We have compiled a list of frequently asked questions regarding the IBERA program. We will update this page, as needed. You are also welcome to submit any questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Exam ends after 4 hours unless prior accommodations were arranged for because of a disability
(see FAQ re: exam accommodations)
You may reschedule or cancel 5 days or more prior to the exam – there is a fee of $25 if you do not have an approved excuse. Approved excuses are: death/serious illness of immediate family member; sickness or tested positive for contagious disease; jury duty; military deployment.
An externally hired, accredited biometrician will determine a cut-off score using info from panel of experts and results of beta-testing panel.
Domain 6 (Supra-organism level ecotoxicology), Subdomain 5 (Evaluate indirect effects on populations, meta-populations, communities, and ecosystems).
You have been criticized that your laboratory dose-response toxicity test (to determine the lethal dose of copper to Daphnia [water flea], crustacean) is a test of individual response, not a population response. What laboratory work would address this?
- Develop a food web model for your species
- Rerun your test with many different species to develop a species sensitivity curve
- Rerun your test with additional endpoints to develop a Leslie matrix
- Identify policies that state your test does apply to populations
See resources listed on the website. IBERA does not provide training so this is self-study.
English is the official language being used within the IBERA program and for the exam
Professional experience may have begun before, during or after the BSc, MSc or PhD program; however, it must be separated from the time working for the degree itself. So, if a candidate was conducting an ERA job together with their studies (e.g., after hours, only working part-time on degree) then that time would be counted as professional experience.
Make sure it clearly identifies how the eligibility requirements are met.
No there is not. The exam contains multiple-choice, single-answer questions. Always pick the BEST answer. Read each question carefully and then decide which choice is the correct option. Your score is calculated based on the total number of questions answered correctly. You should answer ALL questions, even if you are not sure of the correct response. Do not spend too much time on any one question. You will have the ability to return to questions while taking the examination.
Achieving Diplomate status of the International Board of Environmental Risk Assessment (IBERA) demonstrates superior experience and knowledge in all aspects of environmental risk assessment (ERA). Applicants must demonstrate experience through employment in the field, education, and knowledge, the latter through successful passing of an exam. The criteria on the exam was determined through a rigorous job analysis of experts in ERA where either knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis, or evaluation levels of difficultly were associated within various knowledge domains for ERA. Knowledge domains and subdomains can be found here and are listed below.
There are many references that include regulatory guidance that can be found here for further study. Currently, there is no single preparation course available to assist with studying for the exam.
Diplomates are also expected to demonstrate continuing education in the field to maintain Diplomate IBERA status. Diplomates must recertify every five years where evidence of continuing education in the form of additional coursework, attendance at scientific conferences, contributions to the scientific field in the form of authorship, presentations, and abstracts will be considered. A minimum amount of continuing education credits (CEs) will be needed to successfully recertify.
DOMAIN 1: Environmental risk assessment concepts, principles, and legislative frameworks
- Differentiate between the components of the risk assessment paradigm: hazard–exposure–risk.
- Differentiate between prospective, retrospective, and alternatives risk assessment.
- Assess the utility and limitations of controlled laboratory, field, and epidemiological studies.
- Distinguish the value of modelling, observational and experimental studies to assess risk
- Evaluate data across spatial, temporal and biological scales of effects.
- Evaluate chemical groups and classes (e.g., QSAR, mode of action, chemical physical properties).
- Identify risk assessment approaches under various regulatory frameworks (e.g., REACH, TSCA, CSCL).
- Identify similarities and differences between human health and ecological risk assessments.
- Identify applicability of weight of evidence approaches.
- Identify the role of uncertainty analysis.
DOMAIN 2: Fate and behavior of chemicals
- Assess environmental conditions, processes, and chemical properties driving chemical fate, behavior, and transport.
- Assess environmental conditions and chemical properties driving chemical distribution within compartments: partitioning, and speciation.
- Assess environmental conditions, processes, and chemical properties driving chemical transformation and degradation.
- Identify approaches for measuring or estimating chemical fate and transport (e.g., in-silico predictions, empirical measurements and their relationships, and experimental.
DOMAIN 3: Exposure assessment and estimation of chemicals in the environment
- Evaluate the extent and magnitude of environmental release sources.
- Apply principles of sampling design.
- Assess the quality, value, and reliability of analytical data of chemicals in different compartments (e.g., clean sampling, blanks, detection limits).
- Evaluate the strength and relevance of exposure information.
- Utilize monitoring information and evaluate their quality and usefulness for exposure assessments.
- Estimate internal exposure and downstream consequences (e.g., bioaccumulation, biomagnification, food chain transfer, secondary poisoning).
- Recognize environmental conditions and chemical properties affecting bioavailability and bioaccessability.
- Evaluate pathways of exposure (e.g., food chain transfer, secondary poisoning).
- Recognize the utility and limitations of models used to estimate or predict exposure (e.g., individual-based spatial exposure models, food web models, fate and transport.
DOMAIN 4: Sub-organism level ecotoxicology
- Demonstrate understanding of uptake, biotransformation, detoxification, bioactivation, elimination pathways (e.g., ADME).
- Identify the influence of chemical and organismal properties and environmental conditions on ADME.
- Recognize different types of interactions of chemicals with biomolecules (i.e. molecular initiating event).
- Assess the utility and limitations of toxicity pathways, mode of action, and/or adverse outcome pathways.
- Demonstrate understanding of the development and application of commonly used biomarkers (e.g., metallothioneins, EROD) together with their possibilities and limitations.
- Utilize data from next-generation high throughput methods (e.g., transcriptomics, metabolomics, proteomics, receptor binding/activation) together with their possibilities and limitations.
- Interpret cellular level effects (e.g., oxidative stress, induction of biotransformation enzymes).
- Interpret physiological effects (e.g. energy metabolism, ion homeostasis, organ toxicity).
DOMAIN 5: Organism-level ecotoxicology
- Evaluate experimental design of toxicity assays as described in international test guidelines (e.g. OECD, ISO, ASTM).
- Acute, subchronic, and chronic testing.
- Types of exposure systems (e.g., static vs flow-through, feeding vs gavage, intraperitoneal).
- Study design (e.g., single-species vs multispecies, single-generation vs multigeneration, mesocosm).
- Dose (or concentration) and time response concepts.
- Types of endpoints (e.g., quantal vs. continuous data).
- Quantify exposure.
- Study controls (e.g., positive and negative).
- Apply concepts of mixture toxicity (e.g., dose additivity, concentration addition vs independent action, kinetics).
- Distinguish variation of sensitivity between individuals and between species.
- Identify combined, interactive, and/or indirect effects of chemical and non-chemical stressors.
- Assess benefits and disadvantages of alternatives to animal testing.
- Utilize available toxicity databases.
DOMAIN 6: Supra-organism level ecotoxicology
- Identify basic ecology principles relevant to exposure to and effects from chemicals
- Integrations within populations, meta-populations, and communities.
- Interaction of organisms with their biotic and abiotic environment.
- Concepts of resistance, redundancy, resilience, and recovery.
- Relationship between biodiversity and ecosystem structure, functioning, and stability.
- Evaluate the results from supra-organism level tests for regulatory application (e.g. microcosm, mesocosm, field studies).
- Integrate important population and community level processes into risk assessment.
- Identify organism/chemical interactions with habitats and niches as they apply to risk assessments.
- Evaluate indirect effects on populations, metapopulations, communities, and ecosystems.
- Utilize tools and models to extrapolate effects across biological levels of organization (e.g., organism to population endpoints).
- Identify basics of ecological modelling in risk assessment (e.g., population modelling).
- Integrate various lines of evidence to develop toxicity reference values (e.g., PNEC, EQS).
DOMAIN 7: Chemical, biological, and ecological monitoring of exposure and effects
- Recognize the role of monitoring in prospective and retrospective risk assessment.
- Design appropriate monitoring campaigns/schemes, including principles of sampling design (e.g., frequency, resolution, replication).
- Utilize Biological or Ecological monitoring methods and ecological quality assessment scoring systems (e.g. TRIAD, SPEAR).
- Identify possibilities and limitations of biomarkers of exposure and effect.
- Apply biosensor and in-situ exposure data.
- Assess correlation vs. causation using weight-of-evidence approaches (e.g., empirical vs mechanistic).
- Utilize lines of evidence integration techniques in developing toxicity-based benchmarks and risk-based media concentrations.
DOMAIN 8: Statistics and modelling in ecotoxicology and environmental risk assessment
- Recognize fundamentals of approaches for experimental and sampling design.
- Recognize distribution types.
- Evaluate the impact of outliers, censored data, and influence of power to interpret results.
- Recognize fundamentals of Bayesian approaches.
- Interpret species sensitivity distributions (SSD) and chemical exposure distributions.
- Derive and assess dose-response metrics and level of confidence (e.g., benchmark dose, LOEC, NOAEL, LC50).
- Recognize the benefits and limitations of deterministic vs probabilistic approaches.
- Recognize assumptions used in time-to-event models (e.g., time to species extinction, life tables).
- Recognize basics of ecological modelling methods for effect assessment (e.g., population, spatial explicit, landscape modelling).
- Interpret the outcome of commonly used data complexity reduction techniques (e.g., multivariate statistics, ordination, principal component analysis).
- Recognize the difference between statistical and biological significance.
DOMAIN 9: Interdisciplinary professional principles and capabilities
- Identify critical elements of systematic literature review processes.
- Organize risk communication information for delivery to stakeholders.
- Assess critical areas of problem formulation (e.g., site conceptual models, data quality objectives).
- Recognize elements of a research tool that determine its applicability to risk assessment (e.g., validation and verification).
- Identify opportunities to include additional scientific disciplines needed for science-based risk assessment (e.g., social sciences, engineers, legal).
All submitted forms, fees, supporting documentation and other materials become the property of IBERA and will be maintained in confidentiality solely for the purpose of evaluating a candidate’s eligibility to take the certification examination. Any inquiries regarding an application or eligibility must be made by the applicant and will not be released to other parties.
Reasonable testing accommodations will be provided for candidates with documented disabilities. Candidates are requested to provide documentation from a qualified professional (e.g., a doctor, psychologist, physical, occupational or speech therapist, vocational rehabilitation specialist, or licensed mental health professional) listing the needs for modification, or auxiliary aid or service requested.
Candidates must request consideration for reasonable testing accommodations at the time of exam eligibility application via the online application portal or via email to email@example.com by the application deadline of that year. If the exam is not passed in the first year and the candidate must request reasonable testing accommodations upon future testing, this request must be repeated in writing or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org by the next year’s eligibility deadline. Score reports will not reflect whether a test was taken with accommodations.
If an applicant is found ineligible to take the certification examination, the applicant will be informed of that fact and of the reasons for the determination in sufficient detail to allow for the preparation of an objection, if desired. Evidence or documentation in support of an objection must be submitted via email to email@example.com no later than 4 weeks after the eligibility notification email was send. Following receipt of an objection, the application will be reviewed again by the IBERA council and all decisions regarding eligibility appeals will be final at that point.
- Personal Information. Full name and contact information (address, email, phone number). It is important that the name provided matches your passport or government issued ID. At the examination, candidates must present a VALID GOVERNMENT ISSUED PHOTO ID WITH SIGNATURE to be admitted to the examination.
- A Statement of Professional Experience (i.e., listing of professional experiences in the field of ERA) is required. This should include full job description(s). Refer to the eligibility section on this website – Abbreviated curriculum vitae or dossier is recommended.
- Official transcript of the degree used as the basis for qualification. Scanned copies are acceptable.
- Letter(s) from supervisor(s) uploaded by the supervisor(s) directly through the online portal using the template form.
- Statement of Understanding. All candidates will be required to agree to this statement.
In case of failure on the exam, the Diplomate Exam Fee is non refundable. However, the 5-year membership fee of $150 USD is by default transferred as a credit for eligible candidates taking a second-chance or third-chance exam. Failed candidates can apply for a partial refund of the 5-year membership fee, considering an administrative cost of $25 USD. For the 2022 exam, this refund is set at $125 USD.
IBERA is a non-profit association aiming to promote the conduct of scientifically robust and technically advanced assessments of risks from chemical exposure through certification of individuals with demonstrated expertise in Environmental Risk Assessment. As a “IBERA- certified Environmental Risk Assessor” or “Diplomate Member of IBERA” you have voting rights at the general meeting.
The membership fee is needed to cover all general management and administration costs, to ensure IBERA continues to exist and ensures the value of the professional advantage to be a “Diplomate Member of IBERA” and carry the title “IBERA- certified Environmental Risk Assessor”.
During the eligibility application process you will be asked to provide your country and to confirm that you are a citizen of a country belonging to the 2022 lower- or middle-income countries list of the worldbank.
The requirements for the extension of the IBERA Diplomate status for 5 additional years are as follows (both requirements need to be fulfilled and need to be evaluated every 5 years):
1. Professional Activity
Be professionally active in the field of Environmental Risk Assessment.
2. Professional Education
Demonstrate to remain up to date with developments in the field of Environmental Risk assessment by being regularly involved in professional education, by either receiving, providing or organizing education.
More details about the recertification process will be available soon.
No, IBERA is an independent non-profit association and SETAC membership is not required for any activities in IBERA.
If you are not able to pay by credit card, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org and we will issue an invoice and provide the bank details.
By default our fees are in USD. If you can’t pay in USD but would need to pay in EURO please contact email@example.com. At the moment we do not support other currencies.
Yes the exams will be organised once a year.
Before the applicants can register to sit an exam the eligibility needs to be confirmed. Each period of eligibility to take the examination is of three years’ duration. A candidate found eligible by the council may take up to three examinations within that period of eligibility.
IBERA is working with a professional examination delivery service, with test centres in many locations. Please see a list of test centres here here. This – by no means exhaustive – list might be subject to change.
A calculator will be provided and some questions need simple math to solve.
Are you anticipating that there will be one application period per year (i.e., this year it’s before 1 June) or in the future will people be able to apply throughout the year?
For this year and 2023 we anticipate one exam week and one application window. Exact dates for 2023 will be defined by the end of 2022.
IBERA application review will be flexible and review will provide feedback on how to complete it successfully or provide additional information.
100 multi-choice questions, 4 hours
Yes, one of the provided answers is correct.
Yes, 9 knowledge domains and 68 subdomains.
Average of 1.5 questions from each.
4 hours is considered adequate. (see website FAQ re: exam accommodations)