Maintain Certification


This web page is an overview of the ABIH® Certification Maintenance (CM) program. 

Purpose of the CM Program

Certification by the ABIH provides independent verification that a person has demonstrated initial and continuing competence as measured by the standards of ABIH. For initial competence, the person must demonstrate the capability to operate at a professional level with 3-4 years of experience, applying the core industrial hygiene problem solving methodology (i.e., anticipate, recognize, evaluate and control) across a wide array of occupational hygiene health hazards associated with chemical, physical, biological and ergonomic stressors. At the time of initial certification, the person is specifically assessed for their knowledge and skills in sixteen industrial hygiene rubrics associated with the chemical, physical, biological and ergonomic stressors noted above.

The purpose of the CM program, which began in 1979, is to ensure that Diplomates develop and enhance their professional-level industrial hygiene knowledge and skills during the time period that they are certified by ABIH®. To demonstrate continuing competence, the Diplomate is required to participate in the CM program, which allows for either re-examination or professional level activities which are used as indicators of the development and enhancement of the Diplomate's IH knowledge and skills. During this time period, the Diplomate may continue to maintain their broad knowledge in all of the IH rubrics or they may choose to focus their career development and expertise on a subset, becoming specialists in one or more health hazard areas. The ABIH CM program allows for this diversity because it is reflective of the broad field of industrial hygiene itself.

The CM program primarily emphasizes technical advancement but does make allowances for some professional development activities when there is an environment, safety or health aspect.  Generic career skills development or career advancement may occur as a result of being a Diplomate but it is not a focus area for the ABIH CM program.

Diplomates are required to recertify every five years in order to maintain their ABIH certification. ABIH believes that the five year cycle allows ample time for the Diplomate to develop new knowledge/skills as well as enhance or refresh on previously acquired knowledge/skills.

The CM cycle length of five years is based on the premise that the knowledge and skills to be a professional-level industrial hygienist evolve over time but do not change radically from year-to-year. Industrial Hygiene is a mature profession, having been established in the 1930's. As an applied science profession, it uses an amalgam of many different pure sciences and core disciplines, e.g. chemistry, biology, anatomy, mathematics, toxicology, engineering. Advancements in those sciences and disciplines are integrated into the IH profession, usually in an adaptive, gradual manner. Thus, since the level of IH knowledge and skills to be a practicing, professional-level Industrial Hygienist does not change radically each year, a more frequent recertification period does not appear to be warranted.

The five year CM cycle is supported by the CIH® Job Analysis which is done every five to seven years and used to identify the current knowledge and skills possessed by a professional level industrial hygienist with three to four years of broad scope professional level practice. If the Job Analysis indicates a fundamental change in the IH Rubrics, Domains, or Tasks, the CM program would be evaluated for both the recertification frequency and methodologies (i.e., CM Categories and approved activities).There were not any significant changes from the 2008 to the 2014 Job Analysis.

ABIH will evaluate all applicants, examinees, Diplomates and former Diplomates using the criteria set for CIH eligibility or certification and will not discriminate on the basis of race, creed, national origin, religion, age, disability, political affiliation, sex, sexual orientation, or marital, parental, military, or any other legally protected status. ABIH requirements for eligibility, certification, recertification or reactivation are applied fairly, impartially and consistently in accordance with ABIH policies and applicable laws.  ABIH policies and programs for initial certification, recertification and reactivation will be administered without regard to individual membership or non-membership in any organization, association or other group.

Diplomate Definition & Identification

An ABIH Diplomate is a person who has met the initial qualifications for education, experience, and examination; and, has continued to meet the continuing standards for CM which include: practicing ethically; paying annual fees; and, every five years, passing the Exam or submitting an acceptable CM Worksheet (CMW). At least five percent of all CMWs will be selected for a detailed records audit and if selected, the Diplomate must  successfully pass the audit (to maintain their certification).

It is ABIH policy that the names and certification types of all Diplomates in good standing will be listed in the Public Roster. The term "in good standing" means that the Diplomate is paid up on all fees and is not involved in an ethics dispute. Diplomates in good standing and former Diplomates who voluntarily surrendered or retired their certification have access to the ABIH Private Roster, a location where additional contact information can be privately shared amongst other professional colleagues. Roster contact information is managed by the Diplomate at My Account.

Upon request, each Diplomate will be provided a wallet card at the time of annual fees payment.

ABIH Diplomates are strongly encouraged to use their ABIH-awarded certification terms including the registered trademark symbol as follows:

  • Certified Industrial Hygienist® or CIH®
  • Certified Associate Industrial Hygienist® or CAIH®

The above terms are registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office as is the ABIH® logo and the terms American Board of Industrial Hygiene® and ABIH®.

CM Cycle & Key Dates

Diplomates are assigned to a 60-month CM Cycle based on their initial Exam pass date. After the initial cycle is completed, each new CM cycle starts on the day immediately after the preceding cycle was completed.

The Key Dates listed below are also presented in the Worksheet Reporting Calendar

Key Date Description Where Located?
Cycle Start First day to earn CM credit during the cycle
(Will always be January 1 or July 1)
 New CIHs
  • Spring Exam Pass: Start Date is July 1
  • Fall Exam Pass: Start Date is January 1
Calculated from Cycle End Date
Cycle End Last day to earn CM credit
(60 months after the Cycle Start unless on a Cycle Extension or a one-time 54 month CM Cycle)
My Account
CMW Due Last day to submit before penalty phase
(1 month after Cycle End Date).
The CMW can be submitted starting five months before its due date.
My Account

Certification Expiration

Certification expires
(5 months after the Cycle End Date unless on a Cycle Extension or a one-time 54 month CM cycle)
Paper Certificate

Recertification by CMW or Exam

Every five years, Diplomates are required to either pass the Exam or report on their technical development activities during the CM cycle using a CMW. Most Diplomates choose to maintain their certification by submitting a CMW which demonstrates that the recertification requirements have been achieved. The most current CMW forms are published in the ABIH Document Library.

During each cycle, Diplomates are responsible to plan and track their own professional development activities that are IH-related and fall within the CM program Categories of Active Practice, Professional Committees, Publications, Education, Teaching/Presenting and Approved Other Activities. In addition to IH-related topics, safety and ethics education is allowed in Category 4 (Education).

If a Diplomate has a question about an activity’s eligibility or its CM credit value, see the CM Program Categories or contact ABIH. 

For each entry on the CMW, Diplomates should retain a proof-of-participation record that meets the ABIH expectations for an impartial, objective record. See the "Records" section of each CM Category for a list of acceptable proof-of-participation records. If the CMW is audited, the Diplomate will be asked to provide the record. CMW entries without a supporting record will be disallowed.

Hardship Help is available if a Diplomate is unable to earn CM credit during the CM cycle. If a Diplomate meets the approval criteria, it can mean a 6 month Cycle Extension or a reduction in the recertification requirements (i.e. Leave of Absence program).

For those Diplomates who no longer need their ABIH certification, the Voluntary Surrender option is the best approach because it allows a Diplomate to more easily pursue Reactivation.

Useful Resources - Get started or get refreshed with these key resources: