The American Indoor Air Quality Council is a not-for-profit environmental organization founded in 1993. It provides professional certification programs for the indoor air quality industry (IAQ). The Council administers certifications for indoor environmental investigators and consultants, microbial remediation professionals, IAQ administrators and residential mold inspectors. IAQ Council certificants number more than 5,000 in the United States, Canada and overseas.
The IAQ Council is independent of product manufacturers, certification training providers and all other for-profit enterprises. Its certifications are board-awarded by a nationwide panel of industry professionals serving as volunteers.
In 2006, the IAQ Council became the first certification body dedicated to indoor air quality to achieve third party accreditation for a certification program.
Indoor air quality as a separate discipline emerged in the United States in the late 1980’s. By the mid 1990’s there were thousands of consultants, investigators and remediators across the country addressing indoor environmental problems from sick building syndrome to mold contamination.
A variety of organizations appeared on the scene to serve this new profession, offering membership services such as training, certification and continuing education. In the absence of government regulation of the indoor air quality industry, the certification programs offered by these organizations proliferated throughout the 1990’s. In general, they followed a pattern: an IAQ professional seeking certification would join the organization as a member, take a training course from the same organization, and pass a certification exam, also administered by the organization (which would collect fees at every stage of this process).
Leaders at the American IAQ Council grew concerned in the mid 2000’s about the quality and integrity of certifications administered this way. They concluded that such certifications provide little value to the public:
1. Because they do not require validated field experience of the candidate, they often fail to provide the customer with assurance of a certificant’s abilities and expertise.
2. Because they are not based upon verifiable documentation, they often fail to protect the certificant from legal challenges to his or her professional reputation.
3. Because they are not recognized by independent accreditation bodies, they often fail to demand respect in the marketplace.
The sheer number of competing certifications available with little to differentiate them, coupled with the widespread perception that they were much too easy to acquire, led Council executives to search for ways to raise standards in IAQ certification.
Unification and Accreditation
In early 2006, the IAQ Council formed an alliance with the Indoor Air Quality Association (IAQA) and the Indoor Environmental Standards Organization (IESO) for the purpose of raising standards in IAQ certification. Under the terms of this alliance (or “unification,” as it was called), each organization narrowed the scope of its activities to a single group of services, and transferred its other operations to its unification partners. The IAQ Council, for its part, gave up membership and training operations entirely and became an independent certifying body.
The IAQ Council's policies reflect its commitment to high standards for certification. Each candidate must pass a psychometrically rated examination which is delivered independently of any training course. Each candidate is required to submit verifiable documentation of field experience before his or her application is reviewed by the certification board. The board grants certification by unanimous vote only.
These policies bore fruit in 2006, when the IAQ Council became the first organization dedicated to indoor air quality to achieve third party accreditation of a certification program. The Council for Engineering and Scientific Specialty Boards (CESB), a nationally recognized accreditation body, approved the IAQ Council’s highest designations as engineering-related certification programs.
The IAQ Council offers certifications in five disciplines related to indoor air quality:
Indoor Environmental Consulting and Investigation
* Council-certified Indoor Environmental Consultant (CIEC)
* Council-certified Indoor Environmentalist (CIE)
Microbial Consulting and Investigation
* Council-certified Microbial Consultant (CMC)
* Council-certified Microbial Investigator (CMI)
* Council-certified Microbial Remediation Supervisor (CMRS)
* Council-certified Microbial Remediator (CMR)
Indoor Air Quality Administration
* Council-certified Indoor Air Quality Manager (CIAQM)
* Council-certified Microbial Claims Adjuster (CMCA)
Residential Mold Inspection
* Council-certified Residential Mold Inspector (CRMI)