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Environmental Health Officers who are described as Force Health Protection Officers, plan, coordinate and implement control strategies to minimise adverse health impacts from the environment and the workplace.

  • Service
    Air Force
  • Specialisation
    Medical and Health
  • Location
    Whenuapai, Ohakea
  • Starting salary
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About the role

The role is a combination of environmental/public health and occupational hygiene. Occupational hygiene generally typically occupies 50% of the normal work role both in New Zealand and overseas.

You will also develop public health related training packages and programmes that will be used on deployed operations or humanitarian assistance and disaster relief duties.

Ultimately your advice and input helps to ensure the health and safety of our people and the success of operations conducted both at home and overseas.


Areas of responsibility of Force Health Protection Officers include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Water safety;
  • Food safety;
  • Occupational hygiene;
  • Field hygiene and Waste management;
  • Pest and Vector control;
  • Emergency management;
  • Workplace assessments;
  • Communicable disease; and
  • Public Health assessments and investigations

Job on base

When not overseas, you will be working as part of a multi disciplinary health and safety team conducting public health assessments, environmental health training courses and assisting with biosecurity arrangements, border health controls and occupational hygiene assessments.

Job on deployment

You will conduct comprehensive health threat assessments, assist with setting up of field camps, provide specialist advice on field hygiene, waste and water management, biosecurity, pest and vector control and environmental and industrial hazards.

You will deploy in support of New Zealand Defence military operations and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief both within New Zealand and overseas. Deployment time frames are normally for weeks at a time, but may on rare occasions extend to a six month period.

In most cases Force Health Protection Officers are required to carry out their duties to support the role of Force Health Protection with minimum supervision, although they may be co-located or working with environmental health personnel from the NZ Army or other overseas military forces.

Career progression and training

Basic Training

Job Training

Ongoing Training

RNZAF Officer Commissioning Course (ROC)

(26 weeks) Location: RNZAF Base Woodbourne

All individuals selected to become Commissioned Officers in the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) are required to complete this course. It is designed to prepare students with the knowledge and experience necessary for commissioned service and the beginning of a career in leadership. This course will cover various subjects including:

  • RNZAF Customs and Protocol
  • Drill and Parades
  • Military Law
  • Military Field Skills and Weapons Training
  • Defence and Strategic Studies
  • Personnel Administration
  • Communication Skills
  • Command, Leadership and Management
  • First Aid

Following the RNZAF Officer Commissioning Course, you will undertake approximately two years of ongoing core training based at RNZAF Base Whenuapai, Auckland and other New Zealand Defence and Civilian agencies. You will be attached to New Zealand based and overseas exercises where you will further consolidate public health and occupation skills in field environments.

Further training and education is provided throughout your career such as a 9 week attachment to the United States Army Medical Department Centre and School at Fort Sam Houston, Texas. Content covers, community health, communicable & infectious diseases, operational preventive medicine, epidemiology, statistics, medical entomology, industrial hygiene, health physics, sanitary engineering and environmental science. The course provides students with command level operational risk assessment training which allows them to operate effectively in a joint/coalition complex health and safety threat rich environment.


Further opportunities are available with other allied militaries and civilian agencies for specialisation in areas such as health engineering, entomology and occupational hygiene.

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Salary and benefits

Careers in the Air Force are well-rewarded, as well as being diverse and exciting. As you become more experienced and move up through the ranks, gaining additional skills and qualifications, you will see your salary rise accordingly.


Starting salary


Future potential earnings

Figures updated on July 1st 2023

Benefits and allowances

Earn a competitive salary while training or learning your trade, along with additional allowances for time spent in the field, at sea, overseas, or deployed on operations.

In addition to salary and allowances, other benefits of joining the New Zealand Defence Force include:

Access to your Service marae or tūrangawaewae

Sponsored tertiary study programmes at all levels

Free access to gyms and swimming pools on camp and bases

Opportunities to travel

Free and subsidised medical and dental care

Subsidised food and accommodation on camps and bases

Free and subsidised insurance cover

Help to buy a home and save for retirement

Entry requirements



Fitness and medical


Period of Service

  • You must be 17 years or older
  • Meet the citizenship & security requirements to gain SV security clearance for this trade.

Candidates should have qualified or be near completion of the Grad Dip EH and/or BHlthSc (EH), or other recognised qualification under the Environmental Health Officer (Qualifications) Regulations 1993 (or overseas equivalent.) To be competitive, we recommend that at least three years of professional work as an EHO or PHO is undertaken prior to application.

  • You must be medically fit for service.
  • Colour perception restrictions may apply.

There are strict citizenship and security requirements to gain the required SV security clearance for this trade.

Find out if you’re eligible here.

There may be a return of service period for this trade.

Please contact our 0800 number or talk to your Candidate Experience Facilitator for more information.


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