CDC Jobs on Cruise Ships

Centers for Disease Control (CDC) jobs on cruise ships are one of the most important safety positions onboard. Because of the various destinations visited and the sheer number of passengers from around the world on any given cruise, the potential for a variety of serious virus outbreaks is great. Viruses such as swine flu or norovirus may be spread by as little as one infected person. Viruses can be spread through using the same utensils, using the Jacuzzi or swimming pool, or even breathing the same air. Viruses like the stomach flu or food poisoning may come from food, dirty utensils, or dirty drinking water.

Because the threat of viruses is so great on cruise ships, the CDC has a team of professionals that check the sanitation levels of all ships carrying more than 12 passengers from USA to foreign ports of call. There are literally hundreds of cruise ships entering and exiting both U.S. and foreign ports, so the demand for qualified CDC professionals on cruise ships is great.

According to Princess Cruise Ship Action Attorneys, CDC inspectors inspect all U.S. ships “for water sanitation, as well as Jacuzzi and swimming pools. They also monitor food contamination and other supplies. They check the personal hygiene practices of the ship’s staff and godliness and cleanliness of the cruise vessel.” These professionals are also responsible for “monitoring cruise ship training programs and health habits, customs, and practices. Cruise line ships are rated on a 100 point scale. They need to maintain a health score higher than 86 out of 100.”

In order to become a CDC professional you must have an associate degree or bachelor’s degree in engineering, industrial hygiene, health physics, occupational health, safety, biology or chemistry. The program must be accredited by an agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. One of the top accrediting agencies for these programs is The Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET).

An internship is highly recommended during your last year of study. An internship will allow you to take what you have learned in the classroom and apply it to real-life situations. An internship will help reinforce what you have learned about inspection procedures and applicable laws.

After graduating, you must obtain certification if you want to compete in the job market. You may obtain certification through an examination. Continuing education is required for recertification. Although not required, certification is preferred by most employers and cruise lines.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, certification is available through the Board of Certified Safety Professionals (BCSP) and the American Board of Industrial Hygiene (ABIH). The BCSP offers the Certified Safety Professional (CSP) credential and the ABIH offers the Certified Industrial Hygienist (CIH) and Certified Associate Industrial Hygienist (CAIH) credentials.

The Council on Certification of Health, Environmental, and Safety Technologists, a joint effort between the BCSP and ABIH, awards the Occupational Health and Safety Technologist (OHST) credential. Requirements for the OHST is less stringent than those for the CSP, CIH, or CAIH credentials.

Once you have obtained certification and experience through an internship, you are ready to begin the application process. All you have to do is contact visit the CDC website and review the job postings and application process. The official CDC website is The CDC online employment center is extensive, so you may find more than one position that matches your background.

CDC Jobs on Cruise Ships Salary Information

Salaries for CDC professionals on cruise ships vary by experience. Entry level professionals may earn around $30,590 per year. Mid-level professionals may earn around $51,570. Top earners in this field earn more than $70,460 per year.

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