Degrees of Difference: Professional Certifications and Academic Credentials

Professional certifications aren’t always as easily identified or understood. Beyond academic degrees, certifications are indications that professionals are accredited in their knowledge areas by an organization qualified to assess the men and women who work in their field. When professionals in any field have earned both the academic and professional credentials, they demonstrate mastery of both the foundational and contextual knowledge of their career and the day-to-day know-how their clients can trust.

When you see Ph.D. or J.D. behind someone’s name, you understand that the former has a doctorate of philosophy from an accredited university or college, and that he or she spent many years dedicated to specialized research and inquiry. He or she probably wrote a book-length dissertation on a topic in his field, and has likely been published in addition to that. The J.D., or juris doctor, is a doctoral degree in the legal field, and it’s well known to most of us how rigorous and difficult earning a law degree can be.

Many people know what CPA means on their accountant’s business card—certified public accountant. But do you know what these certifications, held by CTEH professionals, are?







These certifications are all represented on the CTEH team. They represent hundreds, sometimes thousands, of hours of experience, study and examination. For example:

photoCIH: Certified Industrial Hygienist. According to the American Board of Industrial Hygiene(ABIH), a professional with this certification has met education and experience standards and passed a test demonstrating knowledge in a range of areas, including analytical chemistry, ergonomics and biostatistics and epidemiology. The CIH certification test is a rigorous process. According to ABIH, the average test pass rate is 41.8%, including first time and repeats.

“The CIH is the gold standard for the Industrial Hygiene profession. It sets the bar for knowledge, practical experience and education of practitioners,” Dan Christensen, CTEH Director of Industrial Hygiene. CTEH has eight CIH professionals with extensive health and safety backgrounds stemming from the US Coast Guard, emergency response, mining, toxicology, manufacturing, and petroleum industries.

What do the other certifications in the alphabet soup list above mean? Check out our next post to find out.