Frequently Asked Questions2022-03-23T08:40:07+00:00

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 info@ibera-certification.org.

Is there any impact if the exam time is prolonged?2024-01-08T12:29:28+00:00

Exam ends after 4 hours unless prior accommodations were arranged for because of a disability
(see FAQ re: exam accommodations)

What happens if a candidate is unable to take the exam due to the unforeseen circumstances?2024-01-08T12:30:31+00:00

You may reschedule or cancel 5 days or more prior to the exam – there is a fee of $50 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.​

What’s the criteria for a pass level? Is it based on a score or on a percentage?2024-01-08T12:31:20+00:00

An externally hired, accredited biometrician recommends a cut-off score range using results from a panel of subject matter experts that took the same exam. The Council then selects a final cut-off score from within the recommended range.
84% in 2022 and 83% in 2023 of IBERA exam takers scored higher than the cut-off score.

Are there any sample exam questions?2022-06-16T15:14:14+00:00

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?​

    1. Develop a food web model for your species​
    2. Rerun your test with many different species to develop a species sensitivity curve​
    3. Rerun your test with additional endpoints to develop a Leslie matrix​
    4. Identify policies that state your test does apply to populations
What is the content of the exam? Are there any training opportunities to prepare for the exam?2022-06-16T15:14:47+00:00

See resources listed on the website. IBERA does not provide training so this is self-study.

Is it possible to take the exam in a different language?2022-06-16T15:15:29+00:00

English is the official language being used within the IBERA program and for the exam

Does it count when a candidate already gained direct experience during studies or research?2022-06-16T15:15:50+00:00

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.

Do you have any recommendations on how to fill out the application?2022-06-16T15:16:22+00:00

Make sure it clearly identifies how the eligibility requirements are met.

Is there any penalty for guessing on the exam?2022-07-21T09:21:46+00:00

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.  

Why should I send my employee to take the exam?2022-08-23T08:04:16+00:00

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

  1. Differentiate between the components of the risk assessment paradigm: hazard–exposure–risk.
  2. Differentiate between prospective, retrospective, and alternatives risk assessment.
  3. Assess the utility and limitations of controlled laboratory, field, and epidemiological studies.
  4. Distinguish the value of modelling, observational and experimental studies to assess risk
  5. Evaluate data across spatial, temporal and biological scales of effects.
  6. Evaluate chemical groups and classes (e.g., QSAR, mode of action, chemical physical properties).
  7. Identify risk assessment approaches under various regulatory frameworks (e.g., REACH, TSCA, CSCL).
  8. Identify similarities and differences between human health and ecological risk assessments.
  9. Identify applicability of weight of evidence approaches.
  10. Identify the role of uncertainty analysis.

DOMAIN 2: Fate and behavior of chemicals

  1. Assess environmental conditions, processes, and chemical properties driving chemical fate, behavior, and transport.
  2. Assess environmental conditions and chemical properties driving chemical distribution within compartments: partitioning, and speciation.
  3. Assess environmental conditions, processes, and chemical properties driving chemical transformation and degradation.
  4. 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

  1. Evaluate the extent and magnitude of environmental release sources.
  2. Apply principles of sampling design.
  3. Assess the quality, value, and reliability of analytical data of chemicals in different compartments (e.g., clean sampling, blanks, detection limits).
  4. Evaluate the strength and relevance of exposure information.
  5. Utilize monitoring information and evaluate their quality and usefulness for exposure assessments.
  6. Estimate internal exposure and downstream consequences (e.g., bioaccumulation, biomagnification, food chain transfer, secondary poisoning).
  7. Recognize environmental conditions and chemical properties affecting bioavailability and bioaccessability.
  8. Evaluate pathways of exposure (e.g., food chain transfer, secondary poisoning).
  9. 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

  1. Demonstrate understanding of uptake, biotransformation, detoxification, bioactivation, elimination pathways (e.g., ADME).
  2. Identify the influence of chemical and organismal properties and environmental conditions on ADME.
  3. Recognize different types of interactions of chemicals with biomolecules (i.e. molecular initiating event).
  4. Assess the utility and limitations of toxicity pathways, mode of action, and/or adverse outcome pathways.
  5. Demonstrate understanding of the development and application of commonly used biomarkers (e.g., metallothioneins, EROD) together with their possibilities and limitations.
  6. Utilize data from next-generation high throughput methods (e.g., transcriptomics, metabolomics, proteomics, receptor binding/activation) together with their possibilities and limitations.
  7. Interpret cellular level effects (e.g., oxidative stress, induction of biotransformation enzymes).
  8. Interpret physiological effects (e.g. energy metabolism, ion homeostasis, organ toxicity).

DOMAIN 5: Organism-level ecotoxicology

  1. Evaluate experimental design of toxicity assays as described in international test guidelines (e.g. OECD, ISO, ASTM).
    1. Acute, subchronic, and chronic testing.
    2. Types of exposure systems (e.g., static vs flow-through, feeding vs gavage, intraperitoneal).
    3. Study design (e.g., single-species vs multispecies, single-generation vs multigeneration, mesocosm).
    4. Dose (or concentration) and time response concepts.
    5. Types of endpoints (e.g., quantal vs. continuous data).
    6. Quantify exposure.
    7. Study controls (e.g., positive and negative).
  2. Apply concepts of mixture toxicity (e.g., dose additivity, concentration addition vs independent action, kinetics).
  3. Distinguish variation of sensitivity between individuals and between species.
  4. Identify combined, interactive, and/or indirect effects of chemical and non-chemical stressors.
  5. Assess benefits and disadvantages of alternatives to animal testing.
  6. Utilize available toxicity databases.

DOMAIN 6: Supra-organism level ecotoxicology

  1. Identify basic ecology principles relevant to exposure to and effects from chemicals
    1. Integrations within populations, meta-populations, and communities.
    2. Interaction of organisms with their biotic and abiotic environment.
    3. Concepts of resistance, redundancy, resilience, and recovery.
    4. Relationship between biodiversity and ecosystem structure, functioning, and stability.
  2. Evaluate the results from supra-organism level tests for regulatory application (e.g. microcosm, mesocosm, field studies).
  3. Integrate important population and community level processes into risk assessment.
  4. Identify organism/chemical interactions with habitats and niches as they apply to risk assessments.
  5. Evaluate indirect effects on populations, metapopulations, communities, and ecosystems.
  6. Utilize tools and models to extrapolate effects across biological levels of organization (e.g., organism to population endpoints).
  7. Identify basics of ecological modelling in risk assessment (e.g., population modelling).
  8. 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

  1. Recognize the role of monitoring in prospective and retrospective risk assessment.
  2. Design appropriate monitoring campaigns/schemes, including principles of sampling design (e.g., frequency, resolution, replication).
  3. Utilize Biological or Ecological monitoring methods and ecological quality assessment scoring systems (e.g. TRIAD, SPEAR).
  4. Identify possibilities and limitations of biomarkers of exposure and effect.
  5. Apply biosensor and in-situ exposure data.
  6. Assess correlation vs. causation using weight-of-evidence approaches (e.g., empirical vs mechanistic).
  7. 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

  1. Recognize fundamentals of approaches for experimental and sampling design.
  2. Recognize distribution types.
  3. Evaluate the impact of outliers, censored data, and influence of power to interpret results.
  4. Recognize fundamentals of Bayesian approaches.
  5. Interpret species sensitivity distributions (SSD) and chemical exposure distributions.
  6. Derive and assess dose-response metrics and level of confidence (e.g., benchmark dose, LOEC, NOAEL, LC50).
  7. Recognize the benefits and limitations of deterministic vs probabilistic approaches.
  8. Recognize assumptions used in time-to-event models (e.g., time to species extinction, life tables).
  9. Recognize basics of ecological modelling methods for effect assessment (e.g., population, spatial explicit, landscape modelling).
  10. Interpret the outcome of commonly used data complexity reduction techniques (e.g., multivariate statistics, ordination, principal component analysis).
  11. Recognize the difference between statistical and biological significance.

DOMAIN 9: Interdisciplinary professional principles and capabilities

  1. Identify critical elements of systematic literature review processes.
  2. Organize risk communication information for delivery to stakeholders.
  3. Assess critical areas of problem formulation (e.g., site conceptual models, data quality objectives).
  4. Recognize elements of a research tool that determine its applicability to risk assessment (e.g., validation and verification).
  5. Identify opportunities to include additional scientific disciplines needed for science-based risk assessment (e.g., social sciences, engineers, legal).
Will my information be held in confidentiality?2022-02-10T13:35:42+00:00

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.

What accommodations do you make for persons with a disability?2022-02-10T13:35:30+00:00

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 info@ibera-certification.org 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 info@ibera-certification.org by the next year’s eligibility deadline. Score reports will not reflect whether a test was taken with accommodations.

What is the ineligibility and appeals process?2022-02-10T13:35:21+00:00

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 info@ibera-certification.org 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.

What documentation is required for the online application?2022-02-10T13:35:15+00:00
  • 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.
Is the exam fee refundable if I fail for the exam?2024-01-08T12:43:53+00:00

In case of failure on the exam, the Diplomate Exam Fee is non-refundable. However, the 5-year membership fee is by default transferred as a credit for eligible candidates taking a second-chance or third-chance exam. Failed candidates can apply for a refund of the 5-year membership fee, but have to pay an administrative cost of $50 USD. View the fees page for more information.

Why is a 5-year diplomate membership included with the certification?2022-03-23T08:04:15+00:00

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”.

How do I claim the 50% reduction of the application and Diplomate examination fee?2024-01-08T12:45:40+00:00

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 lower- or middle-income countries according to the most recent list of the worldbank.


How do I keep my certification past 5 years?2022-02-15T08:31:27+00:00

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.

Do I need to be a SETAC member at the time of application or exam?2024-01-30T16:37:58+00:00

There is no additional SETAC membership cost to apply for the IBERA Program. Non-SETAC members will need to set up a free SETAC membership account to use the IBERA Application portal. Existing SETAC members can use their SETAC profile to use the IBERA Application portal.   

Can I also get an invoice and pay by bank transfer?2022-03-23T08:13:46+00:00

If you are not able to pay by credit card, please contact info@ibera-certification.org and we will issue an invoice and provide the bank details.

Can I pay the application or examination fee in Euro?2022-03-23T08:40:51+00:00

By default our fees are in USD. If you can’t pay in USD but would need to pay in EURO please contact info@ibera-certification.org. At the moment we do not support other currencies.

Will the Diplomate exams be organized annually?2022-03-28T08:55:16+00:00

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.

Where are the examinations to take place?2024-01-08T12:46:35+00:00

Starting in 2024, IBERA will be using live remote proctoring for exam delivery.  Eligible candidates will schedule and take the exam during the exam window for that year.

Is a calculator needed for the exam?2024-01-08T12:47:30+00:00

An online calculator will be available during the exam, since some questions need simple math to be solved.

Are you anticipating that there will be one application period per year or will people be able to apply throughout the year in the future?2024-01-08T12:50:38+00:00

For now, IBERA uses one exam window and one application window. However, IBERA is considering potentially holding the IBERA exam during an additional time window to coincide with a SETAC meeting using in-person proctoring. We will communicate this option on our website and LinkedIn page should it become available.

What is the process if application review indicates we need supplemental information?2022-04-20T20:42:34+00:00

IBERA application review will be flexible and review will provide feedback on how to complete it successfully or provide additional information.

How much time do I have after applying to pay the exam fee?2024-02-23T12:04:37+00:00
Application fees are due before 15 June. Application decisions are made within 15 days. You have until 31 August to pay the exam fee. That is a minimum of about 6 weeks. Apply as soon as you can to have more time to gather funds for the exam fee. Paying the exam fee as early as you can, gives the most lead time in scheduling your exam.
How is the remotely proctored exam set up?2024-01-08T12:48:26+00:00

ASC partners with Monitor EDU for remote proctoring.  Candidates will be able to try out the set-up before the exam. Before starting the exam, the remote proctor will verify the candidate’s identify, the exam title, establish rules, and set up a second camera (tablet or phone) to monitor the candidate during the duration of the exam. Additional details will be added here soon.

How do I stay up-to-date on the IBERA program?2024-01-08T12:51:36+00:00
Can ecological and human health risk assessors apply for certification?2022-06-14T08:54:45+00:00
While the main focus of the association is on ecological risks from chemicals, the interaction with other stressors and connection with human health is also considered.
What is the format for the exam?2022-06-16T15:09:07+00:00

100 multi-choice questions, 4 hours

Does “multiple-choice” mean that only one answer is correct?2022-06-16T15:09:44+00:00

Yes, one of the provided answers is correct.

Are the 100 exam questions divided into sub-sections?2022-06-16T15:10:20+00:00

Yes, 9 knowledge domains and 68 subdomains.
Average of 1.5 questions from each.

How long could the exam be extended for?2022-06-16T15:12:01+00:00

4 hours is considered adequate. (see website FAQ re: exam accommodations)

Questions or Comments?