What is the Certified Industrial hygienist (CIH) Credential?
The Certified Industrial Hygienist (CIH) credential is the global standard for certification in protecting the health and safety of workers and the public by anticipating, recognizing, evaluating, and controlling chemical, physical, ergonomic, or biological hazards, including COVID-19.
A CIH must meet the minimum requirements for education and experience, and through examination, demonstrate a minimum level of knowledge and skills in the following areas:
- Air Sampling & Instrumentation
- Analytical Chemistry
- Basic Science
- Biostatistics & Epidemiology
- Community Exposure
- Engineering Controls/Ventilation
- Health Risk Analysis & Hazard Communication
- Industrial Hygiene/OEHS Program Management
- Non-Engineering Controls
- Radiation – Ionizing and Non-ionizing
- Thermal Stressors
- Work Environments & Industrial Processes
CIH credential holders can apply their knowledge in many different situations, some broad scope and comprehensive and others narrow scope, as they specialize. The domains of practice often differ and change many times during the course of a career, so BGC places no restrictions or qualifications on the career paths of a CIH as long as the person meets ongoing requirements to maintain the certification.
How Do I Become a CIH?
If you are interested in becoming certified as a CIH, you must meet eight requirements:
- Complete 60 semester course hours of science, math, engineering, or science-based technology (15 hours at the junior, senior, or graduate level) from a bachelor’s or higher-degree program from an appropriately-accredited college or university.
- Complete 180 academic hours or 240 continuing education contact hours of industrial hygiene courses with at least half of those hours in the Fundamentals of Industrial Hygiene/OEHS, Toxicology, Measurements, and Controls.
- Complete at least two contact hours of ethics coursework.
- Be in active practice within 12 months of the application.
- Be supported by a minimum of two professional references who can document 48 months (four years) of your industrial hygiene work at the professional level:
One or more references from work supervisors
One reference from a CIH who is familiar with your industrial hygiene/OEHS work (alternatives are available)
- Pass the CIH comprehensive exam.
- Agree to adhere to the BGC Code of Ethics and to be governed by the BGC Ethics Case Procedures.
- Pay fees on or before the due date.
For more information on the specific details of becoming a CIH, read the CIH Candidate handbook pages.
What our certificants say
People who hold the CIH certification often say they feel a sense of accomplishment, a sense of additional responsibility, and a greater appreciation of Industrial Hygiene practice.
This recognition inspires me to continue works and influence to progress our profession and to build a better world. Hopefully, my success and impact will inspire others to follow in my footsteps. Learn from the past, but look forward to the future, and stay present in the moment and complete the tasks at hand. The greater purpose of EHS is protection of the environment, employees, and the public. Recently, I was fortunate to serve during the pandemic with some of the great minds of the CDC NIOSH Emergency Response Team, and I was part of the COVID-19 Response Team. Currently, I am consulting and teaching an Advanced Industrial Hygiene course this semester at the University of Indiana. I still mentor many young EHS professionals, and I find it rewarding to see how their careers are taking shape. Just recently, I was talking to one of my mentees about sitting for the CIH exam. I also will be presenting to a AIHA Local Section on Ethics; this is my second time presenting to this Local Section. Seeing the fruits of my labor turn into meaningful and helpful situations in the profession is gratifying. My role is to continue to help as many people that I can; I feel blessed to be in this position.
Looking back, I have a lot to be proud of. Looking forward, I still have a lot of work to do. I’m dedicated to memories of those who paved a way for me to excel in this exciting profession. My mentors are those from many walks of life who have inspired me to achieve what I have done to this point in my life. It’s always a highlight to learn new things in the world of industrial hygiene at meetings, conference (Zoom and Teams) calls, and at conferences with my colleagues. I’m a proud product of Saint Augustine’s College, class of 1996. At that time, it was the only historically black college to have a NIOSH-granted Industrial Hygiene program. Serving in this capacity makes me happy. I feel like the best is yet to come; I can’t wait to see what the next 20 years brings. Let’s get it!
I serve as a director of health and safety for a civil construction contractor. I was motivated to apply for the CIH credential because I always saw the credential as being the top-level achievement in the field of health and safety. When I started in the field, I was greatly influenced by certified industrial hygienists and the knowledge they brought to the profession, and I kept that as a lifelong goal to achieve someday. I believe the credential shows that you are at the top of the health and safety profession. It provides standing not only among your peers but also is recognized by most public and private clients as being the highest level of achievement. I would recommend the credential to any health and safety professional looking to get to that next level. Attaining the credential shows others that you are willing to put in hard work and have the knowledge to be a leader in the health and safety profession.
Industrial Hygiene has been good to me. After finishing my PhD in Chemistry, I was looking for a career in Chemical Industry when I discovered Industrial Hygiene and decided immediately that this was a profession that I wanted to pursue. In fact, it was through Industrial Hygiene that I have realized my “American Dream.” Not only has IH allowed me to earn a decent living and given me the opportunity to live in nice places as well as travel all over the world but, more importantly, it has afforded me the opportunity to meet and work with some of the smartest and most friendly individuals in the world. While past surveys have shown many people are not satisfied with their jobs, I believe Hygienists love their profession because it gives them the satisfaction of knowing they are making a difference by making the workplace safer and more enjoyable (the temporary virus epidemic notwithstanding). In fact, the Covid epidemic has shown how crucial this profession is to the wellbeing of society.
I am an IH who works for the State OSHA program in Seattle, WA (Division of Occupational Safety and Health). I supervise a team of four IHs who do compliance inspections across King County. I was motived to apply for the CIH credential because it is respected in the field and my work subsidized the prep course and offered paid time to take the exam. The CIH credential gives value to me as a practitioner because it recognizes me as having met the minimum standards to hold the credential. I would recommend the CIH credential.
As an EHS professional, I always aimed for the CIH. These three letters signify our dedication and experience as industrial hygiene practitioners. I look forward to continually improving myself and the profession as a member of this community.
After 36 years working in the field of Industrial Hygiene, I’m off to enjoy some well-deserved leisure time and travel. I can’t thank the Board and BGC enough for all that this profession has provided me over the years. The field of Industrial Hygiene really tapped into my desire to work with people while at the same time capturing my interest in working in the sciences. It was a perfect blend. Over the years, I worked mostly within the utility industries. It was good steady work, with a dedicated workforce that placed a high value on safety. The IH position was always viewed as a partner in deploying safe methods for working in what could, at times, be difficult situations. My goal was always to do my best to make sure work didn’t have any negative impact on a person’s wellbeing. The partnership between Safety and the workers made fulfilling that goal a mutually beneficial objective. I don’t know that I could have ever found a better profession. Thanks for being there along the way.
My name is John Barker, and I serve as the Vice President of Safety, Health, and Environment (SH&E) for Parsons Corporation. In this role, I oversee SH&E for the Mobility Solutions Global Business Unit. Over the last 20 years, I’ve worked with managers and other key stakeholders to develop sustainable safety and health solutions within the construction, infrastructure, and environmental remediation markets. I chose to apply for the CIH credential after more mindful reflection of accomplishments and available professional development opportunities. The CIH credential is something that I have always considered pursuing but finding the time to prepare was challenging due to business travel workload. The Pandemic created the travel downtime necessary to pursue the credential. For me, the CIH credential is a business discriminator and strengthens credibility for the subject matter experts within the SH&E profession.
Currently, I am an Industrial Hygienist at ExxonMobil and support the Baytown Area plants. The important people that inspired my career were my professors and thesis advisors: David Johnson and Margaret Phillips at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, College of Public Health, Department of Occupational and Environmental Health. My prior colleagues and mentors at Lawrence Livermore National Lab, Jim Boyer and Diana Larson, were particularly influential in my early career. The CIH credential serves as a benchmark standard for measuring the skills and knowledge of IHs. I wanted to meet the minimum requirement to be considered an expert in my field by obtaining the CIH credential. My CIH credential demonstrates my commitment to the profession, enhances my credibility and professional image, and provides evidence of my skills, knowledge, and continued education to uphold industry standards. I recommend the CIH certification.
I am a national industrial hygiene program manager working in the U.S. federal government. Early in my career, I was well informed that the CIH credential was the gold standard for professional certification in industrial hygiene. To be very candid, the real motivator was getting a higher salary, but I also had a desire to be recognized as an IH practitioner who had met an established level of professional experience and academic background. It was a source of pride to acquire the CIH.
The CIH provides value to me in so many ways. It is so much more than just a piece of paper hanging on my wall in a nice frame. It represents a personal commitment to my noble cause: “I’m making the world a better place by mixing art and science in the reduction or, preferably, mitigation of safety and health hazards in the workplace, community, and environment with the goal of preventing occupational illness, injury, and disease.” When I sat for my exam, I had the mindset that if I passed, it would support me in my noble cause. The CIH also brings value in that it’s a promise to my customers that I will practice ethically. The CIH also provides value when I need contracted industrial hygiene support. Knowing that an IH professional is certified by the Board for Global EHS credentialing as a CIH gives me a level of confidence that it is much more likely my agency will be getting high quality products and services from that individual. I highly recommend the CIH credential to people calling themselves an industrial hygienist or OEHS professional. It’s one of the best things you will ever do for yourself professionally and for the customers you serve
I’ll start by saying I’m 48 years old, and it’s never too late to learn. I spent the majority of my career as a CSP in Construction Safety. In construction, there is not a big push for the CIH. Two years ago, I decided to get into General Industry and took a job as a safety manager at NASA in Cleveland, Ohio. The majority of the supervisors on the Federal Level are CIHs. That was a big motivator to me. Not only do you get recognition from your peers by passing this exam, but you also get a wealth of knowledge. The older you get, I think, it becomes a little more important to you the knowledge you get out of it rather than what people think. I was able to learn a lot of things that I never knew. I feel like, with the knowledge base, I can solve any safety issue that I am confronted with.
I was a career Air Force Bioenvironmental Engineer (BE) from 1987 through 2012. The BEs are commissioned officers in the Air Force with wide-ranging expertise and responsibilities in human and environmental health risk management, including all industrial hygiene services. For the first half of my Air Force career, I was an installation-level BE and provided environmental and occupational health risk management services (including industrial hygiene) for the Airmen of the Air Force in New Mexico, Alaska, and throughout Europe. For the latter half of my time in the Air Force, I was a senior program manager and/or senior executive. As a program manager, I authored policies and oversaw the worldwide implementation of Safety and Occupational Health, Energy and Sustainability, and wartime health risk management for the 680,000-employee organization while twice assigned to Headquarters Air Force in the Pentagon. As a senior executive, I was the equivalent of a CEO of an EHS and Occupational Health service firm and separately the CEO/administrator at a large healthcare organization as a squadron and then group commander. After the Air Force, I joined private industry with Concurrent Technologies Corporation (CTC) where I directed their Environmental, Safety, and Energy programs, overseeing 120 employees and a $30 million dollar portfolio. After CTC, I established and operated my own consulting company (Hickman Group, LLC). As a professional Industrial Hygienist, I sought and obtained my CIH credentials (General Practice) in 1995. The Air Force encouraged the BEs to obtain professional certification, and for me, it also opened professional opportunities as a diplomate. As a practitioner, the CIH credential provided professional “gravitas,” particularly when I was a senior program manager at the Pentagon in Washington DC. In that role, I coordinated with peers within the Department of Defense, OSHA, the EPA, and the Department of Energy as well as the state regulatory agencies. Obtaining and using the CIH credential means far more than passing a test. It means you are committed to your profession and to the highest quality of outcomes. It is a clear differentiator between you and those who are not certified.
After graduation from Loras College [BS, Biology ’72] and the University of Wisconsin – Madison [MS, Civil & Environmental Engineering ’73], I accepted [after some quick research into just what in the world did “industrial hygiene” mean (!!)] an analytical chemist position in the industrial hygiene laboratory of George D. Clayton & Associates in Southfield, MI. Fortunate to be mentored by some of the most respected professionals in the burgeoning field, I quickly developed not only an interest but also a passion for the IH field and its extensions into the environmental field. The IH field provided an interesting, multi-faceted, ever-evolving, challenging profession that, by focusing on worker safety & health, made me feel good — that I was really making a difference. As my experience and knowledge of the field grew, I wanted confirmation of that growth and respect for that expertise. BGC certification provided that confirmation and value, and after many hours of “hitting the books,” I achieved my CIH (Chemical Practice) credential in 1977. Challenging? Yes! Worth it? Yes! After progressing into laboratory management for a few years, I transitioned into EHS management in the industrial world, specifically the primary metals industry, with its massive industrial hygiene and environmental issues and challenges. Never a dull day! With my broader responsibilities, I soon felt I should pursue a second, broader confirmation, CIH (Comprehensive Practice), which I then earned in 1979. When I retired in 2019, I felt I had utilized both my formal and continuing education on a daily basis, had worked with teams that successfully met many challenges, had positively impacted worker health & safety, had earned the respect of my fellow professionals, and really had “made a difference.” I will always consider my CIH credentials a key component of my professional career journey — the BGC CIH designation is THE recognized and respected validation of an industrial hygienist’s knowledge and experience.”
I am an EHS Manager for SugarCreek Packing in Washington Courthouse, Ohio. I was motivated to apply for the CIH credential for career potential, increased credibility, and personal growth. I was already a CSP and finally decided to pursue the next step in my field and apply for the CIH. The value the CIH credential gives me as a practitioner is it lends credibility to what we or I may be trying to achieve or institute at locations. A broader knowledge base has also allowed me to see not only problems but solutions from multiple angles and help justify the implementation. I would recommend the CIH to someone because it is another steppingstone in our profession’s progression and people notice it when you are potentially looking for advancement or positions. Organizations continually seek out outside services for help with issues, and if you are able to provide some of those services in house, you can make yourself invaluable to your employer(s) and potential clients.
A decade ago, I was an HSE professional at a project yard for short-term oil rig commissioning activities where the contractors and rig manufacturer were used to report noise survey, LUX survey, Vibration study, Ventilation study, etc. One fine day, two of the simultaneous engines’ noise output were 85 dBA and 87 dBA. The project occupational hygiene team calculated the overall noise as average value (85+87)/2 ) = 86 dBA…Which is the wrong answer. However, the right answer is to calculate the logarithmic value 10 log and answer will be 89.12 dBA. Those days, the project HSE general manager was not ready to accept the right way of logarithmic calculation which says the combined noise level was 89.12 dBA, as explained by me. Further, many of the occupational hygiene-related calculations for ventilation and radiography activities were incorrectly calculated by the project hygiene team. Henceforth, I decided to enhance my skills level to the Industrial/Occupational Hygiene discipline recognized by the International accreditation body. By obtaining a professional body-approved Industrial/Occupational Hygienist designation, I can demonstrate and deliver correct occupational hygiene calculations/study reports to employers.