I am thrilled to announce that I became certified as a Qualified Environmental Professional (QEP) this March. If you’re like most of the friends, family, and colleagues I’ve told, your response is probably “Congratulations!”
But you’re probably also wondering “What is a QEP?”
The QEP is a multi-disciplinary, board-certified credential for environmental professionals. I often compare it to the PE (Professional Engineer), although a notable difference is that it is not a license granted by the state, but rather is administered by the Institute of Professional Environmental Practice (IPEP). The QEP designation shows that a professional is accomplished in the field, committed to excellence in applied environmental science, and adheres to a strict code of ethics. Environmental professionals without the required work experience can apply and take the examination to become an Environmental Professional Intern (EPI).
Traditionally, many QEPs have been employed in more traditional environmental roles, focused on waste, water, and air pollution and prevention, but the certification can also be an important way for a sustainability professional to distinguish oneself.
While my work at PEC as the Program Manager of Sustainability often ranges from policy to finance and communications, it’s important to me to maintain my solid foundation in environmental science. It is PEC’s dedication to science-based decision making that has led it to be so well-respected by policy makers and business leaders, and what makes it such a good fit for my personal environmental ethic.
While IPEP is an international organization with 1,500 certified professionals across 20 countries, it has its roots in Pittsburgh. The Air & Waste Management Association (AWMA), headquartered in Pittsburgh, recognized the need for a broad-based credential for the environmental profession in the early ‘90s. IPEP was subsequently formed as the independent, not-for-profit certifying organization in 1993. Its offices are currently based out of Duquesne University in Pittsburgh.
Fun fact: PEC’s former President (and long-time board member) Paul King helped to found IPEP and previously served as its Executive Director. It was through Paul’s encouragement that I joined the IPEP board in 2012 as the EPI representative.
If you’re interested in learning more about the credential, check out www.ipep.org or feel free to contact me.