Third Party Accreditation vs. Short Term Memory Testing

The Council for Engineering and Scientific Specialty Boards (CESB) has accredited certification
programs in engineering and applied science since 1990.  CESB is entirely independent of industry
organizations, and exists solely to promote high standards in the certification industry.

CESB accreditation is extremely difficult to achieve. It is available only to certifying bodies who maintain rigorous standards for candidate eligibility and program operation. Accredited certifying bodies must be independent of training organizations. They must follow strict guidelines for exam development and security. They must evaluate education and field experience as well as exam performance. Such standards are the reason that CESB-accredited programs like the Certified Industrial Hygienist (CIH) are revered as marks of integrity and credibility.The IAQ Council has achieved CESB accreditation for eight of its certification programs:

Indoor Environmental Consulting:
Council-certified Indoor Environmental Consultant (CIEC) – 8 years experience required (Engineering Level)
Council-certified Indoor Environmentalist (CIE) – 2 years experience required (Engineering Tech Level)

Microbial Consulting
Council-certified Microbial Consultant (CMC) – 8 years experience required (Engineering Level)
Council-certified Microbial Investigator (CMI) – 2 years experience required (Engineering Tech Level)

Microbial Remediation
Council-certified Microbial Remediation Supervisor (CMRS) – 5 years experience required (Engineering Tech Level)
Council-certified Microbial Remediator (CMR) – 2 years experience required (Engineering Tech Level)

Indoor Air Quality Management
Council-certified Indoor Air Quality Manager (CIAQM) – 2 years experience required (Engineering Tech Level)

Residential Mold Inspection
Council-certified Residential Mold Inspector (CRMI) – 2 years experience required (Engineering Tech Level)

Compliance: In compliance with CESB guidelines for accredited certifying bodies, each of these programs is administered independently of organizations that offer training and/or review leading to certification.
A quick look at the industrial certification landscape will demonstrate the wisdom of this requirement.

IAQ Professionals Seeking Instant Certification:

Many candidates seeking certification through Companies or organizations outside of the AmIAQC’s IAQ-related certifications have grown accustomed to a standard much less dependent on industry standards body of knowledge and more dependent on short term memory: first, they take a training course from a certification body. Immediately following the course they take a certification exam administered by the trainer. The exam covers the exact same material as the course, since the trainer typically has access to exam content during course construction. By the same token, the course is usually taught “to the test,” meaning that the candidates often learn little more than how to pass the examination. If they do pass, they are automatically certified. It’s a one stop shopping experience that can turn out certified “professionals” at an alarming rate.

The problem is that such “instant” certifications attest to little more than course attendance; they don’t
necessarily represent broad industry knowledge. Truth be told, since the exam is given immediately
after the course, they don’t even guarantee that candidates really remember what they’ve learned.
Certifications obtained this way are often inexpensive to acquire and maintain, and for good reason:
their practical value is low. They are useless to the certificant when it comes to buying professional
insurance, and once challenged in court by a subpoena, they often become a liability rather than an

Industry Certification
In other, more established industries such as industrial hygiene, engineering, architecture, law and
medicine, there is a vastly different pattern. Candidates for certification must pass a standardized
exam based on a range of industry texts and administered independently of training organizations.
These “industry certifications” are more difficult to acquire and often more expensive to maintain – but
they are worth the investment because they have value in the marketplace. Certificate holders are
respected by insurance companies as experts in their field and by juries as authorities in the