How is the test administered? What happens once the application has been submitted?
The exam is a self-proctored, open-book, take-home examination, so you can take the examination at any location convenient to you. When you have finished your essays and completed the other parts of the application package, you submit the responses electronically - via e-mail - to the Academy for review.
When we have a complete application, it is sent to the Chairperson of the Certification Review Board who selects seven peer professionals to review your application and grade the test. One of the seven is the lead reviewer. The panel members read the materials and make recommendations to the lead reviewer. Panel members also may suggest certain questions to be asked during the interview. An interview is held generally over the telephone. The lead reviewer then recommends to the chair whether the candidate has passed and met the requirements to be a CEP. The chair conducts a final review of the documentation and the applicant is informed of the decision. Because the panel members are volunteers, the review process typically takes 2-3 months. Should a candidate not meet the requirements of a CEP due to limited years of experience, they are encouraged to apply or re-apply as a CEP-In Training (CEP-IT).What is covered in the CEP examination?
The examination is a series of essay questions. While you have great flexibility in selecting which of the questions you will answer, keep in mind that you are seeking to demonstrate that you have the knowledge, skills and abilities (KSAs) of a senior environmental professional. The essay responses are similar to college admission essays, and should convince us why you should be a CEP by demonstrating your experiences and career growth with examples from your career that demonstrate KSAs. Note that the essay questions are intended to be a starting point to demonstrate your experience and are not expected to be simply answered. If you are still unsure of the expected KSAs, contact the Academy and we direct you to an Applicant Navigator.
In writing your answers, please keep the following in mind: Your goal is to demonstrate that you have a mastery of the core technical principles in the environmental profession. Also show that you have knowledge of how to utilize data, information sources and emerging research to support decision making in the context of regulatory and scientific uncertainty. Write clearly – a professional must have a mastery of reasoning and presentation skills so that he/she can communicate with colleagues and the non-technical public effectively, with credibility and persuasiveness, both orally and in writing. Please copy the question to the top of your essay answer so the review panel is sure of which question is being answered. The essays are numbered…it is requested that the essay question be included at the top of the essay responses to help facilitate review by ABCEP.
Applicants will be asked to answer three questions within only your requested area of certification, along with Questions 1 and 2, which are the same for each certification area.
Applicants are not required to select a functional area; and if an applicant selects not to designate a functional area, they can select to respond to three essay questions from any
of the six functional area categories but still must answer the mandatory Questions 1 and 2.
The maximum allowable length for each essay is four pages. Members of the Certification Review Board will not know you, so they must make a judgment based on three things -- your knowledge (as demonstrated by you in the essays), your background (as described by you in your application) and your qualifications (as described in statements made by your references). Therefore, these letters of reference are an important part of the review.If you are interested in the CEP-IT you do not need to submit any essays as part of the CEP-IT application process.If you are interested in the CEP by Eminence you do not need to submit responses to the standard essays, but you will be asked to provide a response to a specific essay question that will be provided to you.How was the examination process developed and how is it validated?
The certification program operates on the basis of peer review, similar to that of other evaluation systems such as the American jury system and the systems in the US and abroad for evaluating research proposals, scientific manuscripts, and applications for academic appointments or tenure. The examination has been successfully applied for 40 years, and the CEP credential has been recognized by courts around the country as a valid credential for senior professionals in the environmental field. ABCEP is a member of the Council of Engineering and Scientific Specialty Boards, which provides accrediting for engineering, science and technology certification programs.Why would someone not be certified?
About 15-20% of applications are rejected each year. The majority of candidates are rejected because their responses on the essay examination are inadequate, meaning that they barely answer the question posed without the applicant providing a robust, thoughtful, and thorough answer with real life experience. A typically acceptable answer is two to four pages. All submittals must be no greater than four pages.
Another common reason for denial is insufficient senior environmental professional experience, called Responsible Charge / Responsible Supervision. The CEP is the credential for mid and senior environmental professionals, and it is only awarded to individuals who have at least five years of Responsible Charge / Responsible Supervision. The Responsible Charge/Supervision must be for environmental professional activities.
While less common, some candidates are rejected due to inadequate education. A bachelor’s degree in an environmental-related program from a recognized college or university is required. If you have a non-traditional education or non-US based college degree, please contact the ABCEP Office prior to submitting your application. What does a "senior environmental manager" do?
"Responsible charge" -- You are directing environmental work, such that successful completion of the work is dependent on decisions made by you. You may be seeking advice or input from others, but the final approval rests on your shoulders. If you are a member of a team, you are the team leader.
"Responsible supervision" -- You are supervising work conducted by another professionals and you assume the professional responsibility for the work that they do.What is the Eminence Pathway to the CEP?
ABCEP offers a second pathway to becoming certified. Environmental Professionals who qualify to apply using this pathway are those that have had a full environmental career and have dedicated much of that time to giving back to the profession. Applicants for this designation are required to demonstrate at least 20 years of experience as well as provide a portfolio demonstrating they are highly qualified. This matrix
will help you identify if you have appropriate experience for your portfolio. Candidates complete the Ethics Challenge essay question but the portfolio replaces the requirement to submit the other essays. Will I be informed about the status of my application?
ABCEP tries to keep candidates informed about the status but given the number of applications under review this is not always possible. If you have questions, feel free to contact the office by telephone or by e-mail. Our goal is to report on the results of your examination within four months after receiving a completed application (the application form and essay exam, the letters of recommendation, and the transcripts).How can I provide input into the policies and decisions of ABCEP?
There are many ways you can make your voice heard.
Attend our annual meeting of the Academy and of the Certification Review Board and voice your views.
Submit comments to ABCEP.
Contact ABCEP Trustees.
Run for election to be an ABCEP Trustee or volunteer to serve on the Certification Review Board.How can I provide input into the policies and decisions of ABCEP?
The CEP is a senior professional credential. The purpose of the CEP designation is to provide recognition to qualified, experienced individuals.The primary conditions of eligibility are as follows:
A minimum of nine years of applicable professional environmental experience, five years of which must be in a position of responsible charge and/or responsible supervision.