Requirements to Be Eligible for the CIH

Academic Requirements

You must have a bachelor’s degree in biology, chemistry, physics, or engineering from a regionally-accredited college or university or from another college that is acceptable to the Board (see Industrial Hygiene Coursework below). An ABET-accredited program in industrial hygiene or safety also is accepted.

ABET-Accredited IH Programs :

ABET is a nonprofit, non-governmental organization that accredits college and university programs in the disciplines of applied science, computing, engineering, and engineering technology. ABET accredits over 3,100 programs at more than 660 colleges and universities in 23 countries. ABET provides specialized, programmatic accreditation that evaluates an individual program of study, rather than evaluating an institution as a whole.

ABET accreditation, which is voluntary and achieved through a peer review process, provides assurance that a college or university program meets the quality standards established by the profession for which the program prepares its students.

ABET is recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).

ABET-Accredited Masters Level Industrial Hygiene Programs

ABET-Accredited Bachelors Level Industrial Hygiene Programs

The Board will consider, and may accept, any other bachelor’s degree from an acceptable college or university, provided that the degree is based upon appropriate coursework and represents at least 60 semester hours of creditable subjects, with at least 15 of those hours at the upper level (beyond intermediate, such as U.S. 3rd-year (Junior), 4th-year (Senior), or Graduate level). Creditable subjects are undergraduate or graduate-level courses in science, mathematics, engineering, and science-based technology.

Industrial Hygiene Coursework

The Board requires you to document the completion of 180 academic contact hours or 240 continuing education contact hours of specific industrial hygiene courses.

At least half of the required coursework (90 academic or 120 continuing education contact hours) must cover the broad subjects of industrial hygiene: toxicology, fundamentals of industrial hygiene, and measurements and controls. Conference-related professional development courses can be counted, but attendance at a conference cannot be counted as a training course.

  • Acceptable toxicology courses will cover the essential aspects of toxicology (adverse effects of chemicals on living systems) with an emphasis on humans. Topics covered are likely to include dose response relationships; absorption, distribution, metabolism, and excretion of toxic substances in the body; biotransformation; organ systems; and chemical carcinogenesis and mutagenesis.
  • Fundamentals courses are likely to address the recognition of hazards/stressors found in the work environment. Included are chemical, physical (noise, radiation, thermal), biological, and ergonomic stressors.
  • Measurement courses and control (engineering, substitution, administrative, PPE) courses will address the same four broad stressor categories as fundamentals, above.
  • The remaining coursework may be in industrial hygiene subjects that are narrower in scope (e.g., asbestos, lead, mold, and confined space entry). The same course or training, if taken multiple times, will only be counted once toward eligibility. (This includes regulatory refresher courses such as HAZWOPER, asbestos training, or even a repeat of the same academic course.)

Experience Requirements

To be eligible for the examination, you must (a) have 48 months (four years) of employment in the professional practice of industrial hygiene and (b) currently be engaged in active practice at the time of application. If your industrial hygiene career has been interrupted for one year or less (because of unemployment, medical leave, etc.), we will consider you to be “in practice” for up to one year following your last position for the purpose of determining examination eligibility. Time outside of employment, however, cannot be counted toward experience credit.

Professional-Level Experience

To be recognized as “professional-level” work acceptable to the Board, your experience must meet the following four criteria:

  • Independence of actions. This relates to the amount of planning, self-direction, decision-making, and autonomy involved in your work experience.
  • Depth of work. This relates to the extent to which your work experience requires data-gathering, analysis, and interpretation.
  • Level of interaction. This relates to the degree to which you interact with a broad spectrum of contacts, including decision-makers.
  • Responsibility for work outcome. This relates to accuracy and the extent to which you are held accountable for your work and decisions.

Experience credit may be given for research, teaching, or industrial hygiene program administration if you have done them at a professional level.

Broad-Scope Industrial Hygiene

You must also be practicing “broad-scope” industrial hygiene. Two dimensions are evaluated in judging the scope of experience:

  • Work function. This includes the continuum of the process of industrial hygiene practice, which encompasses anticipation, recognition, evaluation, control, and management of occupational health hazards. Although we do not prescribe a proportion of time devoted to each of these aspects, your experience must exhibit broad-scope practice throughout the entire process.
  • Stressor category. This includes four generic categories of occupational health stressors: chemical, physical, biological, and ergonomic. You must document work experience in at least two of these four stressors.

We consider professional-level experience that does not meet the broad-scope criteria to be narrow-scope experience, for example: practice focused on lead, asbestos, mold, or focused on only one stressor (only chemical). A maximum of one year of narrow-scope experience may be credited toward eligibility.

A maximum of one year of experience equivalency may be credited for certain industrial hygiene degrees from institutions acceptable to the Board. Only the completed degree will be credited toward experience equivalency.

  • For bachelor’s level industrial hygiene degrees, six months’ experience credit will be awarded only when the program is accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering & Technology (ABET).
  • For master’s level industrial hygiene degrees, one year of experience credit will be awarded only when the program is accredited by ABET.
  • One year may be granted for an acceptable doctoral degree, provided that the degree is in industrial hygiene, that all academic requirements have been completed, and that the degree has been conferred.

Internships (not receiving university credit) where you performed professional-level activities and where you can provide a reference that can attest to dates and quality of professional practice may be counted toward the work experience requirement.

  Avoid Investigations about the Validity of Your References and Documents: When references from different people have identical wording, they will be investigated to determine who actually prepared the reference. This can cause delays that may cause you to be prevented from taking the exam or being blocked permanently if you are found to have prepared the content of the reference. Sometimes, your supervisors and colleagues who are providing your references may need a memory jog about the work that you have done for them. Provide it verbally, not in writing or from a written job description, so that they are not tempted to cut and paste. Make sure that what you tell them is unique to the job that you did to avoid giving exactly the same information to other references and employers.  

Ineligible Professional Experiences:  The following do not count toward the work experience requirement:

  • Pre-professional level experience
  • Courses or research done for academic credit
  • Teaching course content that is pre-professional level

Professional References

Individuals wishing to apply for an CPPS designation must provide three references from environmental professional.  Applicants for the CPPS must minimally have references submitted from three environmental professionals who are familiar with your academic abilities and achievements such as professors from your degree program. Applicants for the CPPS who also have actual environmental work experience are encouraged to obtain references from supervisors or others who are familiar with your environmental work.

Each reference must be provided on the Board’s CPPS Professional Reference Questionnaire Form (PRQ), have a hand-written signature (not a typed or script font) or a digital signature, and be prepared only by the person giving the reference. This form can be found on the BGC website in the CPPS Documents & Forms section.

Avoid Investigations about the Validity of Your References and Documents: When references from different people have identical wording, they will be investigated to determine who actually prepared the reference. This may cause you to be prevented from taking the exam or being blocked permanently if you are found to have prepared the content of the reference. Sometimes, your supervisors and colleagues who are providing your references may need a memory jog about the work that you have done for them. Provide it verbally, not in writing or from a written job description, so that they are not tempted to cut and paste. Make sure that what you tell them what was unique to the acheivements that  you areasking them to base their reference on  and avoid giving exactly the same information to others that you are requesting references from.