IHMM Today

Valuing Certifications

As the business world becomes more complex and specialized, the demand for individuals with industry-recognized credentials will continue to intensify. Corporate governance reforms, an increasingly global business environment and rapidly changing technologies have fueled the need for professionals with advanced skills and up-to-date knowledge.

Companies value professionals who proactively seek opportunities to develop their skills and expertise. One of the best ways for individuals to demonstrate their commitment to career growth is by pursuing recognized certifications. Is it worth it? The eligibility requirements are tough.  Preparation can be a lot of work. The examination can be hard. Everyone has a different reason for pursuing a voluntary certification, e.g., peer recognition, personal satisfaction, job placement or advancement, market value, higher salaries. For some, the rewards are immediate and outward; for others, the rewards are intrinsic.

Six organizations within the environment, health and safety professions collaborated to conduct a salary survey to find our how certification enhances salary potential. The six organizations were the American Board of Industrial Hygiene (ABIH), Alliance of Hazardous Materials Professionals (AHMP), American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA), American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE), the Board of Certified Safety Professionals (BCSP) and the Institute of Hazardous Materials Management (IHMM). Data for the survey was collected from March 26 to April 7, 2015, and the survey was closed for tabulation with 9,258 responses. Each organization was requested to provide certificant/member lists and through a series of teleconferences oversaw the project. Staff management of the project was provided by BCSP. 

The results were favorable. Earning accredited credentials can provide numerous benefits, including improved career prospects and enhanced earning power. According to the salary survey the results indicate that the median annual base salary of individuals holding at least one credential is $98,000, about 18 percent greater than the median annual base salary of survey respondents who held no certification;  $83,000. Furthermore, when years of experience are taken into account, salaries are approximately 12 percent higher for credential holders with 5 to 14 years’ experience than for non-credential holders with the same length of experience. And finally, when salary survey respondents were asked why they pursued certification, 56 percent said it was part of their career plan.

Results from the survey clearly indicate a growing recognition of the value of credentials for hazardous material professionals, and the reward that comes from proving your value with an accredited hazardous materials certification.