Your route to Associate membership

11th May 2012

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IEMA updates members on the significant changes occurring to the Associate membership and how the Institute assesses professionals seeking the standard

As the demand for practitioners working at Associate level increases in line with growing recognition by businesses that environment skills and knowledge can help them to save costs and make the most of environmental opportunities, IEMA has had to ensure that its standards and systems remain modern and effective.

So the Institute has reviewed and updated the Associate standard, appointed a new chief examiner, and introduced a new online Associate entry examination that can be taken at any time, from anywhere in the world. All of these changes maintain IEMA’s high standards and guarantee that Associate members have the right knowledge to make change happen in their organisations.

The new Associate entry exam went live on Tuesday 1 May and the first candidates have now taken the assessment and submitted their answers for marking. They will have their results in less than six weeks, as will any future candidates.

While this is a new assessment method, it does not necessarily replace the other routes to Associate membership. The open book assessment will run one last time, in June, and there is still time to register for anyone who wishes to take the two-week open book exam.

The registration deadline for the last open book assessment is 25 May and it will run from 11–25 June. Go to IEMA's website to find out more about the assessment, and for registration details.

Once the last open book assessment has passed, the online entry exam will not be the only route to Associate membership as the Institute is continuing to provide options and support. But if you are currently a Student, Graduate, Affiliate or even a non-member, which route is best for you?

Best way forward

IEMA’s professional development adviser, Victoria Douch, says that anyone who is looking to upgrade to Associate level needs to consider which route is best for them based on several factors, including previous experience and level of existing knowledge.

Once these have been considered, this will lead practitioners to either the self-study route with the new online exam assessment, or an IEMA-approved Associate certificate course – see below for more details.

“The two routes to Associate membership are designed to meet the needs of our members, whatever their level of knowledge and experience,” explains Douch.

“If you want to demonstrate that you have a clear understanding of the principles and practices of environment management and assessment, and are looking at achieving IEMA Associate membership, I would advise that you initially have a look at our Associate membership standard to check your current level of knowledge to see if it already meets the necessary standard.

“From that point you’ll know whether you are ready to go for the self-study route or whether the training route may be best for you.”

Two routes to Associate membership


“If you already have a good level of experience of environment management and assessment issues across the Associate standard, then the self-study route is the most appropriate route for you,” says IEMA’s professional development adviser, Victoria Douch.

“This is for individuals who have perhaps done an environment degree, or have undertaken an environmental training programme. We recommend that you spend up to 80 hours on self-study using our suggested materials before you sit the exam.”

Douch explains that IEMA wants its members to feel supported through the new assessment process, and has put together some guidance on how to prepare for the Associate entry exam, including advice on how to organise and plan revision effectively.

There is also a list of available resources that focus on the new areas that have been introduced to the standard. In addition, a series of webinars supporting these areas will also be available in the near future for free download.

Associate certificate course

“If you have an introductory level of environment knowledge and understanding and would like to increase it to Associate level, or if you have studied environment management in the past and need some refreshment, then the Associate certificate course is probably best for you,” says Douch. “This course is delivered by IEMA-approved training providers and consists of a minimum of 80 hours’ learning and study.”

The Associate certificate course is delivered in several formats – including distance learning, applied learning, intensive delivery and e-learning – and at the end of a course most candidates sit an IEMA exam, either a paper one or online.

Candidates on applied learning or academic programmes are assessed by portfolio as part of the ongoing course assessment. If the Associate certificate course is your preferred route, a full list of IEMA-approved course providers is available online.

“Be sure to look for the IEMA stamp of approval when selecting your course!” advises Douch.

If you need further guidance, simply contact Victoria Douch at [email protected] or phone +44 (0)1522 540069.

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