Tuesday, November 10, 2009

A Certification Program for FTIR Users

FTIRs have been used for decades to perform chemical analyses including in such critical applications as the analysis of drugs, criminal evidence, and in homeland defense. The user of an FTIR must prepare the sample appropriately, choose the correct scanning parameters, and interpret the data correctly to achieve a successful analysis. In short, a properly trained human being is key to achieving accurate FTIR results. However, there are no formal proficiency guidelines or certification programs that insure the competency of FTIR users and hence the quality of FTIR results…until now.

Starting in 2010 my company, Spectros Associates, will be offering a Certified FTIR User(CFU) program. To earn the CFU certificate FTIR users will be required to take a 5 day sequence of FTIR training courses consisting of my Fundamentals of FTIR, Hands-On FTIR Sample Preparation, and Infrared Spectral Interpretation I, II and III courses. Then, you must pass a written exam consisting of multiple choice questions and several unknown spectra that must be interpreted. Only upon completing the coursework and successfully passing the exam will the CFU certificate be awarded.

The advantage of this program to FTIR users is that it will be your proof to the world that you know how to do your job well. The knowledge you obtain in earning the CFU will make your FTIR analyses faster, better, and cheaper. This will make you more valuable to your employer and enhance your career. The certificate can be held up at review time as an accomplishment, perhaps to be rewarded with a higher salary. Your certification can be put on your resume as proof to potential employers that you possess an important skill set, and might make you more employable than those who are not certified. The CFU can also be used towards the continuing education requirement that some professional societies require of their members.

There are also advantages to employers of the CFU program. By certifying their workers they can rest assured they are getting the best FTIR analyses possible. If regulatory bodies ever question the quality of spectra, employers can point out that the data were measured by certified workers following best practices. Finally, employers hiring FTIR workers can rest assured that job applicants who have earned the CFU possess the skills needed to do the job well.

Please let me know what you think of thie Certified FTIR User idea by leaving a post below or e-mailing me at bcsmith@spectros1.com .

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