chapter  1
8 Pages

A Guide to Certification in Professional Ergonomics

Some form of “quality assurance” effort is natural to most professions. This generally involves develop-

ment of credentialing in educational programs and/or of individuals. Three types of processes are most

common: Accreditation is established for the regulation of instructional programs. It is voluntary and

generally developed and administered by an association of professionals within the field. Certification

involves a voluntary process of evaluation and measurement of individuals, which can then indicate

whether they have achieved a professional level of qualifications as judged by professional peers. It is

developed and administered by a professional association or a group specifically established for profes-

sional development purposes. Licensure, while it does credential individuals, is a mandatory process and

is administered by a political or governing body. When laws are implemented “to protect the public”

from unprofessional practices, it becomes illegal to practice one’s profession without a license. Thus,

these processes are distinguishable by three aspects: (a) the recipient of the credential, (b) the credential-

ing body, and (c) the degree of volunteerism involved in obtaining the credential (Jahns, 1991).