A person wanting to become an environmental auditor will face extensive course work, a substantial time commitment and an intense certification examination. In most cases, a bachelor’s degree and relevant work experience are prerequisites for enrolling in an environmental auditor certification program. A variety of certification programs are offered on a regional, national or global level.
Becoming an environmental auditor starts with identifying the type of industry in which you want to be involved. Internal auditors are often responsible for reducing waste and increasing efficiency in manufacturing processes. External auditors may perform in-home evaluations of energy efficiency and waste management for environmentally concerned homeowners. A background in chemistry, geology or mathematics can be helpful for those who wish to become an environmental auditor.
Common courses required to become an environmental auditor include a review of environmental laws, regulations and basic chemistry. Some certification programs also include an introduction to toxicology, sampling plan considerations and abatement/remediation techniques with a field component. Environmental auditor course requirements vary by certification board. Some certification boards offer specialties in environmental compliance, health and safety issues or sustainability.
The Board of Environmental, Health and Safety Auditors Certification (BEAC®) offers a global program for anyone who wants to become an environmental auditor. After meeting qualifications and satisfying several requirements, you can become a certified professional environmental auditor (CPEA) and specialize in one of several areas. The BEAC® issues standards for practice and terminology with the intention of harmonizing quality-assurance efforts worldwide.
Additionally, there are online training programs designed to offer environmental professionals the chance to become an environmental auditor with a certification recognized by a national registry. More intense training programs are offered at the university level or through industry-based training organizations. For a substantial cost, there are some five-day comprehensive training programs available for professionals who want to become an environmental auditor and rapidly advance their earning potential.
Regardless of which training route you take, it all ends with a certification examination. The examination will test your knowledge of auditing processes, regulations and industry-related material. Once you become an environmental auditor, you are responsible for maintaining the necessary level of technical and industry-related knowledge through ongoing training programs.
Becoming an environmental auditor does not require certification, although it is highly recommended for long-term success. The need for certified environmental auditors has grown as businesses and homeowners have strived to reduce their ecological footprint. Managers, environmental consultants and anyone else who is interested in assessing environmental impacts all have the potential to become an environmental auditor.