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Top 10 Environmental Consultant Certifications

This article provides an overview of the top certifications for environmental consultants, including their requirements and benefits.

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Brenna Goyette
Certified Professional Resume Writer, Career Expert

Published 17 min read

Certifications are important for environmental consultants in the job market because they demonstrate a level of expertise, commitment, and knowledge in their field. They provide potential employers with an indication that the consultant has met certain standards and is qualified to work on specific projects. Additionally, certifications can make a consultant more competitive when bidding for projects, as they show that the consultant has additional qualifications beyond what is required by law. Finally, certifications help environmental consultants stay up to date with new developments in their field and ensure they are providing clients with the best advice and services available.

The purpose of this article is to review the top certifications for Environmental Consultants and explain how they can help advance an environmental consultant's career.

What are Environmental Consultant Certifications?

Environmental consultant certification is a designation that recognizes an individual's expertise and knowledge in environmental consulting. It is offered by a variety of organizations, including the American Academy of Environmental Engineers and Scientists (AAEES) and the National Environmental Health Association (NEHA).

Certification provides assurance to employers, clients, or regulatory agencies that an individual has met the industry’s highest standards for knowledge and experience. It also demonstrates the individual’s commitment to staying current with new developments in environmental science, technology, and regulations.

Environmental consultants who are certified have demonstrated their mastery of topics such as air quality assessment, hazardous waste management, water quality analysis, environmental impact assessment, risk assessment, auditing techniques, and more. They are also knowledgeable about relevant laws and regulations.

Having this certification can be beneficial for both employers and employees. For employers, it indicates that they have hired a qualified professional with up-to-date skills in environmental consulting. For employees with the certification, it increases their marketability as they can demonstrate to prospective employers that they possess the necessary credentials to perform well in their role. Additionally, certified consultants may be eligible for certain jobs or contracts that require certification as a prerequisite.

Pro Tip: When considering environmental consultant certification, make sure to research the credentials of the certifying body. Look for certifications that are accredited by a recognized authority, such as a state or federal agency, and have a track record of success in their field. Additionally, seek out certifications that require continuing education to ensure that consultants stay up-to-date on best practices and industry standards.

Related: What does an Environmental Consultant do?

Top 10 Environmental Consultant Certifications

Here’s our list of the best certifications available to Environmental Consultants today.

1. Certified Environmental Manager (CEM)

A Certified Environmental Manager (CEM) is a professional certification offered by the Institute of Hazardous Materials Management (IHMM). It is designed to recognize individuals who have achieved a high level of knowledge, experience, and expertise in environmental management. The CEM credential is widely recognized as the premier certification for environmental professionals and is held by many of the top environmental managers in the world.

The CEM program consists of two parts: a written examination and an application process. The written exam covers topics such as environmental regulations, risk assessment and management, hazardous materials management, and sustainability. Candidates must pass the written exam with a score of at least 70% in order to be eligible for the CEM certification.

The application process involves submitting an application form along with supporting documents such as proof of education or work experience, letters of recommendation, and other relevant information. Once all documents are received, they are reviewed by IHMM staff to determine if the candidate meets all requirements for certification. If approved, the candidate will receive their CEM certificate within 6-8 weeks.

The cost for obtaining a CEM certification varies depending on whether or not you are already an IHMM member. For non-members, it costs $495 to apply for the CEM program; members pay $395. Additionally, there is an annual fee of $95 to maintain your certified status each year after passing the exam.

2. Certified Environmental Professional (CEP)

Certified Environmental Professional (CEP) is a professional designation awarded by the Institute of Professional Environmental Practice (IPEP). The CEP designation is designed to recognize individuals who have achieved a high level of competency in the field of environmental management and protection. It is intended for those who are actively engaged in environmental management and/or research, or for those who have demonstrated significant achievements in the environmental field.

To become a CEP, applicants must meet certain educational and experience requirements, as well as pass an examination administered by IPEP. Applicants must possess at least a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university with a major in environmental science, engineering, or related field. They must also have at least five years of full-time professional experience in the field of environmental management and/or research.

The application process includes submitting an application form along with supporting documents such as transcripts, letters of recommendation, and proof of experience. Once all required materials are received, IPEP will review the application and determine if the applicant meets the eligibility criteria for certification. If approved, applicants can then register for and take the CEP exam.

The exam consists of two parts: a written portion that covers topics such as environmental regulations, risk assessment methods, pollution prevention strategies, hazardous waste management practices; and an oral portion that tests knowledge on various topics related to environmental protection. The exam can be taken online or at designated test centers around the world.

The cost to apply for CEP certification is $250 USD plus applicable taxes. The fee covers processing costs associated with reviewing applications and administering exams.

3. Certified Hazardous Materials Manager (CHMM)

A Certified Hazardous Materials Manager (CHMM) is a professional designation that recognizes individuals who have demonstrated expertise in hazardous materials management. The CHMM certification is administered by the Institute of Hazardous Materials Management (IHMM), and it requires passing an exam that covers topics such as hazardous waste management, environmental regulations, safety practices, and risk assessment.

To become certified, applicants must meet certain eligibility requirements including having a minimum of two years of experience in hazardous materials management or related field. In addition to the experience requirement, applicants must also complete an approved training program or equivalent coursework prior to taking the exam.

The CHMM exam consists of 175 multiple-choice questions and takes approximately four hours to complete. The cost for the exam is $450 for IHMM members and $550 for non-members. Once the exam has been passed, applicants will receive their CHMM certification within 8–10 weeks.

4. Certified Industrial Hygienist (CIH)

Certified Industrial Hygienist (CIH) is a professional certification awarded by the American Board of Industrial Hygiene (ABIH). It is a credential that recognizes the knowledge and experience of an individual in the field of industrial hygiene. A CIH is someone who has demonstrated a mastery of the principles, practices and techniques of industrial hygiene, as well as the ability to apply them to protect workers from occupational health hazards.

To become a Certified Industrial Hygienist, an individual must have at least a bachelor’s degree in industrial hygiene or related field, plus four years of relevant work experience. The individual must also pass an exam administered by ABIH. The exam consists of two parts: a written examination and an oral examination.

The cost for taking the CIH exam varies depending on which state you are taking it in. Generally speaking, it costs around $1,000 to take the exam. This includes fees for registration, study materials, and any other associated costs.

The time it takes to get certified can vary depending on how quickly you are able to complete all the necessary requirements. On average, it takes about one year to complete all steps required for certification.

5. Certified Professional in Erosion and Sediment Control (CPESC)

Certified Professional in Erosion and Sediment Control (CPESC) is a certification program that provides professional recognition to individuals who have demonstrated knowledge, experience, and proficiency in the field of erosion and sediment control. It is administered by the International Erosion Control Association (IECA).

The CPESC certification is valid for five years and requires renewal every five years. To become certified, applicants must meet certain educational requirements, pass an exam, provide documentation of their experience in the field, and agree to adhere to a code of ethics. The exam consists of 100 multiple-choice questions covering topics such as soil science, hydrology, stormwater management, vegetation management, erosion control design principles, construction site best management practices (BMPs), inspection techniques, regulatory compliance issues, and other related topics.

To get the CPESC certification, applicants must first submit an application to IECA. After submitting the application and paying the fee (which varies depending on whether you are a member or non-member of IECA), applicants will receive instructions for registering for the exam. Once registered for the exam, applicants will need to complete a study guide prior to taking it.

The cost of becoming certified as a CPESC depends on whether you are a member or non-member of IECA. For members of IECA, the cost is $395 USD; for non-members it is $495 USD.

6. Certified Professional in Storm Water Quality (CPSWQ)

The Certified Professional in Storm Water Quality (CPSWQ) is a professional certification program offered by the Environmental and Water Resources Institute (EWRI) of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). The CPSWQ program is designed to recognize individuals who have demonstrated knowledge, skills, and experience in storm water management. The certification is intended to provide a standard of excellence for professionals working in the field of storm water quality.

It typically takes 3-6 months to complete the requirements for the CPSWQ certification. Candidates must first meet eligibility requirements, which include having a bachelor’s degree or higher in engineering or related science, at least three years of experience in storm water management, and passing an exam. After meeting these requirements, candidates must submit an application to ASCE for review. Once approved, they can take the two-part exam that covers topics such as hydrology, hydraulics, erosion control practices, and regulatory compliance.

The cost for the CPSWQ certification varies depending on whether you are an ASCE member or non-member. For members it costs $400 for both parts of the exam; for non-members it costs $500. Additional fees may apply if you need to retake either part of the exam.

7. Qualified Environmental Professional (QEP)

Qualified Environmental Professional (QEP) is a professional certification program developed by the Institute of Professional Environmental Practice (IPEP). It is designed to recognize and promote professional excellence in the field of environmental practice. The QEP designation is an independent, third-party verification of an individual’s knowledge and experience in environmental management and protection.

To become a QEP, individuals must meet certain eligibility requirements, including:

* A minimum of five years of relevant environmental experience;

* A bachelor’s degree in a related field from an accredited college or university;

* Demonstrated commitment to ethical practices;

* Successful completion of the IPEP Qualifying Exam.

The process for becoming a QEP typically takes about six months. This includes completing the application form, submitting all required documents, and taking the qualifying exam. The cost for becoming a QEP varies depending on the type of membership you choose. For example, individual memberships are $295 per year while corporate memberships are $495 per year.

8. LEED Accredited Professional (LEED AP)

LEED Accredited Professional (LEED AP) is a professional certification program for individuals who are knowledgeable in the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) green building rating system. LEED APs have demonstrated an advanced level of knowledge and understanding of green building principles, practices, and technologies. They possess the skills to effectively implement LEED on projects, as well as the ability to interpret and explain LEED requirements to project teams.

It typically takes between two to four months to become a LEED AP, depending on how much time you can dedicate to studying and taking the exam. To become a LEED AP, you must meet certain education requirements and pass the LEED Green Associate or LEED AP specialty exam. The cost of becoming a LEED AP varies depending on which exam you take; however, it typically ranges from $200-$400 USD.

9. EnviroCert International Incorporated (ECI)

EnviroCert International Incorporated (ECI) is an independent, third-party certification and accreditation body that provides environmental management system (EMS) certifications. ECI provides certification services to organizations that wish to demonstrate their commitment to environmental stewardship and sustainability. The EMS certification process helps organizations identify, measure, manage, and report on their environmental impacts and performance.

The EMS certification process typically takes between six months and one year to complete. The time frame depends on the size of the organization, the complexity of its operations, and the level of commitment from management. During this period, ECI will assess an organization’s environmental policies and procedures, as well as its implementation of those policies and procedures.

Organizations can apply for ECI certification through the company’s website or by contacting a local representative. The cost of certification varies depending on the size of the organization and the scope of its operations. Generally speaking, it costs between $10,000-$30,000 for a full EMS certification from ECI.

10. American Academy of Environmental Engineers and Scientists (AAEES).

The American Academy of Environmental Engineers and Scientists (AAEES) is an international professional organization dedicated to promoting the practice of environmental engineering and science. The AAEES was established in 1989 and has since grown to be one of the most respected organizations in the field.

The AAEES provides a variety of services to its members, including certification, continuing education, networking opportunities, and access to resources. It also works to promote public awareness of environmental engineering and science issues.

To become certified by the AAEES, you must meet certain qualifications such as having a minimum of four years of experience in environmental engineering or science, have a degree from an accredited institution in environmental engineering or science, and pass a comprehensive exam. The exam covers topics such as water quality management, air pollution control, hazardous waste management, soil remediation, and more.

It typically takes about six months to complete the process for certification with the AAEES. You can apply for certification online through their website or submit your application by mail or fax. Once your application is approved, you will need to pay a fee which varies depending on whether you are applying for individual certification or group/corporate certification.

Individual certification costs $500 USD while group/corporate certification costs $1,000 USD. Both fees include the cost of taking the exam as well as any additional materials needed for review by the AAEES Board of Directors.

Do You Really Need a Environmental Consultant Certificate?

Yes, an environmental consultant certificate is a valuable credential for anyone looking to pursue a career in the field of environmental consulting. This certification demonstrates to employers that an individual has the knowledge and skills necessary to provide competent advice on environmental issues. The certification also shows that the individual has taken the time and effort to acquire specialized training in this area, indicating a commitment to excellence in their chosen profession.

An environmental consultant certificate can help individuals gain entry into the field of environmental consulting by demonstrating their qualifications and expertise. It can also open up opportunities for advancement within an organization, as many employers prefer to hire individuals who are certified in their areas of specialty. In addition, having a certificate may make it easier for consultants to find new clients or projects since many organizations will only consider professionals with a recognized qualification.

Finally, having an environmental consultant certificate can help increase job security since it provides evidence that an individual is knowledgeable about current regulations and standards related to environmental protection. This knowledge gives them an edge over other potential consultants when it comes to finding work and staying employed in this highly competitive industry.

Related: Environmental Consultant Resume Examples

FAQs About Environmental Consultant Certifications

1. What are the requirements for becoming an environmental consultant?

Answer: To become an environmental consultant, you need a degree in environmental science or a related field and several years of experience working in the environmental sector. You may also need to be certified in your area of expertise, such as hazardous materials management or air quality monitoring.

2. How long does it take to get certified as an environmental consultant?

Answer: The length of time it takes to become certified depends on the specific certification program you choose and the amount of work experience you have. Generally, it can take anywhere from several months to more than a year to obtain certification.

3. Is there a single certification that covers all areas of environmental consulting?

Answer: No, there is not one single certification that covers all areas of environmental consulting. Depending on your area of expertise and focus, you may need multiple certifications in order to practice professionally in all areas.

4. Are there any special qualifications needed for certain certifications?

Answer: Yes, some certifications require additional education or experience beyond what is required for general certification as an environmental consultant. For example, some certifications require advanced degrees or specialized training courses in order to qualify for them.

5. Where can I find information about specific certifications and requirements?

Answer: Information about specific certifications and requirements can typically be found through professional organizations that offer certifications or through individual state agencies that regulate certain aspects of environmental consulting work. Additionally, many universities offer courses related to different types of environmental consulting certifications that provide detailed information about the necessary qualifications and processes for obtaining them.