The Environmental Profession is comprised of a wide variety of sub-specialties such as Air, Water, Chemicals, Environmental Management, and Emergency Response. The ASSE Environmental Practice Specialty has formed Technical Subcommittees to discuss issues within the various subspecialties. In addition, the ASSE Environmental Practice Specialty (EPS) has also formed a Certification subcommittee and tasked it with the following responsibilities:
Investigate the status of environmental certificatton/regtstration
Investigate the direction of environmental certification/registration
Develop recommendations of environmental certifications for review by the Environmental Practice Specialty's Advisory Committee for possible recommendation to the membership.
There are over three hundred safety, health, environmental, and/or ergonomic credentials in existence. These credentials have been created by organizations including public agencies, private entities, and professional societies. Approximately three-dozen of the credentials contain the word "environmental". In addition, other credentials contain terms or phrasing such as "hazardous materials" or "hazardous waste" which appear to come within the purview of the environmental discipline. Thus, there are at least fifty credentials which are related to the environmental discipline in some degree. The EPS certification subcommittee is continuing to identify potential environmental certifications and to develop recommendations for the criteria for evaluation.
Appropriate evaluation of environmental credentials is the subject of extensive ongoing discussions. One approach that has been used is the standard, which has been distributed to the environmental certification subcommittee members, for assessment of certification developed by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) E -1929 - 98 Standard Practice for Assessment of Certification Programs for Environmental Professionals: Accreditation Criteria The standard was developed under the jurisdiction of the ASTM Committee on Environmental Assessment, and is the direct responsibility of the ASTM Subcommittee on Commercial Real Estate Transactions.
The E- 1929 - 98 Standard references accreditation criteria established by the Council of Engineering and Scientific Specialty Boards (CESB) Standard: Guidelines for Engineering and Related Specialty Certification Programs; and the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) Standard: Standards for Accreditation of National Certification Organizations.
An outline of portions of the operative elements of ASTM E 1929-98 Standard Practice for Assessment of Certification Programs for Environmental Professionals: Accreditation Criteria include the following:
1.1. "This practice covers the minimum acceptable accreditation criteria to assist in the assessment of certification programs for environmental professionals."
1.2. "The practice will assist a user of environmental services in identifying credible certification programs for environmental professionals."
1.3. "This practice does not propose to address any specific certification program..
1.4 "This standard does not purport to address all of the safety concerns, if any, associated with its use. It is the responsibility of the user of this standard … to determine … regulatory limitations prior to use".