A Certified Industrial Hygienist (CIH) is an individual who has met the minimum requirements for education and experience, and through examination, has demonstrated a minimum level of knowledge and skills in the following rubric (subject matter) areas:
- Air Sampling & Instrumentation
- Analytical Chemistry
- Basic Science
- Biostatistics & Epidemiology
- Community Exposure
- Engineering Controls/Ventilation
- Health Risk Analysis & Hazard Communication
- IH Program Management
- Non-Engineering Controls
- Radiation – Ionizing and Non-ionizing
- Thermal Stressors
- Work Environments & Industrial Processes
As the industrial hygiene profession itself continued to evolve, it was believed that more people were doing industrial hygiene-like work but would otherwise be unable to qualify for the CIH due to some aspect of their education or experiences. These individuals were still making valuable contributions to the prevention of occupational and non-occupational illnesses. It was felt that professional certification would improve recognition of their contributions by management, employees and the public.
From 2001-2006, ABIH offered the Certified Associate Industrial Hygienist (CAIH) program to meet this perceived need. The certification process for the CAIH was similar as that for the CIH except that the qualifications for education, experience and examination were less stringent,
targeted for those who had less science education; were in narrow scope (specialty) roles; or, were spending less time in an industrial hygiene role (due to multi-disciplinary roles). The CAIH examination itself was different from the CIH, with more emphasis on recognition and evaluation, and fewer questions on program management. The examination differences were based on the Role Delineation/Task Analyses done for both the CIH and CAIH job descriptions.
The Board discontinued the CAIH examination in 2006 because there was low demand from potential candidates. The CAIH designation is still recognized and supported by ABIH through its certification maintenance program. Many practicing CAIHs have chosen to maintain their certification through on-going education (i.e. certification maintenance), recognizing the value of the ABIH mark of certification.
Once the CIH or CAIH credential is obtained, the Diplomate can apply their knowledge in many different situations, some broad scope and comprehensive, some narrow scope as the person specializes. The domains of practice often differ and change many times during the course of a career. Thus, ABIH places no restrictions or qualifications on the career paths of a CIH or CAIH as long as the person meets the on-going requirements in the certification maintenance program (described below) and adheres to the professional, enforceable Code of Ethics .