OHShub.com interviews recent successful examinees of the Certified Industrial Hygienist (CIH) exam administered by the American Board of Industrial Hygiene (ABIH). The resultant text is as follows:
OHShub.com: When did you decide to take the CIH exam?
Examinee: I decided in 2003 to make it a goal of mine to obtain the CIH certification.
OHShub.com: When did you obtain certification?
Examinee: I actually obtained certification in May 2010.
OHShub.com: What is your current career field and how do you feel it prepared you?
Examinee: Currently I am in the consulting field. I feel that it (i.e. being a consultant) prepared me by having the ability to complete a multitude of traditional IH projects. The great thing about being a consultant is that there is always something new and fresh in meeting the needs of the client, which exposes you to a variety of the traditional “IH rubrics”.
OHShub.com: How long had you been in the IH/Safety career field when you sat for the CIH exam?
Examinee: Less than 10 years. I believe it was actually 9 years. While you can take the test after 5 years, I have always personally regarded the CIH designation highly. I felt that it was important and wanted to have a certain “skillset” prior to sitting for the exam.
OHShub.com: Are you saying that you did not just want to have a “certification” but wanted to be able to exemplify the characteristics of most CIH’s in the field?
Examinee: Exactly. That is precisely my thoughts and feelings.
OHShub.com: What was/is your work/career-life like?
Examinee: I consider myself very fortunate to have a very well qualified mentor (who is a CIH) and excellent IH support staff around me. Personally, I feel that it would have been much more difficult to obtain such a high level IH skillset without those continuing resources.
OHShub.com: Personally, how many hours do you think you studied in preparation for the CIH exam?
Examinee: Great question. But one that I thought about many times after many months of studying. I’d imagine that I studied somewhere in the range of 700-800 hours in all. Granted, this was over a few years. However, over the final year leading up to the exam, the final breakdown was probably somewhere in the range of:
- > 12 months out = 120 hours
- 12 – 6 months out = 200 hours
- 6 - 3 months out = 200 hours
- 3 – 1 months out = 120 hours
- < 1 month out = 60-90 hours
OHShub.com: How would you breakdown your study time?
Reading & Studying:
- White Book
- NSC Fundamentals Book
- AIHA IH Reference & Study Guide
- UNC Comprehensive IH Review
- Burton Elemental Industrial Hygiene Review
- OHShub.com CIH Exam Prep Questions
- BowenEHS Free Study Questions
- DataChem Software
OHShub.com: What did you think of OHShub.com’s CIH Exam Prep Questions?
Examinee: Is this a loaded question? Actually, the questions in OHShub.com’s resources very closely represented the questions presented in the CIH exam.
OHShub.com: How about DataChem’s software?
Examinee: Being a statistical “nerd”, I actually kept stats on the accuracy of the questions I got correct while practicing with DataChem. While using the software, over the course of approximately 2000 questions, I achieved approximately 71%. While this number may not translate exactly to the CIH exam, I can tell you that I did score higher, as an average, over the rubrics on the CIH exam. And, I passed the CIH exam on the first attempt. Therefore, I tell you this because I feel that if you can study intensely, then prior to taking the CIH exam work DataChem and score > 70%, I’d feel comfortable in telling you that you should pass the exam.
OHShub.com: Hasn’t DataChem been acquired by another company?
Examinee: Yes, I believe it has been acquired by another laboratory group. However, if you have considered the CIH exam in the last 15+ years, you have heard about “DataChem” and their software.
OHShub.com: What can you tell us about the exam?
Examinee: It is 250 questions, broken up into 2 parts (125 questions each part) of 3.5 hours each (i.e. 7 hours for the full exam). When you end the first section, you have exactly one hour to get back into the exam room to start section 2 or else your time starts automatically. So, prepare for lunch (e.g. have somewhere close-by to pick up lunch, bring a packed lunch, etc.).
You are now given pencil and paper, instead of the whiteboards that were given a few years back. Much more conducive to IH’s who want to work out problems and reference equations/examples later on. Believe me, you will repeat formulas, question-types, etc. throughout the exam (i.e. so keep up with past equations).
Based upon the exam that I completed, I walked out and compiled the following: Of the 250 questions, I answered approximately:
- 30-35 equations (10-12 ventilation, 7-10 noise, 5 radiation, 1-2 asbestos, 3 parts per million, 2 mg/m3 conversion to ppm)
- 10 TLV guide questions
- 15 Toxicology questions
- 8-10 mold questions
- 3-5 ethics questions
- 0 history questions
- 5-8 workplace hazard questions
- 3 heat stress questions
- 5-8 chemistry questions
- 5 ventilation questions
- 5 noise questions
- 5 minimum sample volume (MSV) questions / sampling time
- 5 fan questions
- 3 fan type questions
- & whole lot of other questions that I can not remember exactly
OHShub.com: Generally, would you say that the equations you encountered were difficult IH equations?
Examinee: Absolutely not. On the exam that I completed, very few of the equations needed were complicated. Probably the most difficult dealt with contaminant generation and resultant concentration. Radiation, noise, etc. equations were of the more “simple” variety.
OHShub.com: What was the portion of the exam that created the most anxiety?
Examinee: Actually, you may be suprised. But, when you complete the exam and you press submit after section 2, the computer delivers a pause of approximately 60-90 seconds. Very heart wrenching. At that time, you find out if you passed (or not, I presume).
OHShub.com: Any parting words?
Examinee: Study hard, don’t take it lightly, and have faith! While only 35-40% on average, in recent years, have passed the exam, you can do it! Prepare, prepare & prepare some more! It is well worth it!