Answers courtesy of Kris Rightmire, Executive Administrator BCPE (note: some answers have been edited for brevity)
Q: What is the goal of BCPE’s certification?
A: Our goal is to provide a certification process that enables individuals to demonstrate their knowledge, skills, and experience in ergonomics to employers, clients, and peers. In doing so, BCPE certification has also helped increase visibility and build credibility with those in the marketplace seeking assistance with ergonomics or who are looking for an ergonomics professional.
Q: What makes BCPE’s program different than other certifying programs?
A: BCPE offers the oldest, most well-established certification program available to ergonomists [BCPE certification began in 1992]. BCPE has certificate holders in 22 countries and is known throughout the international ergonomics community. In addition, BCPE is a member of the National Organization for Competency Assurance (NOCA) and abides by the policies and procedures set forth by NOCA for maintaining a quality certification program. Furthermore, in September 2000, BCPE had the privilege of being the first certification organization to receive endorsement of its certification program by the International Ergonomics Association (IEA). Presently, only one other certification organization shares this honor, the Board for Certification of New Zealand Ergonomists.
Q: For whom is BCPE’s certification appropriate?
A: BCPE certification is appropriate for anyone practicing ergonomics in one of the many different domains in which ergonomics is employed (e.g., product design, industrial ergonomics, human computer interface design, aerospace human factors engineering, etc.), who meets the requirements for certification, would like to be recognized for having an advanced level of ergonomics knowledge and expertise, and would benefit from being certified. Benefits reported by BCPE certificate holders in a recent survey include enhanced job opportunities and security (since certification is being requested or required by more employers and in more government contracts), increased pay, promotion, and/or the personal satisfaction of having successfully completed the certification process.
Q: How do BCPE-certified ergonomists keep their certificates current?
A: Certification maintenance presently involves payment of an annual maintenance fee. However, a recertification program will be launched in 2005. This program will require certificate holders to demonstrate continued practice in ergonomics, as well as other involvement in the profession such as service on ergonomics-related committees and standards development activities, attendance at ergonomics-related professional meetings, etc.
Q: What other types of products/certifications does BCPE participate in?
A: In keeping with the goal of certification, which is to validate a person?s qualifications in a specific field of practice, we believe our mission is to provide a quality certification process. In addition to our well recognized CPE [Certified Professional Ergonomist] and CHFP [Certified Human Factors Professional] program (same certification, two different credentials to choose from), we provide certification as a CEA [Certified Ergonomics Associate], as well as offer an interim category of certification for those individuals who meet the educational requirement for CPE/CHFP certification, but have not yet accumulated the required years of work experience. These individuals can be credentialed as an AEP [Associate Ergonomics Professional] or AHFP [Associate Human Factors Professional].
This article originally appeared in The Ergonomics Report™ on 2004-02-01.