Overview of the CIH Exam

BGC conducts a Job Task Analysis (JTA) study, also known as the Role Delineation Study (RDS) or Practice Audit, and prepares supporting documentation and reports consistent with ISO/ANSI17024, NCCA, and CESB accreditation standards.

A panel of professionals is selected and convened who must represent a variety of practice settings, geographic regions, educational levels, gender, ethnicity, and years of experience. A BGC Board member is also included on the panel to assist in documenting the credibility of the process for the BGC Board.

Panel members must identify the domains, tasks, knowledge, and skills essential to performing the work of the practitioner. A large sample of professionals who were not involved in the JTA meetings is asked to review and validate the information and to ensure that the certification exam reflects the essential knowledge necessary for competent practice as a professional. The results are analyzed from the context to become the basis of the final CIH Exam Blueprint which lists the domains and elements for the credential. The subject matter experts also determine eligibility requirements and recertification requirements for the credential. As an additional validation step, participants can compare and contrast their work against documents prepared by other groups (if available), which identify tasks and supporting knowledge and skills in practice.

In order to ensure that credentialed practitioners protect the public through their work, BGC conducts a JTA every five to seven years so that eligibility, domains, tasks, knowledge, skills, examination, recertification, and ethical requirements reflect current, real-world practice.


Examination Purpose and Format

The examination is designed to test your knowledge across the broad general practice of industrial hygiene. You should expect questions in all subject areas (rubrics).

The exam contains 180 (150 questions plus 30 pilot questions) multiple-choice questions that are selected to match the job analysis. The questions are not grouped by subject area in the examinations. The job analysis and subject area (rubric) definitions currently in use by the Board can be found under CIH Exam Blueprint.

The examination is conducted in two sections. You may go back and review questions at any time during a section. The test is 2.5 hours for the first section, with an optional thirty-minute break, and then 2.5 hours for the second section. There is a short tutorial prior to the examination and a short survey following the exam. Instructions for the exam also explain how you can submit comments about the content of specific questions during the exam.  BGC staff will review your comments; however, for exam security reasons, staff will not be able to discuss your comments with you.

If you choose to take a thirty-minute break, you will have 30 minutes and no more. In other words, the second section of the exam will begin after 30 minutes, regardless of when you return from your break.


Examination Scoring

Your passing score is based on the total number of questions that you answer correctly in the entire examination. It will be to your advantage to answer all questions.

  • All questions have the same point value.
  • There is no penalty for incorrect answers (such as “number correct minus a percentage of the number of incorrect answers”).
  • A “passing” score is not required in each of the individual subject areas (rubrics).

A criterion-referenced passing score has been established by a panel of Certified Industrial Hygienists using appropriate standard-setting procedures under the guidance of Scantron. The passing score for each subsequent administration of the certification examination is based on a statistical equating process, which adjusts for fluctuations in difficulty levels across different versions of the examination. Equating is performed to help ensure that candidates are evaluated according to the same competency standard from year to year.

Examinees may request a review of their exam score by filling out the Review of Exam Score Form, which will be forwarded to our testing vendor who will conduct a score verification. The examinee should consider that, given the quality control procedures that are in place, it is highly unlikely that the score will change.


Notification of CIH Examination Results

Beginning with the Spring 2022 exam, examinees will no longer be informed of their preliminary pass/fail status immediately after completing the examination.

Exam results will be emailed using the primary email in the examinee’s CAPS account.

  • We will confirm your official results and send them by email approximately four weeks after the examination date.
  • If you fail your examination, the notification of your results will include details of your overall score.
  • All examinees will receive a performance report indicating their scores in the individual subject areas (rubrics).
  • Examinees can access their score report via CAPS.



As noted in the BGC Privacy Policy, examination reports, scores, and failures are not released outside of BGC without your authorization. Studies and reports concerning candidates will contain no information identifiable with any candidate unless authorized by the candidate. The names of those who pass the examination will be listed under New Practitioners and entered in the Practitioner Rosters.



If you are not successful in your examination attempt, you must wait until the next available window before you may retake the examination.