Sunday, April 26, 2009

FIRESIDE CHAT: Three Decades of the CEP Credential and Environmental Professional Certification (b)


The CEP Credential

To validate senior environmental professionals, the CEP credential (CEP, for Certified Environmental Professional) was instituted by the National Association of Environmental Professionals (NAEP), a membership organization that was founded in 1975. By 1976 NAEP had 400 members (on its way to upwards of 3,000), and by 1978 a Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice that in later years gained recognition (in Federal Court) for the environmental professions generally, that is, among environmental professionals, whether or not they were CEPs or members of NAEP.

NAEP instituted its Environmental Certification Program, conferring the CEP credential, in 1979, and appointed Sherman J. Rosen as the first Certification Review Board (CRB) Chairperson. Charles F. (‘Chuck’) Zirzow succeeded Sherm Rosen in 1986. I succeeded Chuck Zirzow in 1993.

The Certification Program could not remain within NAEP. An antitrust case in Federal court established the precedent that certifying organizations must serve entire professions, not just members of a particular professional organization. Although NAEP had ceased requiring membership for CEP candidates, the Certification Program also had to become administratively independent of its parent membership organization in all matters involving certification. Ultimately, NAEP divested itself of the Certification Program, in 1993 forming ABCEP, which substantially adopted NAEP’s Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice. In 1999 NAEP incorporated ABCEP as a separate, 501(c)(6) not-for-profit corporation (see Fig. 1 for a timeline of events relating to the CEP credential).

ABCEP By-Laws define these purposes:

(1) to periodically evaluate professional standards to which environmental professionals should adhere,
(2) to maintain a certification credential for meritorious environmental professionals,
(3) to evaluate candidates applying for certification,
(4) to bestow upon candidates found to be meritorious relative to applicable professional standards
the status of Certified Environmental Professional (CEP),
(5) to maintain and enhance the credibility of the CEP credential,
(6) to render the CEP credential available to qualified environmental professionals by all means
consistent with the Academy’s Bylaws; and
(7) to do everything necessary, proper advisable, or convenient for the accomplishment of the Academy’s
purposes and objectives and to do all other things incidental to them or connected to them that are
not otherwise forbidden.


or see:
Michaels, Robert A. Three decades of the CEP credential and environmental professional certification. Environmental Practice (Cambridge University Press), 11(1):52-56, March 2009

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