Joining a professional organization is the perfect way to meet other EHS managers, build your network, and advance your skills. Not to mention, they offer tons of opportunities to highlight your commitment to excellence in your specialty.
So, what are the best associations and professional organizations to join? There's a lot to consider, so we've compiled a short list of the best EHS associations and professional organizations for you to explore:
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Occupational Health & Safety Associations
These are the top societies and organizations for health and safety professionals:
With 8,500 members, AIHA is one of the largest international associations for occupational and environmental health and safety (OEHS) professionals in the field of industrial hygiene. More than half its members are certified industrial hygienists (CIHs), and many hold other professional designations.
Formerly the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE), the ASSP is a global association for occupational safety and health professionals with over 38,000 members in 80 countries.
National Safety Council (NSC)
The National Safety Council's mission is to eliminate preventable deaths at work, in homes and communities, and on the road through leadership, research, education and advocacy. Its global network includes more than 50,000 members.
The World Safety Organization is an international professional association in safety. It is best known for the annual Global Safety Roundtable, where participants can exchange expertise, experience and knowledge with their peers from other countries.
These are the top associations for environmental experts:
Founded in 1907, the Air & Waste Management Association is a non-partisan organization enhancing knowledge and expertise by providing a neutral forum for information exchange, professional development, networking opportunities, public education, and outreach. Its members include more than 5,000 environmental professionals in 65 countries.
The AAEES provides workshops and seminars, participates in accrediting universities, publishes a periodical and other reference material, sponsors a university lecture series, and even offers an international awards program. It also provides Board Certification to those who qualify through experience and testing.
NAEM is the largest professional community for corporate environmental, health and safety, and sustainability decision-makers. Its members include environmental management leaders from more than 800 national and multi-national companies, including the majority of the Fortune 500.
NAEP is a multi-disciplinary association for professionals dedicated to the advancement of the environmental professions. Membership benefits include a subscription to the peer-review journal Environmental Practice, discounted fees for its conferences, courses, and webinars, networking and access to a career center for environmental professionals, and more.
NEHA currently serves 5,000 members to advance the environmental health and protection professional for the purpose of providing a healthful environment for all. It provides training and resources for continuing education through online courses and an annual conference, fosters networking and career growth, and publishes the peer-reviewed Journal of Environmental Health. It also offers a Registered Environmental Health Specialist/Registered Sanitarian credential for professionals who qualify through experience and testing.
Looking for a professional association that's specific to your field? Check out these industry-specific associations:
With more than 155,000 members in 150 countries, the American Chemical Society is the premier home of chemistry professionals. Members get access to tools and resources like the C&EN jobs database, career consulting, and discounts on courses and conferences.
AIChE is the world's leading organization for chemical engineering professionals, with more than 60,000 members from more than 110 countries. Members enjoy benefits like networking opportunities, conferences and training, technical information, and discounted insurance products.
ASM International (ASM)
Formerly known as the American Society for Metals, ASM International is the largest association for materials scientists and engineers. The ASM connects materials professionals and their organizations to a global network of peers and provides access to trusted materials information through reference content and data, education courses, international events, and research.
For over 30 years, AHMP has been the leading organization for the hazardous materials management profession. There are over 40 AHMP chapters around the US offering opportunities to connect with other professionals in the field and advance your career.
If you work in higher education, you might want to consider joining the Campus Safety, Health, and Environmental Management Association. CSHEMA is the only organization focused entirely on serving campus-based EHS professionals. Benefits include numerous opportunities for online learning and a career center where members can connect with employers at academic institutions.
SAE International (SAE)
Originally established as the Society of Automotive Engineers, SAE International is a global association of more than 128,000 engineers and related technical experts in the aerospace, automotive and commercial-vehicle industries.
SME is a professional society whose members represent all professions serving the mining, minerals and underground construction industries in more than 100 countries.
If you work in the oil and gas exploration and production industry, check out the Society of Petroleum Engineers. SPE is the largest individual member organization serving managers, engineers, scientists and other professionals worldwide in the upstream segment of the oil and gas industry.
Your next steps
Joining a professional organization is one way to advance your career. In addition to checking out the associations above, subscribe to our blog for weekly updates on industry news, regulatory changes, tips and resources. And, let us know in the comments below if there's another organization we should add to this list.
Note: This article was originally published in 2018 and was updated in April 2021 for freshness and accuracy.