how-to Mar 19, 2021
“Is certification absolutely required to do ergonomics?” This is one of the most commonly asked questions that I get as an ergonomics educator. With so many ergonomics certifications and courses available in the market today, it’s time to clear up all the confusion. So in this post, I’m going to dive into the misconceptions surrounding certification in the ergonomics industry. I’m going to clarify the commonly held beliefs that are standing between many healthcare professionals and getting started serving their clients with valuable ergonomics initiatives. Rather than focusing just on the certification, find out the real value of what successful Ergonomics Consultants are doing in their practice. 

Certification: Do You Really Need One to Do Ergonomics?

I often get asked whether or not you have to be certified to get started in office ergonomic assessments or any type of ergonomic services. And I want to address the misconceptions about ergonomics certification because they’re going to serve as roadblocks between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. This is what's holding back many people from getting started with ergonomics. They're just waiting until they have a certain certification.

So, do you really need to be certified to do ergonomics? Well, the definitive answer is no because ergonomics is more likely under your scope as a healthcare professional already. First of all, ergonomics is not a regulated profession. That’s one of the biggest things that I want to clear up first. Many ergonomics service providers are regulated health professionals such as Physical Therapists, Occupational Therapists, and Chiropractors. And in most cases, ergonomics is already within the scope of their profession, and they're more than capable of getting started.

Credential Misconception: Learn the Differences

  • Private Label Certification

If you've seen any companies that offer some sort of certification in doing ergonomic assessments, they’re most likely private label certifications. As a matter of fact, ergonomicsHelp offers certification for office ergonomic assessments. But it doesn’t mean that I believe in private label certification as much as I do with professional board certification. Rather, I think that there's an opportunity to provide coaching and mentorship to help you get to where you want to be. So if you want to invest in that, you can get extra help and assistance from me to review your office ergonomic reports. However, I don't offer certification to everybody because it's not necessary. The reason for it is because ergonomics more than likely falls under your scope as a healthcare professional already. There's no other certification needed, especially a private label certification. So it's basically meaningless. 

With any private label course out there, while they may claim that you’re “certified” to conduct ergonomic assessments, you’ll only be certified through their certification.

If you take one of these courses, you have to ask yourself who are the people who made the course, what their background is, and if it’s aligned with what you want to do professionally.

There’s a vast difference between being certified from a private label course and from something endorsed by the International Ergonomics Association.

  • Professional Board Certification

The only type of certification that means anything is through a professional board. For instance, I am personally certified through the Board of Certification in Professional Ergonomics (BCPE). There are certain reasons why being certified through this route is more worthwhile and it depends on your career aspirations. The highest level of certification attainable in ergonomics are those associated with the International Ergonomics Association, which is considered to be the “gold” standard. Certifying bodies include the Board of Certification in Professional Ergonomists (BCPE) and the Canadian College for the Certification of Professional Ergonomists (CCCPE). It’s recognized as the gold standard for certification in ergonomics because it’s so stringent to get through it. You have to submit reports and write incredibly difficult exams. It takes years to go down this route.

I'm so grateful of Board Certification because it helped put me in a position to share my hard-earned insights with those who want to do valuable ergonomics services and build an ergo consulting biz. 

Whether or not that's the right route for you, you have to ask yourself where you want to take your career. In most cases where I’ve consulted from my private consulting company, there has never been a time when any of the employers that I've worked for have ever asked me whether or not I'm certified to do ergonomics assessments. Rather, they recognize whether or not I actually know what I'm doing through my messaging, referrals, and reputation. 

I went into the board certification process through industrial ergonomics. They assessed my knowledge and how thorough my industrial ergonomic reports were. They didn't teach me how to do anything. And that's really important to note because when I made the switch to include more office ergonomic assessments, I had to start from the ground up. Even though office ergonomic assessments can seem to be very straightforward, they can be confusing sometimes. There are certain measurements that you need to be aware of and certain equipment that you need to know. 

The Real Value of Doing Ergonomics

If you want to do ergonomics assessments professionally, you need to be aligned with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards and frameworks because there's real value in helping people with compensable injuries. That means stopping time-loss claims from happening or reducing the amount of time-loss. But to do that, you need to have a good framework behind you. 

What I've noticed with other private label certifications is that it's built on a house of cards and lacks a really solid foundation. If you're going to take it to the big leagues in consulting, you need to have a really sound foundation with someone who has that BCPE background and years of experience in running an ergonomics consulting firm. Personally, I really don't think that getting any sort of private label certification is where the value is because they're a dime a dozen. The real value is whether or not you can make impactful ergonomic recommendations and solutions to your employer that gets to the root cause of the discomfort, builds a good reputation, and makes you revenue.

Having a sound foundation allows you to have other springboards in marketing your services and continually updating your skills. Just because you have certification doesn't mean it stops. It means that learning continues. I'm also constantly improving the way I deliver my programs and market my services.

Get Started

If you're interested in how I can help you market your services, grow professionally, and create a community that you can learn and grow from, I'm more than thrilled to invite you to the training that I have at the end of March 2021. I'm going to be showing how you can build upon your expertise and your marketing skills in the *NEW* Accelerate program. Just sign up here to get on the waitlist and earn some sweet freebies. 

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