Although the specific qualifications have evolved, the 3-E’s of Education, Experience and Examination have always served as the foundation to be ABIH-certified in industrial hygiene. Currently, to meet the Education qualification a typical qualified candidate comes from a regionally accredited college or university, with a Bachelor’s Degree in biology, chemistry, engineering, physics or an ABET accredited program in industrial hygiene or safety. Other colleges and degrees will be considered by the Board provided there is an emphasis on science, mathematics, engineering, or science-related technology. In addition, the candidate must have academic or continuing education coursework specifically addressing ethics, industrial hygiene toxicology, fundamentals, measurements and controls.
However, academic knowledge alone does not qualify an individual to be a competent Industrial Hygienist; rather, it is the Experience qualification that provides the synergistic ingredient. There is an "art" to applying the technical principles in a manner that provides a reasonable solution for a workplace health issue. Often, this is best obtained through a relationship with a practicing Certified Industrial Hygienist (CIH), mentors or networks who can teach the nuances in applying the book knowledge in the real world. Further, because the CIH examination covers many broad IH rubrics, the Experience qualification allows time for more exposure to a wide variety of real-world conditions. Therefore, several years of broad experience are necessary before a person may sit for the CIH examination.