Guide for Continuing Professional Development Requirements

To report CPD, please email [email protected].

1. Purpose

This document contains the mandatory Continuing Professional Development (CPD) requirements for BGC™ Certified Professional Environmental Auditors® (CPEA®) and Certified Process Safety Auditors® (CPSA®), referred to as “Diplomates” in this document.  It also specifies the method of reporting by Diplomates who wish to keep their certification current and in good standing.

Throughout this document, the term “EHS” will be used to signify environment, health, safety, process safety, security, sustainability, and social responsibility.

2. Continuing Professional Development

     Diplomates are responsible for:

  • Updating their knowledge and skills related to improvements and current developments in EHS auditing standards, procedures, and techniques.
  • Maintaining their technical knowledge and skills in EHS regulations and standards.

3. CPD Reporting Requirements for Diplomates

3.1 Each Diplomate should submit a signed CPD reporting form every year to comply with CPD requirements. The BGC Certification Director may, upon written request, grant partial or complete exemption from CPD requirements for individuals when good cause exists, such as military service or individual hardship.

3.2 Unless you have been selected for an audit, you do not need to include supporting documents.  BGC will issue an acknowledgment of compliance to each Diplomate meeting the requirements of this guidance via our validation certificate. Additionally, BGC will keep information on the active/inactive status of Diplomates.

3.3 Each Diplomate should maintain a copy of the CPD reporting form, along with all supporting documentation, for at least three years. Records must be made available to BGC for verification upon request. The records maintained by the Diplomate in support of the reporting form filed with BGC should include the following support information from official sources, as appropriate:

  • Title of the program and/or description of the content.
  • Dates attended.
  • Location of course or program.
  • Sponsoring organization.
  • Contact hours of credit, as recommended by the course sponsor.
  • A letter, certificate, or other written independent attestation of course completion.
  • Documentation supporting publications, oral presentations, and committee or other participation.

4. Certification Status

4.1 Active Diplomates

CPEAs who are performing EHS auditing functions and CPSAs performing process safety auditing functions must complete a total of 20 hours of acceptable CPD every year and pay an annual certification fee.

4.2 Non-Practicing Diplomates (how is Non-Practicing different from Inactive status)?

A Diplomate who no longer practices EHS auditing due to a career change, but still wishes to maintain and report the Diplomate designation may request, in writing, Non-Practicing Status.

  • Non-Practicing Diplomates must maintain and report 10 hours of Continuing Professional Development every year.
  • A Non-Practicing Diplomate may not practice EHS auditing or endorse audit reports using the certified auditor designation. To do so will be considered a violation of the BGC Code of Ethics.
  • To be reinstated to Active status, Inactive Diplomates must request a return to Active status by:
    • notifying BGC in writing
    • reporting 20 CPD hours for the year prior to the reinstatement request and
    • paying the full annual reinstatement fee

4.3 Retired Diplomates

A Diplomate who no longer practices EHS auditing due to retirement or a withdrawal from active work for any other reason, with no intention of returning to active EHS audit practice, but still wishes to maintain CPEA/CPSA certification may, in writing, request Retired Status.

  • A Retired Diplomate may not practice EHS auditing or endorse audit reports using the certified auditor designation. To do so will be considered a violation of the BGC Code of Ethics.
    • A Retired Diplomate who re-enters the auditing field and wishes to be reinstated to Active Diplomate status must follow the instructions above (see section 4.2) for Inactive Diplomates.
  • Return to Active status must be accomplished before one (1) CPD cycle has elapsed.  A CPD cycle is defined as a two-year period. After one (1) CPD cycle has passed, a return to Active Diplomate status will require a new application and completion of all qualification requirements.

4.4 Revocation of Certification

Diplomates who do not maintain annual certification fees or provide evidence that they have met the CPD requirements will have their certification suspended. Three notices will be sent regarding delinquent requirements. If there is no response by the third notice, BGC will send a final notice by certified mail. If there is still no response, the certification will be revoked. Once certification is terminated, the application process must be started over, including successful completion of the examination, unless there are extenuating circumstances.  Reinstatement must be reviewed and approved by the BGC Certification Committee.

5. Qualifying CPD Activities

Diplomates should maintain the high standards of the profession by selecting educational programs of high quality to fulfill the CPD requirements.

5.1 General

For a continuing education program to be accepted, the following general criteria must be satisfied:

  • The overriding consideration in determining whether a specific program is acceptable is that it shall be a formal program of learning which contributes directly to the Diplomate’s professional competence.
  • Acceptable formal programs should:
  1. contribute to the professional competence of participants
  2. state program objectives which specify the level of knowledge the participants should have attained, or the level of competence to be demonstrated upon completing the program
  3. be developed by individuals qualified in the subject matter and instructional design
  4. provide program content which is current
  5. be at a professional level
  • The following general courses are acceptable if they meet other CPD program criteria:
  1. Ethics and Standards of Conduct for Auditors
  2. Audit Program Design and Management
  3. Audit Procedures, Processes and Techniques
  4. Internal Controls
  5. Regulatory Aspects
  6. Process Operations, EHS Impacts and Related Pollution Control
  7. EHS Specific Regulatory Knowledge
  8. EHS Auditing Standards and Practices
  9. EHS Science and Technology
  10. Technical and Environmental Aspects of Facility Operations
  11. Relevant Requirements of EHS Laws, Regulations, Related Documents
  12. EHS Management Systems Standards and Guidelines
  • Activities other than those listed in these guidelines may be deemed acceptable if the Diplomate can demonstrate that they contribute to professional competence. Substantiating that a particular activity qualifies as acceptable and meets the requirements is the responsibility of the Diplomate.
  • CPD credit will be awarded for whole hours only, with a minimum of 50 minutes constituting 1 hour. As an example, 100 minutes of continuous instruction would count for 2 hours; however, more than 50 minutes but less than 100 minutes of continuous instruction would count for only 1 hour. Only actual attendance, documented virtual attendance, or acceptable self-study hours are allowable. For continuous conferences and conventions when individual segments are less than 50 minutes, the sum of the segments should be considered one total program. For example, five 30-minute presentations would equal to 150 minutes and should be counted as 3 hours.

5.2 Education

A maximum of 20 hours may be awarded in the education category for each reporting period. Educational activities include:

  • Professional education and development programs, such as seminars and conferences, provided by national, regional, and local organizations. This can include webinars requiring formal registration and verified by a certificate of completion or other verification documents, e.g. proof of attendance by a supervisor.
  • Technical sessions at meetings of national, regional, state, and local environmental or health & safety auditing organizations and chapters.
  • Formal in-house training programs.
  • Formal correspondence and self-study programs relevant to EHS or auditing that include evidence of completion.
  • College or university courses passed (credit and non-credit courses). Fifteen (15) hours of CPD credit are awarded for each semester hour of college/university credit earned; ten (10) hours of CPD credit are awarded for each quarter hour of college/university credit earned.
  • Online or published magazine quizzes, related to EHS or auditing, and requiring verification that the quiz has been successfully completed. 1 hour per month is allowed, for a maximum of 12 hours per each year period.

5.3 Publications

A maximum of 12 hours may be awarded in the Publications category for each year period. Generally, one full journal page of single-spaced print is equal to 2 hours of CPD credit, with the following limits on one publication:

  • Books – 12 hours
  • Articles – 8 hours
  • Research papers – 8 hours.

Contributions to publications should pertain to EHS or auditing. Published articles or books not related directly to EHS or auditing are acceptable if Diplomates are able to demonstrate that these activities contribute to their professional audit proficiency.

5.4 Oral Presentations

A maximum of 12 hours may be awarded in the Oral Presentations category for each year period. Courses you teach should be classified as “Oral Presentations.”

  • The hours reported for the first presentation will be based on the presentation time, plus credit for preparation time equivalent to three times the presentation time.
  • Subsequent presentations of the same material may be reported as presentation time only, up to a maximum of 6 CPD hours in each year period.

5.5 Participation activities

A maximum of 12 hours may be awarded in the participation category in each year period for:

  • Participation as an officer or committee member in a professional industry organization related to EHS or auditing. One CPD hour for each hour of qualifying participation will be awarded.
  • Participation in a quality assurance review (also known as a “peer” review). One CPD hour for each hour spent on site will be awarded. No CPD hours will be awarded for activities such as preparation time and writing the report.
  • Pro Bono participation in a community volunteer program relevant to EHS or auditing issues. Documentation of the activity will be required:
    • Credit will be awarded for volunteer activities within, or for, an organization possessing an environmental, health, safety, homeland security, emergency response, public safety, or public health mission. One CPD hour for each hour of qualifying participation will be awarded.
    • Credits are awarded for activities that specifically involve the development or significant improvement of the beneficiary organization’s abilities to audit or assess the effectiveness of its program(s). For example, for participation in a community or regional public health emergency preparedness drill, credit would be awarded for the development or improvement of methods to assess the effectiveness of the various components of the emergency drill and identify prioritized opportunities for improvement, or for the implementation of such systems.
    • Documentation of the volunteer activity should be obtained in the form of a letter or other written correspondence from the supervisor or director of the volunteer organization or activity, to be maintained by the applicant for re-certification.

5.6 Other activities

  • Audit activities
    A maximum of 12 hours may be awarded in the audit category in each year period for:
  1. Participation as an audit team member.
  2. Management of an EHS auditing function.
  • Exam question writing:
    A maximum of 12 hours may be awarded in the question writing category in each year period. CPEA and CPSA Diplomates may submit questions to be included on future BGC examinations. Question writers should follow the guidelines of the Question Writer’s guide published on the BEAC website and must include source references. Two (2) hours will be awarded for each question accepted by the BGC Examination Committee.
  • Achievement of other certifications:
    A maximum of hours may be awarded in each year period for passing other certifications, which include the following: CIA, CPA, CSP, CIH, CHMM, CRSP, QEP. This is only available during the year when the certification is achieved.

6.0 Audit of Documentation

BGC will randomly select 5% of all CPD reports for audit. BGC may review the records of Diplomates and/or course sponsors in the manner it deems appropriate to determine compliance with the requirements set forth in this guide. Submitting false information may result in the revocation of certification.