Exam Administration & FAQ

Exam Administration

All policies and procedures for certification, and for the administering of the EPI exam, are the same as those adopted by IPEP for the QEP. The QEP and EPI exams are scheduled through individual QEP Regional Coordinators. Exams are given on an as-needed basis throughout the year. The specifics regarding the exact date, time and location for a candidate’s exam are decided by the candidate and the Regional Coordinator once the candidate has been approved to be admitted into the QEP or EPI exam process. Exams are given worldwide, on an individual basis in locations convenient for the Regional Coordinator and candidate. The passing scores for all of IPEP’s exams are determined by IPEP’s Board of Trustees.

Scores are reported generally 6-8 weeks after exam sheets are received by the IPEP office. Individuals passing the EPI exam are given the designation of “Environmental Professional In-Training” (EPI) and will receive a certificate conferring this status. Individuals who are unsuccessful in obtaining a passing score will be granted an additional two years to re-take the examination without penalty.

Individuals who are unsuccessful in obtaining a passing score on both attempts may repeat an examination no sooner than 10 months after the second failure to pass the written examination, and no sooner than 22 months after each subsequent failure. A candidate who fails an examination twice must submit a new application and filing fee and must submit evidence of additional professional education and/or training before being able to be re-tested again.

Candidates have one year to take the exam after IPEP’s Admissions Committee approves their applications


What are the benefits of the QEP certification?

The QEP certification confirms that you have demonstrated a broad understanding of the environment and environmental issues through successfully completing a rigorous application and examination process.

Earning a QEP certification signals a strong commitment to excellence in applied environmental science and adherence to a strict code of ethics.

The depth and breadth of knowledge confirmed by the distinction of being a QEP also increases your marketability.

Is there any way to network with other QEP’s and EPI’s?

Absolutely! QEP and EPI credential holders belong to a group of highly skilled environmental professionals. A roster of QEPs and EPIs, published annually by IPEP, increases the visibility of this elite group among peers and other professional contacts. Many of our members are part of our LinkedIn networking group online. Sign up and enjoy discussions with your peers.

IPEP’s Board and committee structure, comprised of QEPs and EPIs, works on issues related to maintaining high standards of practice in today’s professional environmental arena.

IPEP also conducts an annual business meeting and regional meetings to provide additional forums for technical exchange and professional networking.

What does the QEP examination entail?

The exam is international in scope and contains no questions on legislation or regulations, but focuses on technical environmental science.

The written exam is a two-part, six hour, multiple choice exam. All candidates take Part I, a General Environmental Science Exam. For Part II, each candidate must choose one of four Practice Areas in which to be examined further: Air Quality, Water Quality, Waste Management, or Environmental Science, Management & Policy. Find more information about the written exam here.

Who is eligible?

Both oral and written exam candidates are required to complete an IPEP application, which documents education and work history. A candidate’s application must be approved by IPEP’s Admissions Committee in order to be admitted into the examination process.

Minimum written exam requirements are either: 1) a baccalaureate or equivalent degree in physical, earth or natural sciences, engineering, or mathematics, and 5 subsequent years of professional environmental work experience, or 2) a baccalaureate degree in a discipline other than those listed above and 8 subsequent years of professional environmental work experience.

Is there an entry level program for graduates or those just entering the field?

Yes. The Environmental Professional In-Training (EPI) certification is an entry level certification that targets those about to graduate, or professionals who have entered the field within the last five years. EPI candidates are required to pass the written General Environmental Science Exam (Part I). EPI’s have the opportunity of being assigned a QEP as a mentor to assist in career guidance.

How long does the application process take ?

Once IPEP has received your completed application, application fee payment, and all three references, your application will be forwarded to the Admissions Committee of IPEP for review. That committee will make a recommendation, based on the information you furnish, as to whether you meet the minimum qualifications to be admitted to either the QEP or the EPI examination process.

From the date that your application is found to be complete it generally takes four to six weeks for the Admissions Committee to complete the review.
IPEP Applications

How do I receive my score ?

Your QEP/EPI exam results will usually be forwarded to you by first class mail within sixty days of the testing date. These results are, of course, confidential.

What do I have to do to maintain my certification?

To maintain your QEP certification, you must pay the annual renewal fees and apply for recertification once every five years. Recertification requires submission of evidence of continuing professional development and participation in professional activities.

When and where are the exams given?

Exams are given throughout the world and are administered through a system of regional coordinators (RC) on an as needed basis. This allows busy professional to schedule an exam when it is convenient. The RC contact information is available once applicants are approved by the Admissions Committee for examination.

How do you prepare for the written exam and what does the exam cover?

IPEP publishes a free examination guide outlining the subject material to assist individuals preparing for the written exam. Air & Waste Management Association (A&WMA) offers some useful information at  www.awma.org , as well as EPR study guides for purchase.  Find more information about exam preparation here.

What materials should I bring to the written exam ?

You will need two soft-leaded #2 pencils that are sharpened and have erasers. Extra pencils are recommended. Only non-programmable calculators which are silent, battery-operated, and do not have a full alphabetic keyboard are permitted. Scratch paper is prohibited, but writing on the test booklet itself is allowed. Please fill in the answer circles completely so the machine can accurately score your test. It is to your advantage to answer all questions to the best of your ability, even if you have to guess on a few. A blank question has the same weight as an incorrect answer on the test.

What if I do not get a passing score on the examination?

Approved applicants who pay the examination fee are granted two opportunities to sit for the QEP or EPI examination. The initial attempt must occur within one year following approval. If the QEP/EPI candidate does not receive a passing score on the first attempt, the candidate may retake the examination within an additional two years (a total of three years from the original approval date) after paying a $60 retake fee.

If a candidate does not receive a passing score on the second attempt, re-application, resubmission of the examination fee, and demonstration of additional competence is necessary to take the test again.