I’ve just been awarded Chartered Ecologist status by the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management (CIEEM). This means that I “work in accordance with high standards of professional conduct”. Also, my “advice and practice is based on a fundamental understanding of ecology and the critical evaluation of scientific evidence” and I “communicate complex ecological concepts and ideas confidently and effectively to a wide range of audiences”. When the CIEEM website is updated, I’ll be listed on the online Register. All very exciting!
CIEEM is the main professional society for ecologists in Ireland. One of its main goals is to uphold professional standards for ecologists and to promote best practice. CIEEM received chartered status in April 2013, and applications for Chartered Ecologist status were only recently opened for all members. My spies tell me that right now I am one of only three Chartered Ecologists in Ireland, though in time there will be several more.
Chartered Ecologists must demonstrate that they achieve a high level of competence in several areas of ecology and environmental management. A well-structured competency framework is used by CIEEM to evaluate the abilities of applicants. The areas of competency must include expertise in interpretation and reporting scientific evidence, good communication skills, and a high standard of professional conduct. Other areas where I showed a high level of competence included habitat survey and evaluation, ecosystem management, ecological impact assessment, and data analysis.
CIEEM’s recognition of Chartered Ecologists should greatly improve the practice of ecology and environmental management in Ireland. Clients and others reviewing the work of Chartered Ecologists will have the confidence that it has been done by an experienced professional. Having chartered members places ecologists on a similar footing to other professions, such as engineers. Ecologists will have a clear goal for professional development, and the competency framework will provide a good yardstick for achieving it. The application is arduous and the interview is intimidating, as they should be. But all the same I’d encourage all CIEEM members to apply when you’re ready.