Educational Requirements

Educational Requirements


    If you have completed a master’s or doctorate degree in Human Factors/Ergonomics/User Experience from a program listed in the HFES Graduate Directory you meet our educational requirement. If your graduate program is listed with HFES, simply complete the application for Associate or Professional certification, pay the application fee, and have the school send us an official transcript.


    AND, 24 SEMESTER CREDIT HOURS IN SPECIFIC CATEGORIES RELATED TO OUR PROFESSION. Read on to learn more about these credit hours

If you have a Graduate Degree (master's, doctorate) from a program in the HFES Graduate Directory you meet our Educational requirement. You are qualified to apply for our Associate Professional status. If you also have 3 years experience and can provide work samples you are eligible to sit for the exam and apply for our Professional status.

If have an undergraduate degree or your graduate degree is NOT from a program in the HFES Graduate Directory, you need to itemize your educational coursework in the application (Associate and Professional). This will allow us to determine if you have the required minimum 24 Semester credit hours of specific training and the breadth of knowledge required to become a Board Certified Professional in Human Factors/Ergonomics/User Experience.

The table below shows the general Educational Requirements you need for certification. This table may help you to assess your preparedness for the exam, or give insight into the topics of courses which you need to take. We recommend you map out your relevant courses in the application form to determine if you meet the requirements. If you need to supplement your background refer to our Educational Resources in our Documents section for guidance on courses*.

*BCPE does not review, sponsor, endorse or provide any educational training, coursework or program. This is a best practice for certification bodies to be sure there is no conflict of interest.

Credit Hour Conversion Grid

A copy of this grid can be downloaded here

Category Academic Credit Hours (Semester) Academic Credit Hours (Quarter) CE Credit Hours* Contact Hours**
A. Basic Principles34.54.545
B. Core Background69990
C. Core Methodology: Analysis & Design of Processes & Products69990
D. Application of Analysis, Design, Validation & Implementation81212120
E. Professional Issues11.51.515

*See below under “Acceptable Courses”

**Note: Each semester credit hour requires 15 contact hours. A CE credit hour is equivalent to one quarter credit hour and both require 10 contact hours. One semester credit hour is equivalent to 1.5 quarter or CE credit hours.

The comparison grid of units/hours is provided for convenience. A core background in HFE obtained primarily through training (versus education) programs is not acceptable.

Acceptable Courses

  • Academic Credit Hours Required

  • “Academic Credit Hours Required” are preferred to be from undergraduate or graduate courses by accredited* institutions.

    Acceptable academic courses can also be taken at an accredited* academic institution or its affiliate(s) (such as university “extension” or “continuing education”), and involves lectures and some type of student assessment (e.g., an examination or project).

  • Acceptable continuing education (CE) credit hours or “units” include:

      1. CE credits that have been historically accepted by universities/colleges as “academic” credits/units;
      2. CE credits offered through accredited* universities extension/continuing education programs; and
      3. CE credits offered by boards and professions related to our field and are approved by IACET (International Association of Continuing Education and Training).

    The CE credits or units assigned to a “short-course” are considered only with provision of official proof of enrollment, course content, contact hours, and assessment information. Attending a conference or symposium that offers CE credits for attendance are not considered educational CEUs and will not be counted towards the educational coursework requirement.

  • Academic courses taken as audit

    Academic courses taken as “audit” need to be formally acknowledged by the providing institution (e.g., through transcript notation).

  • Online courses (e.g., MOOCs such as Coursera, edX®, and Udacity®) require consideration

    These courses will be considered only with provision of official proof of enrollment, course content, contact hours, and assessment information.

  • Training in areas related to the topics

  • “Training” in areas related to the topics listed under the requirements does not constitute formal academic experience and will not be counted towards the educational coursework requirement.

*The BCPE considers a college or university to be acceptable when it holds institutional accreditation from an accrediting body recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). International degrees will be deemed acceptable based on the institution’s accreditation status in the presiding education system


All courses listed in the application require documentation to verify attendance or completion. Copies should be attached, such as transcripts, CEU certificates, or registration confirmation.

Original transcripts must still be sent from the college/university directly to BCPE as described in the application form.

The BCPE Educational Coursework Requirement

The following table of the educational requirements is an expansion of the table that is in the application forms. This table provides course objectives with examples of course topics, which can be useful when determining your relevant courses in relation to the requirements.

A copy of this table can be downloaded here.

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