On May 1, 2019, the National Environmental Health Association's (NEHA) board of directors spent a full 10 hours educating elected officials in Washington, DC, in an effort to support credentialing, in general, and the Environmental Health Workforce Act, in particular. In the U.S. House of Representative, the Environmental Health Workforce Act (HR 2262) was introduced by Representative Brenda Lawrence (DMichigan). The U.S. Senate's companion bill (S 1137) was introduced by Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-Michigan). These pieces of legislation reinforce the critical role credentialed professionals play in protecting and promoting the health, safety, and security of Americans, their families, and their communities.
In that spirit, I've asked Sarah Hoover, NEHAs credentialing manager, to share her insight into the state our credentialing operation. Sarah and her credentialing department team--Eileen Neison, Carol Newlin, and Bobby Medina--are a valuable customer-oriented resource who collectively manage and maintain the globally recognized NEHA credentialing enterprise.
Sarah Hoover, MPH, PMP
I earned my first credential in 2012. It was based in clinical research and required hours of studying select parts of the Food and Drug Administration's Code of Federal Regulations. I sat for my exam on a muggy, midwestem Saturday morning and waited in agony for the results. I passed--and I was hooked. Since then, I have earned an advanced academic degree and two professional credentials. My mantra was and is, "Earning a credential is investing in yourself."
Apparently, others share this sentiment. In 2015, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics added new questions to their Current Population Survey to begin to understand who holds professional licenses/credentials and how those individuals perform in the labor force (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2016). With these newly added questions, 25.5% of the employed civilian survey population (N = 37,930) indicated that they held a professional license or certification. When controlling for level of highest education attained, these respondents earned 11% more per week than their noncredentialed counterparts (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2018).
Individuals certainly see a benefit in becoming credentialed in their field of expertise and the professions they belong to benefit as well. It can be the case, such as with environmental health, that the health and...