Ergonomics Credentials are Like Alphabet Soup
These days ergonomic credentials are like a bowl of alphabet soup leading to lots of confusion for buyers of ergonomics services and those seeking to uplevel their career with ergonomics. There are many credentials available in the ergonomics training marketplace. Understanding the various ergonomics credentials helps to understand the education, training, and experiences impacting the quality of service provided, the fees charged and the results the buyer or employer will achieve.
Ergonomics Services Popularity on the Rise
The last 20 years have accelerated the need for ergonomics in the workplace influenced by the following:
- The focus on diversity, equality, and inclusion
- Automation and artificial intelligence, robotics
- The change in how we work (remote, hybrid, flexible) post-pandemic
- The push for better health, well-being, and wellness in the workplace,
- Sit-to-stand trends in the office
- Other legislative changes supporting an individual’s ability to work in comfort
Many people perceive (office) ergonomics as something “easy” to do as a startup business or an add-on service. However, learning ergonomics and applying it to help others at work and in organizations is a professional career path that requires substantial education and training.
Matching the right ergonomics professional to an organization's needs is critical to assure a successful outcome when designing a new technical process such as an assembly line or production area, setting up an ergonomics process, integrating ergonomics into facility planning, analyzing a manufacturing line, or returning an injured worker with a medical condition back to work.
Employers need to be sure they engage with a certified professional ergonomics consultant who can provide them with the appropriate evaluation and solutions for the desired results.
What Professions Pursue Ergonomics as an Adjunct to their Career?
When it comes to ergonomics service providers, employers and insurers should understand the many credentials ergonomic specialists put after their name. There are vast differences in the ergonomics certificates and certifications offered in today’s marketplace resulting in significant differences in skills, experience, knowledge, and expertise.
Aside from hiring a bonafide Board Certified Professional Ergonomist (CPE), Certified Human Factors Professional (CHFP), or Certified Industrial Ergonomist (CIE), many ergonomics service providers have additional credentials or expertise. Your ergonomics specialist could also be a:
- Physical or Occupational Therapist
- Loss control agent
- Local furniture vendor
- Occupational Health Nurse
- Administrative Assistant
- Facilities Manager
- Safety (EH&S) Manager
- Industrial Hygienist
- Office Supply Store Representative
- Ergonomic Product Salesman
Clear Up the Credential Confusion
With so many people interested in advancing their careers in the science of ergonomics, it’s time to clear up all the confusion. Aside from earning a master's degree in Human Factors and Ergonomics, there is no state or national licensing body currently to credential Ergonomists. Only nationally recognized board certification organizations (non-profit) or privately held, “for-profit” organizations offer certificates. And there is a vast difference between ergonomics certificates vs. ergonomics certifications.
What do all the credentials mean?
Here is a list of the most popular credentials you might see after your ergonomics specialist's name. The list includes both national board-recognized and private business credentials. We have listed the most common credentials awarded in the ergonomics training marketplace. The list does not include relevant university degrees and focuses primarily on those offered in the United States.
National Board Certification Credentials
CPE- Certified Professional Ergonomist
CHFP- Certified Human Factors Professional
AEP- Associate Ergonomics Professional
CIE- Certified Industrial Ergonomist
CAE- Certified Associate Ergonomist
Private Business Certificate Credentials
CEPL-Certified Ergonomics Process Leader
COESp- Certified Office Ergonomics Specialist
CRESp- Certified Remote Ergonomics Specialist
CASp- Certified Chair Assessment Specialist
COEE- Certified Office Ergonomics Evaluator
CEES- Certified Ergonomics Evaluator Specialist
CEAS- Certified Ergonomics Assessment Specialist
AOEAS- Advanced Office Ergonomics Assessment Specialist
CBES- Certified Behavioral Ergonomics Specialist
To learn more about the hierarchy of these credentials in the maze of the ergonomics training marketplace, see our recent blog on the most popular courses and the credentials offered. To learn more about the value of up-leveling your career as a Certified Ergonomics Specialist, register for our upcoming seminar.