Professional personnel certifications provide validation of an individual's knowledge, competence and practical experience acquired through training and examination processes. By attaining a recognized professional personnel certification, individuals establish their professional credibility and gain the trust and confidence of employers, clients and peers. Personnel certifications require ongoing education, ensuring professionals stay up to date with industry trends. Obtaining a personnel certification provides a competitive advantage and opportunity for increased earning potential when exploring job promotions or new career opportunities.

Two recent certifications developed by ASSE International (American Society of Sanitary Engineering), aimed at the health care sector, are ASSE 12025: Construction Risk Assessment Professional Qualifications Standard for Engineers, Designers, Inspectors and Commissioning Agents and ASSE 6060: Medical Gas Systems Designer.

The scope of the ASSE 12025 personal certification states "This standard provides general knowledge of the environment of care and construction risk assessment requirements and procedures to protect facility occupants, operations, workers, or any individual who has the potential for harm caused by preconstruction and construction activities. The objective is to provide training, continuing education and certification.”

The purpose of the certification as stated in the standard is to “minimize exposure of pathogens, biohazards and other potentially infectious material (OPIM) in the workplace.” Certified individuals will be required to demonstrate knowledge in areas including, but not limited to, the environment of care — patient and owner expectations, an understanding of the Universal Precaution method, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), understanding of facilities Infection Control, Pre-Construction and Construction, Life and Safety plans.

The certification does not include a minimum work experience requirement, ensuring new professionals working in the field have access to the training. Any type of job site training is infrequently available to the categories of individuals the certification was developed for and the elevated risks involved with health care facilities drive the demand for specialized training. Candidates will be required to attend a minimum 6-hour training class and successfully complete a 25-question test to obtain certification. The certification is valid for 3 years, recertification will require a 2-hour training class and successful completion of a 25-question test.

ASSE 12025 is in the final stages of development and is intended to be published within ASSE/IAPMO/ANSI Series 12000 Professional Qualifications Standard for Water Management and Infection Control Risk Assessment for Building Systems. Be on the lookout for updates from ASSE and IAPMO (International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials) when the standard is published, and upcoming training and certification opportunities.

In Fall 2021, ASSE 6060 — Medical Gas Systems Designer was published in ASSE/IAPMO/ANSI Series 6000-2021: Professional Qualifications Standard for Medical Gas Systems Personnel. The certification quickly gained support from the industry and proposals were submitted to include a reference to the certification within NFPA 99-2024 HealthCare Facilities Code.

The second draft of NFPA 99-2024 contains the following language: "Medical gas and vacuum systems shall be designed by one of the following:

(1) A party technically competent and experienced in the field of medical gas and vacuum system design and meeting the requirements of ASSE/IAPMO/ANSI 6060, Professional Qualifications Standard for Medical Gas System Designers.

(2) A party deemed technically competent through other qualification(s) deemed sufficient by the health care facility's governing body."

The second draft of NFPA 99-2024 was approved at the June 2023 NFPA Annual Conference with a final review and approval to be completed by the NFPA Standards Council in August 2023 prior to issuance.

The scope of the ASSE 6060 personnel certification is defined in the standard as follows: “This standard applies to any individual who designs medical gas systems, new or existing, including the layout, sizing and selection of equipment and piping, location of medical gas outlet/vacuum inlets and assessment of existing systems for resizing or replacement. Medical gas systems and equipment covered in this standard include those in health care facilities within the scope of NFPA 99, Health Care Facilities Code. Medical gas systems encompass those distributing USP gases, medical vacuum, WAGD and support gas piping systems.”

Eligible candidates for the ASSE 6060 certification are required to "have two (2) years documented experience in the mechanical and plumbing systems industry and require practical knowledge of the design of medical gas and vacuum systems." Candidates are required to attend a 32-hour training class and successfully complete a 100-question exam. The certification is valid for three years. Recertification will a 4-hour training class and successful completion of a 25-question exam.

American Society of Plumbing Engineers (ASPE), one of the avaliable ASSE 6060 training providers, began offering quarterly in-person Med Gas Workshops across the country in August 2022. Watch for an exciting upcoming ASPE announcement with updates related to their Med Gas Program.