Editor’s Comments: You Owe This to Yourself

July 1, 2010

At conferences, at work sites, and in random conversations with people in our field, I often hear people express an intention to apply and take the exam for one of the several professional certifications that are available. This year at StormCon, which will take place August 1-5 in San Antonio, TX, several certification review courses and exams will be offered.

Thousands of people have now achieved the CPESC (Certified Professional in Erosion and Sediment Control) designation; it’s been around for many years, is well recognized, and has credibility both within the profession and also with those outside the ESC industry that we deal with. It’s encouraging that the certification has achieved critical mass and has become a force within the industry. Rather than having to explain what the letters after your name mean-as, years ago, you may have found yourself doing to people who were unfamiliar with it-you might today be more likely to find people saying they hope one day to have that same

But the field is expanding and becoming more specialized, and more certifications are available today to meet specific requirements and needs. EnviroCert International Inc., the organization that administers CPESC, oversees several of these. The Certified Professional in Storm Water Quality (CPSWQ) program was developed in 1998; it was once available only to people who had already obtained the CPESC designation, but now is also open to those who don’t necessarily have the CPESC. The CPSWQ exam-and the review course that precedes it-covers such topics as hydrology, environmental indicators, impacts of urbanization, and federal and state laws and regulations.

Inspection of job sites to ensure that ESC and stormwater controls are in place and properly maintained is a cornerstone of enforcement, and specific designations are now available just for inspectors. One of these, also administered by EnviroCert, is Certified Erosion, Sediment, and Storm Water Inspector (CESSWI), and another, launched in 2005 and administered by CISEC Inc., is the Certified Inspector of Sediment and Erosion Control (CISEC). Exams for both of these, as well as CESSWI review session and CISEC training modules, will be offered at StormCon. You can see descriptions of both programs-and find links to their respective Web sites, which contain more detail-at www.stormcon.com.

Also at the conference, the American Public Works Certified Stormwater Manager (CSM) exam will be offered. It’s intended for people in the public and private sectors who administer drainage, flood control, and water-quality programs.

To take the exams, you need prior approval from the organization that administers the certification; details and deadlines are available on the StormCon site. As part of the application process, you’ll supply details of your work history and education and perhaps professional references, and it takes time to review and approve that information. Some people put off the application process just for this reason-it seems like a lot of trouble to put together all the material-but in fact this is one of the strengths of these certifications: The organizations that administer them are ensuring that truly qualified people earn the letters that go after their names, and the reputations of those people in turn help to strengthen and give credibility to the certification programs.

However, even if you haven’t applied or aren’t ready to take the exam itself, you can attend the review sessions or training modules that precede the exams. They are taught by experts in the field; you can see the names and bios of the individual instructors for each of the sessions online. If you’ve been thinking about applying for certification but aren’t sure what’s involved, or if you’re curious about areas you might need to brush up on before taking the exam itself, the review sessions and training modules are the ideal way to get your feet wet and start the process.

About the Author

Janice Kaspersen

Janice Kaspersen is the former editor of Erosion Control and Stormwater magazines.