Top 10 Environmental Scientist Certifications

This article discusses the best environmental scientist certifications available and how to obtain them.

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Brenna Goyette
Certified Professional Resume Writer, Career Expert

Published 18 min read

Certifications are important for environmental scientists in the job market because they demonstrate to employers that the scientist has achieved a certain level of knowledge and skill in their field. Certifications can also provide a competitive edge when it comes to job searches, as some employers may prefer to hire someone with specific certifications or credentials. Additionally, certifications can increase an environmental scientist’s credibility and help them stand out from other applicants. Finally, certifications can open doors to career advancement opportunities and give environmental scientists the chance to work on more complex projects or take on higher-level roles.

This article reviews the top certifications for Environmental Scientists and outlines how they can help to further an environmental scientist's career.

What are Environmental Scientist Certifications?

Environmental scientist certification is a voluntary program that allows environmental scientists to demonstrate their knowledge and experience in the field. It is offered through professional organizations such as the American Academy of Environmental Engineers and Scientists (AAEES). Certification requires passing an examination, which tests an individual’s understanding of a wide range of topics related to environmental science. The exam covers areas like air pollution, water quality, hazardous materials management, ecological systems and more.

Having an environmental scientist certification can help individuals stand out from other job applicants or when seeking promotions or higher positions within their current organization. It can also be used as evidence of expertise in the field when applying for grants or research funding. Additionally, having a certification can improve networking opportunities with other professionals who are certified in the same area. Finally, it may provide access to additional educational resources and job postings that are not available to non-certified individuals.

Pro Tip: Environmental Scientist Certification is an important step to take if you are interested in pursuing a career in the environmental science field. Make sure to research the requirements for certification and make sure that you meet all of them before applying for certification. Additionally, consider seeking out additional certifications or professional development courses to further your knowledge and expertise in the field.

Related: What does an Environmental Scientist do?

Top 10 Environmental Scientist Certifications

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

1. Certified Environmental Scientist (CEnv)

Certified Environmental Scientist (CEnv) is a professional certification awarded by the Society for Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC). It is designed to recognize professionals who have achieved a high level of knowledge and experience in environmental science and related fields.

The CEnv certification requires applicants to demonstrate their expertise in environmental science through a combination of education, training, and experience. Applicants must have at least a bachelor’s degree in an environmental science-related field, five years of relevant work experience, and pass an exam administered by SETAC.

The exam consists of two parts: a written component and an oral component. The written portion covers topics such as environmental chemistry, toxicology, ecology, risk assessment, policy, regulation, and management. The oral portion tests the applicant’s ability to apply their knowledge to real-world scenarios.

It typically takes between six months and one year to complete the CEnv certification process.

The cost of obtaining the CEnv certification varies depending on the applicant’s country of residence. In the United States it costs $600 for members of SETAC or $750 for non-members. In Canada it costs $800 for members or $1000 for non-members.

2. Certified Professional Environmental Auditor (CPEA)

A Certified Professional Environmental Auditor (CPEA) is a professional designation that recognizes individuals who have demonstrated knowledge and experience in the field of environmental auditing. The CPEA certification is administered by the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA).

The CPEA program consists of a two-day workshop, followed by an online exam. The workshop covers topics such as environmental laws and regulations, environmental audit techniques, and environmental management systems. The cost for the workshop is $1,495 USD. After completing the workshop, participants must pass a comprehensive online exam to become certified.

To maintain their certification, CPEAs must complete at least 24 hours of continuing education every three years. This can include attending seminars or workshops related to environmental auditing or taking courses from accredited universities or colleges. The cost for maintaining certification depends on the type of continuing education chosen; however, it typically ranges from $200-$500 USD.

3. Certified Hazardous Materials Manager (CHMM)

Certified Hazardous Materials Manager (CHMM) is a professional certification awarded by the Institute of Hazardous Materials Management (IHMM). The CHMM credential is the highest level of certification available for hazardous materials management professionals. It is designed to recognize individuals who have demonstrated a high level of knowledge, skill and experience in the field.

The CHMM certification program consists of two parts: an online examination and an on-site assessment. The online exam covers topics such as hazardous materials regulations, safety standards, risk assessment, emergency response planning, and environmental protection. The on-site assessment evaluates the candidate’s ability to apply their knowledge in an actual hazardous materials management setting.

The entire process typically takes between four and six months to complete. Candidates must first register with IHMM and pay a fee before they can take the online examination. After passing the exam, candidates must submit additional documentation and undergo an on-site assessment before being awarded their CHMM credential.

The cost of obtaining a CHMM credential varies depending on whether or not you are already a member of IHMM. For non-members, the total cost typically ranges from $1,000-$1,500 USD including registration fees, exam fees and any applicable taxes or other charges. For members of IHMM, the cost is significantly lower at around $400 USD for all associated fees combined.

4. Certified Industrial Hygienist (CIH)

A Certified Industrial Hygienist (CIH) is a professional who has been certified by the American Board of Industrial Hygiene (ABIH). CIHs are responsible for controlling and preventing workplace health hazards and promoting safety. They evaluate the physical, chemical, biological, and ergonomic aspects of the work environment to identify potential health risks and make recommendations to reduce or eliminate them.

In order to become a CIH, one must first have an undergraduate degree in industrial hygiene or a related field such as engineering, chemistry, biology, or physics. After that, they must complete an accredited graduate-level program in industrial hygiene and pass the ABIH certification examination. The process typically takes two to three years to complete.

The ABIH certification exam consists of 200 multiple choice questions covering topics such as air sampling techniques, toxicology, occupational health regulations, and hazard communication. The exam fee is $750 for members of the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) and $1,000 for non-members.

Once certified, CIHs must maintain their credentials by completing continuing education credits every three years. This involves attending seminars or workshops on industrial hygiene topics as well as reading articles from peer-reviewed journals or taking online courses.

5. Certified Safety Professional (CSP)

A Certified Safety Professional (CSP) is a professional designation given by the Board of Certified Safety Professionals (BCSP). It is the highest level of certification available in the safety profession, and it is highly sought after by employers. The CSP demonstrates that an individual has achieved a high level of expertise and knowledge in safety management and risk assessment.

To become a CSP, you must meet certain qualifications, including having at least four years of safety experience, passing an exam administered by the BCSP, and completing continuing education requirements. The exam consists of two parts: a written portion and a practical application portion. The cost to take the exam varies depending on the state in which you are taking it but typically ranges from $350-$400.

Once you have passed the exam, you will be awarded your CSP credential. This credential must be renewed every three years with continuing education credits earned through approved activities such as attending conferences or workshops or taking online courses. The renewal fee for the CSP credential is typically around $200.

In addition to demonstrating expertise in safety management and risk assessment, having a CSP can also help to open doors for career advancement opportunities within the safety profession.

6. American Board of Industrial Hygiene (ABIH)

The American Board of Industrial Hygiene (ABIH) is a professional organization that certifies industrial hygienists. The ABIH offers the Certified Industrial Hygienist (CIH) certification, which is an internationally recognized credential in the field of industrial hygiene. The CIH certification requires applicants to demonstrate their knowledge and experience in the field of industrial hygiene through a rigorous examination process.

The ABIH exam process usually takes about 6-9 months to complete, depending on the applicant’s availability and preparation for the exam. To get certified by ABIH, applicants must first meet the eligibility requirements, which include having a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in occupational safety or environmental health from an accredited institution and at least four years of full-time work experience in industrial hygiene or related fields. Once these requirements are met, applicants can submit an application for the CIH exam with supporting documentation such as transcripts and letters of recommendation.

Once accepted into the program, applicants will be required to pay a fee for registration and examination materials. The fees vary depending on whether you are applying as an individual or as part of a group; however, they typically range from $500-$800 USD. After registering and paying the fee, applicants will receive access to study materials and will have up to one year to complete all components of the exam process.

Upon successful completion of all components of the exam process, applicants will receive their CIH certification from ABIH. This certification is valid for five years before it must be renewed through continuing education credits or reexamination.

7. Registered Environmental Manager (REM)

Registered Environmental Manager (REM) is a certification program that recognizes individuals who have achieved a high level of expertise in environmental management. The REM program is administered by the National Environmental Management Association (NEMA), and it is designed to recognize those individuals who have demonstrated a commitment to excellence in their field.

In order to become certified as a Registered Environmental Manager, an individual must meet certain educational and experience requirements, as well as pass an examination. The educational requirements include having earned at least a bachelor’s degree in environmental science or related field from an accredited college or university. Additionally, applicants must have at least three years of professional experience in environmental management.

The examination for the REM certification consists of two parts: Part I is a multiple-choice test, while Part II is an essay exam. Both exams are administered by NEMA and must be taken within one year of each other.

The cost for the REM certification varies depending on the type of membership you choose with NEMA. For non-members, the fee is $295; for members, the fee is $195; and for student members, the fee is $95.

Once you have met all of the requirements and passed both exams, you will receive your official certificate as a Registered Environmental Manager from NEMA within 4-6 weeks after completing all requirements.

8. Professional Wetland Scientist (PWS)

A Professional Wetland Scientist (PWS) is a specialist in wetland science and ecology. They are experts in the identification, evaluation, protection, and restoration of wetlands. PWSs have a thorough understanding of wetland hydrology, soil science, plant ecology, wildlife habitat management, and other related topics.

To become a PWS, you must first obtain a bachelor’s degree in biology, ecology or environmental science from an accredited college or university. After completing your undergraduate degree program, you may choose to pursue a master’s degree in wetland science or another related field. It typically takes two to four years to complete a master's program. You may also need to take additional courses in hydrology and soils if you plan on working as a PWS.

Once you have completed your educational requirements, you will need to obtain certification from the Society of Wetland Scientists (SWS). The SWS offers two levels of certification: Certified Professional Wetland Scientist (CPWS) and Certified Professional Wetland Manager (CPWM). To be eligible for either level of certification, you must meet certain criteria such as having at least three years of professional experience in wetland science or management and passing an exam administered by the SWS.

The cost for obtaining CPWS or CPWM certification varies depending on your education level and experience. Generally speaking, it costs around $500-$600 for application fees and exam fees combined. Additionally, there may be additional fees associated with taking continuing education courses or attending conferences related to wetland science or management.

9. Certified Asbestos Consultant/Inspector/Supervisor/Project Designer (CAC/I/S/PD)

A Certified Asbestos Consultant/Inspector/Supervisor/Project Designer (CAC/I/S/PD) is an individual who has been certified by a state or local agency to inspect, assess, design, and manage asbestos-related projects. The certification is based on the individual's knowledge and experience in dealing with asbestos-containing materials.

To obtain CAC/I/S/PD certification, an individual must pass a written exam administered by the state or local agency. The exam typically covers topics such as asbestos identification and sampling techniques, health effects of asbestos exposure, regulations pertaining to asbestos abatement, and project management skills. Depending on the state or local jurisdiction, additional requirements may also be necessary such as completion of approved training courses or practical experience in conducting inspections or managing projects.

The cost of obtaining CAC/I/S/PD certification varies depending on the jurisdiction and can range from $100-$500. The process typically takes several weeks to complete once all required documents have been submitted.

10. Certified Environmental Management System Auditor (CEMSA).

Certified Environmental Management System Auditor (CEMSA) is a professional certification program offered by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). The CEMSA certification is designed to recognize individuals who have demonstrated their knowledge and understanding of environmental management systems. It is an internationally recognized certification that provides assurance that an individual has the necessary skills and knowledge to audit, assess, and manage environmental risks.

The CEMSA certification process involves completing a comprehensive training course, passing a written examination, and completing a practical assessment. The training course consists of four modules covering topics such as ISO 14001:2015 requirements, auditing principles and practices, environmental legislation, and risk management. The written exam consists of multiple-choice questions testing your knowledge of the material covered in the training course. The practical assessment requires you to demonstrate your ability to audit an environmental management system in accordance with ISO 14001:2015 standards.

It typically takes approximately three months to complete the CEMSA certification process. However, this timeline can vary depending on how quickly you complete the training course and pass the written exam.

To get certified as a CEMSA auditor, you must first register with an accredited provider of the CEMSA program. You will then need to purchase the required materials for the training course, including textbooks and study guides. Once you have completed your training course and passed your written exam, you will need to submit your application for practical assessment with supporting documents such as proof of experience or qualifications in environmental management systems auditing.

The cost of obtaining CEMSA certification varies depending on which provider you choose to register with; however, it generally costs around $1,500-$2,000 USD for all associated fees (training materials + exam fees + application fees).

Do You Really Need a Environmental Scientist Certificate?

The short answer is no. An environmental scientist certificate is not a requirement for working in the field of environmental science. However, it can be beneficial to have one if you are looking to advance your career or specialize in a particular area of environmental science.

In general, an environmental scientist certificate provides specialized knowledge and skills related to the environment and its conservation. It also gives you access to exclusive job opportunities and certifications that may not be available to those without the certificate. Additionally, having a certification can make you stand out from other applicants when applying for jobs in the field.

If you are considering pursuing an environmental scientist certificate, it is important to understand what courses and topics are covered in the program. Generally, these programs cover areas such as air quality, climate change, energy conservation, water resources management, soil science and ecology. Depending on the program, some courses may focus on more specific topics such as hazardous waste management or sustainable development.

Overall, obtaining an environmental scientist certificate can be beneficial if you are looking to specialize in a certain area of environmental science or advance your career in this field. While it is not required to work as an environmental scientist, having this certification can help you stand out from other applicants when applying for jobs.

Related: Environmental Scientist Resume Examples

FAQs About Environmental Scientist Certifications

1. What certifications are available for environmental scientists?

Answer: There are a variety of certifications available for environmental scientists, including Certified Environmental Scientist (CES), Professional Environmental Scientist (PES), and Certified Hazardous Materials Manager (CHMM).

2. How do I become certified as an environmental scientist?

Answer: To become certified as an environmental scientist, you must typically meet certain educational requirements, such as earning a degree in a related field and having several years of professional experience. You must also pass an examination administered by the certifying body to obtain certification.

3. How long does it take to get certified?

Answer: The amount of time it takes to become certified will vary depending on the specific certification program and the individual's educational background and experience. Generally, it can take anywhere from six months to two years to complete the certification process.

4. Are there any continuing education requirements for maintaining my certification?

Answer: Yes, most certification programs require that you maintain your certification by completing regular continuing education courses or activities such as attending seminars or workshops related to your field.

5. Is there any cost associated with getting certified?

Answer: Yes, there is typically a fee associated with taking the exam and obtaining certification. The cost will vary depending on the specific program and other factors such as whether you need to purchase study materials or take additional courses in order to prepare for the exam.

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