined in the conditional job letter. You may also review the Job Classification Screening Schedule to determine the requirements for this position.


Applications are accepted on-line at: Paper applications may be submitted by person, fax (707-565-3770), email, or through the mail. All applications and appropriate supplemental information as outlined in the job bulletin must be RECEIVED by the time and date specified on the first page of this job announcement. Applications received after the recruitment closes will not be accepted.

The County of Sonoma values diversity and is dedicated to creating a workplace environment that provides individuals with a sense of belonging. We are committed to having a diverse workforce that is representative of the communities we serve. The County is proud to be an Equal Opportunity Employer where all aspects of employment are based on merit, competence, performance, and business need.

HR Analyst: DP
HR Technician: RR
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