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Credentialing through NEHA: what it is and why you should seek it.

NEHA was founded on the premise that there should be a standard of practice in the field of environmental health. In 1937 a group of sanitarians in California began the process of developing that standard of practice. The standard is now known as the Registered Environmental Health Specialist/Registered Sanitarian (R.E.H.S./R.S.) national certification examination. In the meantime, NEHA has grown and offers a variety of services to the environmental health community. NEHA's credentialing department has also grown, offering eight national certification programs, and is in the process of developing its ninth.

The R.E.H.S./R.S. exam is NEHA's premier certification program. NEHA also offers the Certified Food Safety Professional (C.F.S.P.) credential, the Certified Environmental Health Technician (C.E.H.T.) credential, the registered Environmental Technician (R.E.T.) credential, the Registered Hazardous Substances Professional (R.H.S.P.) credential, the Registered Hazardous Substances Specialist (R.H.S.S.), and two radon certifications offered under the banner of the National Environmental Health Association-National Radon Proficiency Program (NEHA-NRPP). NEHA is currently developing an Onsite Wastewater Installer certification examination, which is expected to be ready this spring.

For each certification, a candidate must meet certain requirements of academic and work experience in order to be found eligible to take the examination. The eligibility requirements define a minimum standard in the field of practice that must be met by a potential candidate. To achieve a national certification on top of that standard is certainly an accomplishment. That's why anyone who successfully obtains a national certification is promoting a high standard for his or her field of practice. The credential fosters recognition and respect for the credentialed individual. It also provides the employer and the community with a greater level of confidence in the individual's work.

NEHA prides itself on offering sound, valid certifications in the field of environmental health. In August 2005, we began working with the test vendor Environmental Health Testing, LLC (EHT). EHT has developed and administers the accredited Certified Food Manager Certification under the aegis of the National Registry of Food Safety Professionals (NRFSP).

NEHA is also committed to offering credentials that reflect current practices in the field. The top priority of NEHA and EHT is to update the R.E.H.S./R.S. and C.F.S.P. examinations by revalidating the current exam content outlines for each, as well as by developing new examination questions. NEHA will also be updating the study manuals that accompany these examinations. It is anticipated that the new forms of the exams and study guides will be available by the end of March 2006. Updating the examinations is a massive undertaking and will involve several meetings with groups of volunteer subject matter experts.

It is also a high priority to make these certifications as accessible as possible while maintaining a secure testing environment. NEHA now offers the R.E.H.S./R.S. and C.F.S.P. exams on computer through LaserGrade Testing Centers. Candidates can opt to take the exams at one of LaserGrade's testing facilities at their own scheduling convenience and receive their score the same day. There are over 1,000 testing centers nationwide, making it a very accessible option for taking one of these exams.

With all of these updates and enhancements to our credentials, we at the NEHA Credentialing Department have our work cut out for us over the next few months. In 2006, NEHA also will be automating the continuing-education submission process and move to an audit system for continuing education. Please look for upcoming changes and announcements on the NEHA Credentialing Web page at www.neha.org/credentialing/htm.

If you have questions about any of the changes mentioned, or if you would like to participate as a subject matter expert for the updating and development projects, please feel free to contact Credentialing Coordinator Heidi Shaw at (303) 756-9090, extension 339, or at hshaw@neha.org.
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Title Annotation:National Environmental Health Association
Publication:Journal of Environmental Health
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 1, 2006
Words:662
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