This week, we expand on the topic of training and certification for professional ergonomists.
The Association of Canadian Ergonomists is a professional association established in 1968 with the goal of promoting human-centered design to optimize performance and ensure that high quality ergonomics is delivered to businesses and people to reduce work related injuries and disorders.
Within increasing recognition of ergonomics and its importance in the work force, the demand for ergonomic services has increased. The Association of Canadian Ergonomists (ACE) recognized the need for certification of Ergonomists to ensure quality ergonomic services are delivered to companies. In response to this need, the Canadian College for the Certification of Professional Ergonomists (CCCPE) was established in 1998.
Categories of Certification:
There are two major designations applicants of the CCCPE can fall under (see below). Both designations must meet the minimum educational requirements and field work experience. It is the amount of professional experience that differentiates the two:
1) Associate Ergonomist (AE)
- Based on Educational Requirements and Field Work
- An AE must be working towards achieving the professional experience requirements for CCPE status within 5 years)
2) Canadian Certified Professional Ergonomist (CCPE)
- Meets all Educational Requirements noted for AE
- Minimum of 4 years mentored experience or 5 years of experience in the field of Ergonomics
- Must meet the minimum Experience Competency Requirements
As defined by ACE, Ergonomics is a systems science, it aims to optimize human well-being and overall system performance by examining the interactions between humans and other elements of a system (the environment, people, and objects). In order to properly and effectively implement recommendations and solutions into workplaces an in-depth understanding of humans and the systems is necessary. This is why the CCCPE educational requirements mandate not only an minimum of a 4 year University degree in an ergonomics-related discipline, but specific contact hours in the different areas of ergonomics must be proven.
Once an Associate Ergonomist has worked in the field for either 5 years, or 4 years under the supervision of a mentor-CCPE, they are eligible to apply for the designation of CCPE. In order to be certified as a CCPE through the college, an applicant must prove they are competent in a minimum of twelve of seventeen competencies identified by the CCCPE which cover the multidisciplinary nature of ergonomics:
The stringent criteria described above is set by the CCCPE and ACE to ensure the quality of ergonomics services is protected. The goals of the certification process outlined by the CCCPE are that successful applicants will have an extensive breadth of knowledge and skills necessary to work in ergonomics, and be familiar and competent with tools and methods required to successfully perform their jobs, and deliver effective solutions. This is not only to protect the reputations of Ergonomists but to also protect the quality of work companies receive when hiring for ergonomic services.
As a company owner, we strongly suggest that you critically evaluate the educational background and presence of AE and CCPE designations when hiring ergonomics professionals.
Next week on our blog, we look at the impact training employees and company stakeholders in ergonomics. Specifically, we will look at the need for a properly educated and certified ergonomist to deliver the training and facilitate the activities, and the tremendous benefit that employee/stakeholder participation can have for your program.