Society of Wetland Scientists
Professional Certification Program
Certification InformationOverview of Program
Body of Knowledge
Overview of Program
The Society of Wetland Scientists was formed to further non-profit scientific and educational objectives related to wetland science. Encouraging and strengthening professional standards in all activities related to wetland science is consistent with these objectives. The Society developed a program for certification of wetland science training and experience as a separate not-for-profit corporation, The SWS Professional Certification Program, Inc., to meet the needs of professional ecologists, hydrologists, soil scientists, educators, agency professionals, consultants, and others who practice wetland science. This program is aimed at serving the public's need to identify qualified individuals to assess and manage the Nation's wetland resources.
Although the Society of Wetland Scientists Professional Certification Program includes among its members representatives of many local, state, provincial, and federal agencies, certification is not required by any agency and has no official or legal standing. Certification signifies that the academic and work experience of a Professional Wetland Scientist (PWS) meets the standards expected by his or her peers of a practicing wetland professional and provides acknowledgment to his or her peers of adherence to standards of professional ethics with regard to the conduct and practice of wetland science. Certification will enhance recognition of wetland science within other disciplines, especially in multi-disciplinary work environments.
Wetland Professional in Training (WPIT) is considered a preliminary step for persons who meet the basic educational requirements but not the experience requirements. Professional Wetland Scientist (PWS) certification is awarded for those meeting both educational and experience requirements.
Minimum degree requirements for WPIT and PWS are the BA or BS degrees, with course distribution of 15 semester hours each in biological and physical sciences and 6 hours in quantitative areas. For certification as a PWS, an additional 15 semester hours in wetland-related courses are required. In addition to comprehensive training in wetland science, a PWS is expected to have professional experience of at least 5 years as a wetland scientist, demonstrating the application of current technical knowledge dealing with wetland resources and activities.
At the current time, there are no other international or national wetland-specific certification programs. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has a certification program that is specific to wetland delineation and is intended to reduce the level of effort required by this agency in verifying delineations under the Section 404(b)(1) requirements of the U. S. Clean Water Act. Several states have individual certification programs. The Society of Wetland Scientists Professional Certification Program is broad in scope and is intended to provide international recognition as a practicing professional in wetland science. The Society of Wetland Scientists Professional Certification Program should complement and greatly augment similar federal, state, provincial, and local programs.
Application forms are available on this website. Further information and application materials for Professional Wetland Scientist Certification may also be obtained from:
Society of Wetland Scientists
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