Top 10 Environmental Associate Certifications
This article provides an overview of the top certifications for environmental associates, including requirements, benefits and cost.
Published 17 min read
Certifications are important for environmental associates because they demonstrate an individual’s knowledge and skills in the field. Employers look for individuals with a specific set of qualifications, and certifications from reputable organizations prove that a person has the necessary expertise to be successful in their role. Certifications can also increase an individual’s chances of being hired, as they signify that the applicant is highly knowledgeable in their area of expertise. Additionally, certifications can help environmental associates stand out from other applicants and ensure that employers recognize their qualifications.
The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of the top certifications for Environmental Associates and explain how they can enhance an environmental associate's career.
What are Environmental Associate Certifications?
Environmental Associate Certification is a professional credential that recognizes an individual’s knowledge and experience in environmental management and sustainability. It is awarded by the National Environmental Training Association (NETA) to professionals who have demonstrated their commitment to environmental stewardship and sustainability through the completion of an approved educational program. This certification provides proof that an individual has the skills and knowledge necessary to work effectively in this field.
Having this certification can help individuals stand out when applying for jobs, as it demonstrates their dedication to the environment and shows employers that they are serious about working in this field. It also provides evidence that they understand the principles of environmental protection, as well as how to implement sustainable solutions. In addition, having this certification may give people access to higher-level positions or promotions within their current job, as many employers view certified professionals favorably when making decisions regarding hiring or advancement. Finally, having this certification can provide individuals with networking opportunities and access to resources related to environmental management and sustainability.
Pro Tip: When considering an environmental associate certification, make sure it is accredited by a recognized organization such as the National Environmental Health Association (NEHA). This will ensure that the certification meets industry standards and is respected by employers.
Related: What does an Environmental Associate do?
Top 10 Environmental Associate Certifications
Here’s our list of the best certifications available to Environmental Associates today.
1. LEED Green Associate
LEED Green Associate is a professional certification program offered by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). It is designed to recognize individuals who have a basic understanding of green building principles and practices, as well as knowledge of the LEED rating system. The LEED Green Associate credential demonstrates an individual’s commitment to sustainability and green building best practices.
The exam for the LEED Green Associate credential takes about two hours to complete, and consists of 100 multiple-choice questions on topics such as green building principles, LEED rating systems, energy efficiency, water conservation, indoor air quality, and materials selection. To become certified, applicants must pass the exam with a score of at least 170 out of 200 points.
In order to prepare for the exam, applicants should review the USGBC’s official study guide and take practice tests online or through a third-party provider. Additionally, USGBC offers webinars and in-person training sessions that can help individuals prepare for the exam.
The cost of taking the LEED Green Associate exam varies depending on whether you are a USGBC member or non-member. For members, it costs $200; for non-members, it costs $250.
2. Certified Environmental Manager (CEM)
Certified Environmental Manager (CEM) is a professional certification program offered by the Institute of Hazardous Materials Management (IHMM). The CEM designation is designed to recognize individuals who have demonstrated competency in the principles and practices of environmental management. It is intended for professionals who are responsible for managing, planning, and implementing environmental programs.
The CEM program consists of two parts: an online course and an examination. The online course provides instruction on topics such as environmental law, hazardous materials management, air quality management, water quality management, waste management, and sustainability. The exam consists of 150 multiple-choice questions covering the same topics as the course.
To become certified as a CEM, you must complete both the online course and pass the examination with a score of 70% or higher. The course takes approximately 40 hours to complete and can be completed at your own pace. The exam takes about three hours to complete and can be taken in person or online.
The cost for the CEM certification program varies depending on whether you take the course or just take the exam. If you take both the course and exam, it will cost approximately $1,000 USD; if you only take the exam it will cost around $500 USD.
3. Certified Hazardous Materials Manager (CHMM)
A Certified Hazardous Materials Manager (CHMM) is a professional who has met the requirements set forth by the Institute of Hazardous Materials Management (IHMM). The CHMM designation is recognized as a symbol of excellence in the hazardous materials management field.
The CHMM certification requires applicants to have at least three years of experience in hazardous materials management, and to pass an examination that covers topics such as safety, health, environmental protection, risk assessment, and emergency response. Applicants must also complete continuing education requirements every two years in order to maintain their certification.
It typically takes between six months and one year to prepare for the CHMM exam. Preparation can include taking courses or studying independently. The IHMM offers several study guides and practice exams that are designed to help applicants prepare for the exam.
In order to obtain the CHMM certification, applicants must submit an application form along with proof of experience and payment of fees. The fee for first-time applicants is $550 USD; however, discounted rates may be available for members of certain organizations.
Once certified, CHMMs are required to pay an annual renewal fee of $100 USD in order to maintain their certification status. Additionally, they must complete at least 30 hours of continuing education credits every two years in order to remain certified.
4. Certified Professional Environmental Auditor (CPEA)
Certified Professional Environmental Auditor (CPEA) is a professional certification program developed by the National Environmental Auditing Association (NEAA). It is designed to recognize environmental auditors who have demonstrated expertise in conducting environmental audits and assessments. The CPEA certification is based on a set of core competencies that are essential for effective environmental auditing.
The CPEA certification process includes an online application, an examination, and a practical experience requirement. To be eligible for the CPEA certification, applicants must have at least two years of full-time environmental auditing experience or equivalent part-time experience. Applicants must also submit proof of their education and training in environmental auditing.
The CPEA exam consists of 100 multiple choice questions covering topics such as: legal requirements; audit planning; data collection; analysis and reporting; risk assessment; corrective action; and management systems. The exam is administered online and takes approximately 2 hours to complete.
The cost to apply for the CPEA certification is $495 USD plus applicable taxes. Once certified, there is an annual renewal fee of $95 USD plus applicable taxes.
5. Certified Sustainability Professional (CSP)
A Certified Sustainability Professional (CSP) is a professional designation that recognizes individuals who have a comprehensive understanding of sustainability principles and practices. The CSP credential is awarded by the International Society of Sustainability Professionals (ISSP), which is an international non-profit organization dedicated to advancing the field of sustainability.
The CSP exam consists of two parts: a written exam and an oral presentation. The written exam covers topics such as environmental management systems, sustainable development, corporate social responsibility, energy efficiency, and green building design. The oral presentation requires candidates to present their ideas on how to create a more sustainable future.
To become certified, applicants must meet certain eligibility requirements, including having at least three years of professional experience in the field of sustainability or related fields. Candidates must also have completed at least 30 hours of approved training in sustainability topics prior to taking the exam.
The cost for taking the CSP exam varies depending on where you take it and whether you are taking it online or in person. Generally speaking, the cost ranges from $400-$600 USD for both parts of the exam.
Once you pass the CSP exam, you will receive your certification from ISSP and be eligible to use the “CSP” designation after your name. This certification is valid for three years before needing to be renewed.
6. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Lead Renovator Certification
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Lead Renovator Certification is a program that requires individuals who perform renovations, repairs, and painting projects to be certified in lead-safe work practices. The certification is intended to protect people from the dangers of lead exposure by ensuring that those performing renovation activities are trained in proper lead-safe work practices.
To become an EPA Lead Renovator, individuals must complete an 8-hour training course approved by the EPA. The course covers topics such as identifying and controlling lead hazards, understanding how to use containment methods, and following clean-up procedures. After completing the course, individuals must pass an exam administered by an EPA-approved provider in order to receive their certification.
The cost of the 8-hour training course varies depending on the provider; however, it typically costs between $150-$250. Once certified, individuals must renew their certification every five years by taking a 4-hour refresher course. The cost of this refresher course also varies depending on the provider but typically ranges from $75-$125.
7. Association of Energy Engineers (AEE) Certified Energy Manager
The Association of Energy Engineers (AEE) Certified Energy Manager (CEM) is a professional certification that demonstrates an individual’s knowledge and experience in the field of energy management. It is a globally recognized credential that helps demonstrate an individual’s commitment to energy efficiency, sustainability, and cost savings.
To become a CEM, individuals must meet certain educational and experience requirements. Applicants must have at least four years of professional experience in energy management or related fields, including two years in a supervisory position. They must also hold at least a bachelor’s degree in engineering, science, business administration or related field from an accredited college or university.
Once these requirements are met, applicants can take the CEM exam administered by AEE. The exam consists of 200 multiple-choice questions covering topics such as energy efficiency technologies, economics and finance, operations and maintenance, project management, and more. The exam takes approximately three hours to complete.
The cost for taking the CEM exam is $550 for AEE members and $650 for non-members. After passing the exam, applicants will be awarded their CEM certification which is valid for five years before it must be renewed.
In summary, becoming AEE Certified Energy Manager requires meeting certain educational and experience requirements followed by taking the CEM exam which costs $550-$650 depending on membership status with AEE. Passing the exam awards individuals with their CEM certification which is valid for five years before needing to be renewed.
8. National Environmental Health Association (NEHA) Professional Food Safety Manager Certification
The National Environmental Health Association (NEHA) Professional Food Safety Manager Certification is a voluntary certification program that recognizes individuals who have demonstrated knowledge and proficiency in food safety management. This certification is designed to provide employers with assurance that their food safety managers possess the necessary skills and knowledge to effectively manage their food safety programs.
The NEHA Professional Food Safety Manager Certification requires applicants to pass an exam, which covers topics such as foodborne illness prevention, sanitation, HACCP principles, and regulatory compliance. The exam consists of 150 multiple-choice questions and takes approximately three hours to complete. The exam fee is $250 for NEHA members or $300 for non-members.
In order to be eligible for the NEHA Professional Food Safety Manager Certification, applicants must have at least two years of experience in a managerial role in the food industry or at least four years of experience in a supervisory role in the food industry. Additionally, applicants must successfully complete a two-day training course prior to taking the exam. The cost of this training course varies depending on location but typically ranges from $150-$200.
Once an applicant has passed the exam and met all other eligibility requirements, they will receive their NEHA Professional Food Safety Manager Certification within 4-6 weeks after submitting their application materials. This certification is valid for five years before renewal is required.
9. American Institute of Professional Geologists (AIPG) Certified Professional Geologist
The American Institute of Professional Geologists (AIPG) Certified Professional Geologist (CPG) is a certification program that recognizes the professional qualifications of geologists who have demonstrated their knowledge and experience in the field. It is recognized by employers, government agencies, and other organizations as a mark of excellence for professional geologists.
In order to become certified, an individual must meet certain requirements which include having at least a bachelor’s degree in geology or related field from an accredited college or university; having at least five years of professional experience in geological work; and passing the AIPG Certification Examination. The exam consists of three parts: a written examination, an oral examination, and an ethics examination.
It typically takes between six months to one year to complete all the requirements for CPG certification. The cost of certification varies depending on whether you are taking the exam for the first time or retaking it after failing once before. Generally speaking, it costs around $500-$1000 to take the exam for the first time, while retaking it can cost up to $600.
10. International Society of Sustainability Professionals (ISSP-SA) Sustainable Agriculture Professional
The International Society of Sustainability Professionals (ISSP-SA) Sustainable Agriculture Professional is a certification program designed to recognize individuals who demonstrate a commitment to sustainability in the practice of sustainable agriculture. The ISSP-SA Sustainable Agriculture Professional certification provides recognition for those who have achieved a level of knowledge and experience in the field of sustainable agriculture.
It takes approximately 8 months to complete the program, depending on how quickly you can complete the required coursework and exams. The program consists of four modules and an exam: Introduction to Sustainable Agriculture, Sustainable Agricultural Systems, Sustainable Agricultural Practices, and Applied Sustainability Management. Each module must be completed before taking the final exam.
To get certified as an ISSP-SA Sustainable Agriculture Professional, applicants must first complete all four modules and pass the final exam with a score of 70% or higher. After passing the exam, applicants must submit their application materials including proof of completion of all coursework and payment for the certification fee (currently $500). Once accepted into the program, applicants will receive their certificate within 4-6 weeks after submitting their application materials.
The cost for becoming an ISSP-SA Sustainable Agriculture Professional is currently $500 which covers all four modules and the final exam.
Do You Really Need a Environmental Associate Certificate?
The answer to this question depends on the individual and their career goals. For those looking to work in environmental fields such as environmental science, engineering, or policy, an environmental associate certificate may be beneficial. This type of certificate can provide specialized training that can help individuals stand out among other job applicants and increase their chances of getting hired.
An environmental associate certificate could also benefit those who are already employed in an environmental field but would like to expand their knowledge or specialize in a particular area. The certificate can provide a formal recognition of the individual's expertise in a certain area and enable them to take on more responsibility or specialize in a certain field.
Finally, an environmental associate certificate can also be beneficial for those who are just starting out in the field and don’t have much experience yet. It will give them the knowledge they need to find entry-level employment and demonstrate that they are serious about pursuing a career in the environmental sector.
Ultimately, whether or not an individual should pursue an environmental associate certificate depends on their own goals and ambitions. If they feel that such a certification would be beneficial for their career path then it is worth considering.
Related: Environmental Associate Resume Examples
FAQs About Environmental Associate Certifications
Q1: What is an environmental associate certification?
A1: An environmental associate certification is a professional credential that demonstrates a level of knowledge and expertise in the area of environmental science and sustainability. It is awarded by organizations such as the National Environmental Training Association (NETA), the Society for Environmental Management (SEM), and the American Academy of Environmental Engineers (AAEE).
Q2: What are the benefits of obtaining an environmental associate certification?
A2: Obtaining an environmental associate certification can help individuals demonstrate their qualifications to employers, increase their job prospects, and earn higher wages. It can also help them stay up to date on industry trends and best practices, further their career development, and network with other professionals in the field.
Q3: What are the requirements for obtaining an environmental associate certification?
A3: The requirements vary depending on which organization awards the certification. Generally speaking, applicants must have completed some form of accredited education or training program in environmental science, have at least two years of work experience in a related field, and pass a comprehensive written examination.
Q4: How long does it take to obtain an environmental associate certification?
A4: The amount of time it takes to obtain an environmental associate certification depends on individual circumstances, such as how much experience one has in the field or how quickly they can complete required courses or exams. Generally speaking, it may take up to one year to become certified.
Q5: Is there any continuing education or recertification requirement associated with maintaining an environmental associate certification?
A5: Yes, most organizations require that certified individuals participate in ongoing training activities or complete additional coursework every two years in order to maintain their credentials.