My Quest for a Certified "E" (as in SH'E)

I was looking for a certification that represented the "E" in the cross-functional, multi-disciplinary safety, health, and environmental and (SH&E) professional that I had become. The "S" and "H" were represented by the CSP and CIH certifications, respectively, and I wanted a certification that stood on par with those. I looked for an environmental certification that encompassed:

  • A strict code of ethics

  • High standards of environmental practice

  • Ongoing professional development

  • Community and professional contributions

Also, I was looking for a certification that defined an environmental professional as someone with a broad, multi-media approach - not a hazardous waste specialist, not an industrial wastewater treatment specialist - but someone who has shown or proven:
  • Ability to solve complex environmental problems

  • Awareness of multi-media impact

  • Understanding of broad based, multi-disciplinary environmental issues

  • In-depth knowledge in that person's area of professional practice

My quest led me to the Institute for Professional Environmental Practice (IPEP) and the QEP. IPEP is the independent, not-for-profit certifying organization for the QEP, and the Environmental Professional Intern (EPI) certifications. IPEP's objectives are "to improve the practice and educational standards of environmental professionals". IPEP also administers the QEP and EPI application, examination, and certification process. The Institute is governed by a Board of Trustees and conducts business in accordance with the Board's adopted Bylaws and Policies and Procedures for Certification.

What is the QEP?

The Qualified Environmental Professional (QEP) is the first, and perhaps only, credential of its kind: a multi-media, multi-disciplinary, fully accredited credential that requires environmental professionals to see "the big picture" and to have the skills and knowledge to solve "real world problems". Through the QEP certification process, environmental professionals must demonstrate the breadth and depth of their knowledge and experience. QEPs also must agree to abide by IPEP's Code of Ethics.

The QEP is distinguished from other environmental certifications by its cross-disciplinary nature. In addition to its qualifying education prerequisites, its rigorous application and examination process, and by its continuing education requirements for recertification, the QEP establishes standards for the environmental professional and provides a career track for new professionals entering the field. It does not take the place of specialized certifications or registrations, but rather is a unique credential that serves to link and coordinate environmental practice.

The Importance of a Code of Ethics

When evaluating which certification to seek, one of the critical points is the manner in which the group governs their actions. Is there a Code of Ethics? What is the scope of the Code? How are members of the group evaluated with respect to compliance with the Code? What processes are in place to address reports of Code violations? Is there a history of the governing body addressing Code violations in a consistent, fair, and forceful manner? To help answer those questions, here is the Code of Ethics that governs QEPs:

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