ABIH Timeline

1914 IH Section of the American Public Health Association established
1937 Michigan IH Association founded
1938 ACGIH founded
1939 AIHA founded
1956 AIHA appointed an ad hoc Committee on Certification
1957 Committee on Certification Standards appointed
1958 ACGIH invited to join and began participation
1959 Committee recommended a separate Board be established for certification of IHs

Twelve delegates held first meeting in Rochester, New York

Petition for Incorporation approved by Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County

First Board meeting held in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

1962 First application period expires - 485 IHs qualified under 15 year experience criteria

First examinations held in Cincinnati, Ohio. Bachelor's degree and 8 years' experience required as a minimum

Examination consisted of Core and Comprehensive Practice or 1 of 6 aspect (acoustical, air pollution, chemical, engineering, radiological and toxicological) exams

First certificates issued for Comprehensive Practice, Chemical Aspects and Engineering Aspects by written examination

1964 First certificates issued for Air Pollution, Radiological and Toxicological Aspects by written examination
1969/1970 Toxicological Aspects examination withdrawn, pending update
1971 Last certificate issued for Radiological Aspects by written examination

Eligibility requirements for CIH examination changed from 8 years' to 5 years' experience/equivalency, beginning with 1973 examinations

The Core and second level examination eligibilities. Core eligibility to be 1 year experience/equivalency to begin with 1973 examinations. Core-only examination to be for Industrial Hygienist in Training, IHIT


Decision to restore eligibility provisions for applicants without bachelor's degrees

First Certificate for Acoustical Aspects written examination

1976 IH Technologist certification program established
1977/1978 Decision to accept credentials from the Institute for Noise Control Engineering (INCE) and from the American Board of Health Physics (ABHP) in lieu of second level examinations in the Acoustical and Radiological Aspects respectively

Certification Maintenance program initiated; 6 year recertification cycle

First ABIH Executive Director hired (half time)

Reintroduction of written examination in the Toxicological Aspects

1984/1985 First formal Role Delineation/Task Analysis (RD/TA) study

Joint Committee established with BCSP for technician level certifications

Decision to grant 1 year experience equivalency for applicants with an IH masters degree and 2 years for an IH doctoral degree, beginning in 1987


Last Toxicology Aspect examination given

Decision to discontinue eligibility provisions for non-degree applicants after 1990

1990 Decision to discontinue certifications in the Acoustical, Air Pollution, Engineering and Radiological Aspects at the end of 1991
1991 Decision to offer sub-specialty examinations in Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ)and Hazardous Material Response and Remediation (HMRR)
1992 Aspect exams (except Chemistry) eliminated
1993 Subspecialty examinations first offered - IEQ and HMRR
1994 HMRR Sub-specialty discontinued
1997 Effective date to limit the 1 year experience equivalency towards a CIH for applicants with a masters degree - must be from an ABET accredited IH program
1998 CM Program changed from 6 to 5 year recertification period

CESB Accreditation obtained

Public member first elected to the Board

Board votes to establish a permanent Associate-level credential, CAIH, beginning with 2001 examinations

2000 Decision to discontinue the Core and Chemical Practice examinations and to suspend the IEQ sub-specialty exam effective 2001
2001 Decision to grant 6 months experience equivalency towards a CIH for applicants with a bachelors degree from an ABET accredited IH program
2002 Initiated Phase in of IH Coursework requirement for new applicants
2003 IOHA recognition as Certification Board obtained
2004 Computer Based Testing (CBT) examinations are given in North America

Decisions to:

  • drop the experience requirement relating to a percentage of time practicing IH
  • allow creditable experience prior to completion of a bachelor’s degree
  • change the experience requirement from 5 to 4 years

Decision to discontinue offering the CAIH certification

2007 Code of Ethics revised

CBT examinations are given internationally

Decision to sell interest in CCHEST (ABIH/BCSP joint venture) to BCSP


ANSI ISO/IEC 17024:2003 Accreditation obtained


NCCA Accreditation obtained; CESB Accreditation dropped

Additional History information is available in a 1966 article written by Henry Smyth.