The QEP (Qualified Environmental Professional) is the first and only credential of its kind. It is a multi-media, multi-disciplinary, board-certified credential, which requires environmental professionals to see “the big picture” and to have the skills and knowledge to solve “real world problems.” The QEP credential is international. The examination contains no questions related to policies or regulations specific to any particular country. Through QEP certification, environmental professionals demonstrate the breadth and depth of their knowledge and experience. They also agree to abide by IPEP’s Code of Ethics.
The QEP is distinguished from other certifications by its cross-disciplinary nature, its qualifying education prerequisites, its continuing education requirement for recertification, and by its rigorous application and examination process. The QEP evaluates the environmental professional by establishing a professional standard and by providing a career track for new professionals entering the field. It does not take the place of specialized certifications or registrations, but rather is a unique credential, which serves to link and coordinate environmental fields.
The QEP is committed to:
- A strict code of ethics
- High standards of environmental practice
- Ongoing professional development
- Contributing to community and professional development
The QEP has demonstrated:
- Ability to solve complex environmental problems
- Awareness of multi-media impacts
- Broad based, multi-disciplinary understanding of environmental issues
- In-depth knowledge in his/her area of professional practice
IPEP offers two options for QEP examination. A 90-minute oral exam is available for those candidates with at least 15 years of professional experience. There is also a two-part written exam for those candidates with more than 5 years, but less than 15 years of professional experience. The written exam tests candidates’ knowledge of general environmental science as well as their knowledge in a specialty discipline of their choosing. Specialty exam choices include: Air Quality, Water Quality, Waste Management, or Environmental Science Management and Policy. Find more information about written and oral exams here.
Requirements to Apply
Minimum requirements to apply for admission into the QEP written exam process are a baccalaureate or equivalent degree in physical, earth or natural sciences, engineering, or mathematics and five subsequent years of professional environmental work experience, or eight subsequent years of professional environmental work experience with a degree in a discipline other than those listed above. Minimum requirements for oral examination are a baccalaureate degree and 15 subsequent years of professional environmental work experience acceptable to IPEP, and at least one reference from a QEP on the form provided in the application. The candidate must also demonstrate that a minimum of 10 of the qualifying years of work experience was in a position of responsible charge. (General definition of the term “responsible charge” refers to a leadership role or position of influence held in direct relationship to work assignments, job responsibilities, and to key roles in the projects or program assigned.)
An applicant must be approved by IPEP’s Admissions Committee to be admitted in the examination process. The written examination process for the QEP consists of two parts:
Part I The General Environmental Science Exam
Part II A Specific Practice Area Exam chosen from one of the following areas:
- Air Quality
- Water Quality
- Waste Management
- Environment Science, Management, and Policy
Each part takes up to three hours to complete and consists of approximately 100 multiple-choice questions. Both exams are international in scope and contain no regulations specific to any country. The focus is on technical environmental science.
Upon notice of approval to be admitted into the QEP examination, a candidate will then submit an examination fee of US$150.00 and contact his/her QEP Regional Coordinator to schedule the exam. Approved candidates have 12 months from notification of approval to take the exam to having to sit for the exam. The outline of that exam is contained within this guide.
Candidates who have passed both parts of the exam and who have met all of the requirements for full QEP certification will be formally confirmed as QEPs by IPEP’s Board of Trustees and issued a certificate. An annual renewal fee of US$150.00, with the first year’s fee prorated, is required to maintain QEP certification. The names of all current QEPs will be published in IPEP’s annual Roster.
A QEP is required to maintain the QEP certificate by paying an annual renewal fee of US$150.00. Every five years the QEP must apply for recertification. Recertification requires the individual to complete a recertification application and submit documentation of ongoing professional development and involvement in the field as per IPEP’s recertification guidelines. IPEP guidelines on recertification are available. There is no fee for the five-year recertification process if completed on time. A $40 USD late fee applies to late recertifications. Find more information about recertification here.