I can respond regarding CHO positions & certification. The requirements to be eligible for the certification exam are not extensive; we require 12 credits in chemistry and one year of laboratory safety experience. The experience requirement does not require that she be employed specifically in a lab safety (IH or CHO) position; experience can come from serving on a safety committee or handling safety-related responsibilities as part of other duties. However, the exam is quite challenging for those without significant experience, so I would suggest attending workshops & seminars and additional study. There are a number of good references, including Prudent Practices in the Laboratory, Laboratory Safety for Students, and the Handbook of Chemical Health & Safety. Certainly there are a number of DCHAS members who have had successful careers in the lab safety field, and I would venture most, like your Wittenberg graduate, had other plans initially. It is not too late for her to get started! I will be glad to answer any questions she might have.
I wouldn’t discourage her from looking at industrial hygiene as a career choice, either, though that does require more schooling. I’m sure Harry Elston can fill her in on the requirements for the CIH.
Russ Phifer, Executive Director
National Registry of Certified Chemists
125 Rose Ann Lane
West Grove, Pennsylvania 19390
One of the joys of being a teacher is hearing from a former student who is making their way in the world. I was recently contacted by a 2010 Wittenberg graduate with the following query:
I am currently working as a Lab Manager at a small company. Working here I have come to realize I like the knowing, researching, and implementing the safety measures in the lab, and that I would like to do more of that. I am thinking that I would like to pursue a career in the safety field as an Industrial Hygienist and/or a Chemical Hygiene Officer. I know that to be an Industrial Hygienist or a Chemical Hygiene Officer one needs to be certified and the steps for that are laid out in multiple places, but I'm having some issues finding information on how I could start down this path. Is it a re-education, or a few classes I can take while working, getting lucky and finding the right job? I have also seen some references to an apprentice program, but I'm not sure if it is real or not or required. So my real question, can you please advise on the appropriate education and steps I would need to explore to become an Industrial Hygienist or Chemical Hygiene Officer?
I’d be happy to collect responses from the group and forward them to her.
Thanks, in advance.
David C. Finster
Professor, Department of Chemistry
University Chemical Hygiene Officer
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