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Top 10 Environmental Engineer Certifications

This article provides a comprehensive overview of the top environmental engineer certifications available and their associated benefits.

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Brenna Goyette
Certified Professional Resume Writer, Career Expert

Published 18 min read

Certifications are important for environmental engineers in the job market because they demonstrate a level of expertise and knowledge in their field. Certifications provide evidence that professionals have the qualifications to perform their jobs safely, effectively, and responsibly. They also show employers that an individual has taken the initiative to stay up-to-date with industry standards and is committed to professional development. In addition, certifications are often required for certain positions, so having them can open up more job opportunities.

The purpose of this article is to review and explain how some of the top certifications for Environmental Engineers can contribute to an environmental engineer's career.

What are Environmental Engineer Certifications?

Environmental engineer certification is a professional credential that demonstrates an individual’s knowledge and expertise in the field of environmental engineering. It is awarded by organizations such as the American Academy of Environmental Engineers (AAEE) or the Institute of Environmental Sciences and Technology (IEST). The certification requires passing an exam, which tests a person's understanding of various environmental laws, regulations, and principles.

Having this certification can be beneficial to those looking to further their career in environmental engineering, as it serves as a validation of their knowledge and experience. It can help with job opportunities, promotions, and salary increases. Additionally, having this certification may make an individual more attractive to potential employers since it shows that they have taken the time to become certified experts in the field. Furthermore, it can help demonstrate that someone is committed to staying up-to-date on industry trends and best practices. Ultimately, having this certification can be beneficial for both individuals and organizations as it helps ensure that those working in the field are knowledgeable about the latest technology and techniques used in environmental engineering.

Pro Tip: Make sure to research the different environmental engineer certification options available in your area before making a decision. Each certification has its own requirements and benefits, so it's important to understand which one is best suited for your career goals. Additionally, make sure to check if any continuing education is required for maintaining your certification and take advantage of any online courses or workshops that can help you stay up-to-date with current regulations and trends.

Related: What does an Environmental Engineer do?

Top 10 Environmental Engineer Certifications

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

1. Certified Environmental Engineer (CEE)

Certified Environmental Engineer (CEE) is a professional designation awarded by the American Academy of Environmental Engineers and Scientists (AAEES). It recognizes individuals who have demonstrated their knowledge, skills, and abilities in the field of environmental engineering.

To become a CEE, applicants must meet certain educational requirements and demonstrate experience in the field. Applicants must hold at least a bachelor's degree in environmental engineering or related field from an accredited university. They must also possess at least four years of professional experience in the field of environmental engineering, including two years of management-level experience.

Applicants must then pass an exam administered by AAEES to demonstrate their knowledge and expertise in the field. The exam consists of two parts: a written component and an oral component. The written component covers topics such as air pollution control, water quality management, hazardous waste management, environmental law, and environmental impact assessment. The oral component is designed to test the applicant’s ability to apply their knowledge to real-world scenarios.

The cost for taking the CEE exam varies depending on whether you are a member of AAEES or not. For non-members, the cost is $550; for members it is $450.

It typically takes about six months to prepare for and take the CEE exam. During this time, applicants should review relevant course materials from their undergraduate studies as well as any additional resources they can find online or through books related to environmental engineering topics covered on the exam. Additionally, applicants should take practice tests to assess their understanding of key concepts and familiarize themselves with how questions are structured on the actual exam.

2. Certified Professional Environmental Auditor (CPEA)

A Certified Professional Environmental Auditor (CPEA) is a professional designation that demonstrates expertise in environmental auditing. The certification is awarded by the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) and recognizes individuals who have met the rigorous standards for environmental audit knowledge, skills, and abilities.

The CPEA certification program consists of two parts: a written exam and an oral exam. The written exam covers topics such as environmental regulations, auditing principles, and risk management. The oral exam focuses on the individual's ability to apply their knowledge to actual environmental auditing scenarios.

To become certified as a CPEA, an individual must first meet certain eligibility requirements. These include having at least five years of experience in environmental auditing or related fields, passing the written exam with a score of at least 70%, and passing the oral exam with a score of at least 80%. Once these requirements are met, the individual can then apply for certification through IIA's online application system.

The cost of becoming a CPEA varies depending on the country where the individual resides. Generally speaking, it costs around $1,000 USD to become certified in North America and Europe. There may also be additional fees associated with taking the exams or applying for certification.

3. Certified Hazardous Materials Manager (CHMM)

A Certified Hazardous Materials Manager (CHMM) is a professional certification that recognizes an individual’s expertise in the safe management of hazardous materials. It is offered by the Institute of Hazardous Materials Management (IHMM). The CHMM credential requires passing an exam and meeting certain educational and experience requirements.

The CHMM certification process typically takes about 6-12 months to complete, depending on the individual’s level of preparation. To become certified, applicants must first meet the eligibility criteria set by IHMM, which includes having a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in an environmental science or related field and at least three years of full-time experience in hazardous materials management. Applicants must also pass a comprehensive exam administered by IHMM.

The cost to become certified as a CHMM varies depending on whether you are applying for initial certification or recertification. Initial certification costs $375 for IHMM members and $475 for non-members. Recertification costs $225 for members and $275 for non-members. Additionally, there may be other fees associated with taking the exam such as registration fees and study material fees.

4. Professional Engineer (PE)

Professional Engineer (PE) is a professional license that allows an individual to practice engineering in the United States. It is granted by each state’s licensing board, and requires passing an exam and meeting certain educational and experience requirements.

It typically takes four years of work experience in the field of engineering along with a four-year college degree to become eligible for the PE exam. Depending on the state, applicants may also need to complete additional coursework or pass additional exams before they can become licensed.

To get a PE license, applicants must first take and pass the Principles & Practice of Engineering (PE) exam, administered by the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES). This exam covers topics such as mathematics, engineering principles, ethics, and design practices. After passing this exam, applicants must then apply for licensure with their state's licensing board. Each state has its own application process and requirements for licensure.

The cost of getting a PE license varies from state to state but usually includes fees for taking the PE exam as well as any other required exams or courses. In addition, most states require an annual renewal fee after licensure is obtained.

5. LEED Accredited Professional (LEED AP)

LEED Accredited Professional (LEED AP) is a certification that recognizes individuals who have demonstrated a thorough understanding of green building principles and practices. LEED APs are qualified to lead the process of designing, constructing, and operating high-performance green buildings.

It typically takes about 2-4 months to become a LEED AP. To get started, you must first register with the Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI) by creating an account and paying the registration fee. Once registered, you can then access the LEED Green Associate exam or the LEED AP specialty exam, depending on your qualifications. The exams are offered in both online and in-person formats.

The cost of becoming a LEED AP varies depending on which specialty exam you choose to take. The Green Associate exam costs $200 USD while the specialty exams range from $300-$500 USD per exam. Additionally, there may be additional fees associated with taking the exams such as study materials or practice tests.

6. Certified Industrial Hygienist (CIH)

A Certified Industrial Hygienist (CIH) is a professional who specializes in the prevention of occupational health hazards. CIHs are trained to identify, evaluate, and control workplace exposures to chemical, biological, and physical hazards that can cause illness or injury. They use their knowledge of engineering principles, toxicology, industrial hygiene sampling methods, and safety management systems to develop strategies for controlling hazardous exposures.

It typically takes two to three years of full-time study to become a CIH. To qualify for certification, applicants must have at least a bachelor’s degree in an approved scientific discipline such as chemistry, biology, engineering, or public health; at least four years of experience in industrial hygiene; and completion of an approved course in industrial hygiene. Once these requirements are met, applicants can apply for certification through the American Board of Industrial Hygiene (ABIH).

The cost for ABIH certification varies depending on the type of application submitted. The initial application fee is $400 USD; if you choose to take the exam instead of submitting proof of experience and education credentials you will need to pay an additional $350 USD. In addition to these fees there may be additional costs associated with submitting supporting documentation such as transcripts or work experience records.

Once certified by ABIH, CIHs must complete continuing education credits every three years in order to maintain their certification status. The cost for these credits vary depending on the type of course taken but generally range from $50-$150 USD per credit hour.

7. Certified Safety Professional (CSP)

Certified Safety Professional (CSP) is a professional certification awarded by the Board of Certified Safety Professionals (BCSP). It is the highest level of safety certification available and is recognized throughout North America. The CSP credential is designed to recognize safety professionals who demonstrate knowledge, skills, and competency in the practice of safety management.

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

* Possess a minimum of four years of full-time safety work experience

* Have a bachelor's degree or higher in any field from an accredited college or university

* Pass the BCSP’s comprehensive written examination

The process to become a CSP takes approximately six months. This includes submitting an application for certification, completing all required documentation, taking and passing the written exam, and receiving your official CSP certificate.

The cost to become certified as a CSP varies depending on whether you are already a member of BCSP or not. If you are not currently a member, you will need to pay both the membership fee ($125 USD) and the exam fee ($395 USD). If you are already a member of BCSP, then you will only need to pay for the exam fee ($395 USD).

8. Certified Sustainable Building Advisor (CSBA)

Certified Sustainable Building Advisor (CSBA) is a professional certification program designed to provide individuals with the knowledge and skills necessary to assess, design, and implement sustainable building projects. The CSBA program is offered by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and provides professionals with the tools they need to become leaders in the green building industry.

The CSBA program consists of three courses: Sustainable Design Strategies, Sustainable Construction Practices, and Sustainable Operations & Maintenance. Each course takes approximately 8-10 hours to complete, for a total of 24-30 hours of instruction time. In addition to completing the courses, applicants must also pass an exam at the end of each course in order to receive their certification.

In order to get certified as a CSBA, applicants must first register for the USGBC's online learning platform and purchase access to each of the three courses. Access to each course costs $250 USD per person, for a total cost of $750 USD. Once registered, applicants can begin taking courses at any time and have up to 6 months from their registration date to complete all 3 courses and pass their exams.

Once all 3 courses are completed and passed successfully, applicants will receive their official CSBA certification from the USGBC. This certification is valid for 5 years from date of issue and can be renewed by completing additional continuing education credits every 5 years thereafter.

9. American Academy of Environmental Engineers and Scientists Diplomate (DAAEE/DEEES)

The American Academy of Environmental Engineers and Scientists (AAEES) Diplomate is a professional certification program for engineers and scientists who specialize in environmental engineering and science. It is the highest level of recognition available from AAEES, and it serves as an indication of a person’s expertise in the field.

In order to become a Diplomate, an individual must have at least 10 years of experience in environmental engineering or science, as well as a degree from an accredited university. They must also pass a comprehensive examination that covers topics related to environmental engineering and science. The exam is administered by the AAEES Board of Examiners, which consists of experts in the field who review each applicant’s qualifications.

It typically takes about two years to complete the process of becoming a Diplomate. During this time, applicants must submit their application materials, take the exam, and receive approval from the Board of Examiners.

The cost to become a Diplomate varies depending on several factors, such as whether or not you are already a member of AAEES. Generally speaking, it costs around $1,000 USD to become a Diplomate. This fee includes the cost of taking the exam and other administrative fees associated with becoming certified by AAEES.

10. Water Environment Federation Certified Operator Specialty Credential Program

The Water Environment Federation (WEF) Certified Operator Specialty Credential Program is a professional certification program that recognizes the expertise of water and wastewater operators in the United States. The program is designed to recognize the knowledge and experience of operators who have demonstrated their proficiency in specific areas of water and wastewater treatment.

The program consists of three levels: Level I, Level II, and Level III. Each level requires the successful completion of an exam that tests the operator’s knowledge in a particular area. The exams are administered by WEF-approved testing centers throughout the United States.

It typically takes between six months and one year to complete all three levels of certification, depending on how quickly you can study for and pass each exam. To get started, you must first become a member of WEF and then register for the program. Once registered, you will receive information about the exams, including dates, locations, fees, and study materials.

The cost for taking each exam varies depending on whether or not you are a WEF member. Non-members pay $150 per exam while members pay $125 per exam. In addition to these fees, there may be additional costs associated with taking an exam such as travel expenses or purchasing study materials.

Do You Really Need a Environmental Engineer Certificate?

Environmental engineers play an important role in protecting the environment. They design, develop, and implement solutions to environmental problems like air and water pollution, waste management, and climate change. To become a successful environmental engineer, you need to have a good understanding of the natural sciences, engineering principles, and the legal framework surrounding environmental protection.

The answer to whether or not you need an environmental engineer certificate depends on your goals. If you are aiming for a career in environmental engineering or consulting, then it is likely that having a certificate or degree in this field will be beneficial. Having a formal certification from an accredited institution can demonstrate your knowledge of the subject matter and increase your chances of finding employment in the field. It may also prove helpful if you wish to pursue advanced studies in the field or gain access to specialized jobs.

On the other hand, if you are looking for entry-level positions in industries such as construction or manufacturing that involve some form of environmental protection work but aren't specifically related to environmental engineering then it may not be necessary for you to obtain a certificate or degree in this field. In this case, taking courses related to environmental protection topics would still be beneficial but obtaining a formal certification may not be essential.

In conclusion, whether or not you need an environmental engineer certificate depends largely on what type of job you are pursuing and how far up the career ladder you want to go. If you plan on entering into advanced studies in this field or seeking out specialized jobs then obtaining a formal certification is likely recommended; however, if your goals are more general then it may not be necessary for you to obtain one.

Related: Environmental Engineer Resume Examples

FAQs About Environmental Engineer Certifications

1. What certifications are available for Environmental Engineers?

Answer: Professional Engineer (PE) certification from the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES), Certified Environmental Engineer (CEE) from the American Academy of Environmental Engineers and Scientists, Certified Hazardous Materials Manager (CHMM) from the Institute of Hazardous Materials Management, and Certified Professional in Erosion and Sediment Control (CPESC) from the International Erosion Control Association.

2. How do I become certified as an Environmental Engineer?

Answer: To become certified as an environmental engineer, you must first obtain a bachelor's degree in engineering or related field. You will then need to pass the NCEES Fundamentals of Engineering exam before being eligible to take the Principles and Practice of Engineering Exam, which is required to obtain your PE license. Once you have obtained your PE license, you can apply for other certifications such as CEE, CHMM, or CPESC.

3. What are the benefits of becoming an Environmental Engineer?

Answer: Becoming an environmental engineer provides numerous benefits including job security, career growth potential, higher salaries than non-certified engineers, recognition among peers and employers, access to unique opportunities such as consulting projects or research positions that require specialized knowledge, and increased credibility when dealing with regulatory agencies or clients.

4. How long does it take to obtain Environmental Engineer Certification?

Answer: The amount of time it takes to obtain certification depends on a variety of factors such as experience level and education background. Generally speaking however, it typically takes around two years to complete all necessary requirements for certification after obtaining a bachelor’s degree in engineering or related field.

5. Is there an age limit for obtaining Environmental Engineer Certification?

Answer: There is no age limit for obtaining environmental engineer certification; however some certifying organizations may require applicants to meet certain educational requirements or have prior experience in order to be eligible for certification.

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