Frequently Asked Questions

Who should attend?

Technical and scientific staff, in local authorities, environmental consultancies and companies, whose employment requires a working knowledge of noise measurement methodology and legislation, and a basic appreciation of noise control methods.

How will the certificate benefit me in my work?

If your career involves Environmental Noise there are very few recognised qualifications through which you can demonstrate your professional status. The IOA Certificate of Competence is widely recognised by employers, local authorities, consultants, and industry. Successful candidates are entered on register held at the offices of the Institute of Acoustics (IoA) which is open to outside scrutiny. Hence the Certificate carries credibility in courts of law – useful for expert witness work. Perhaps the most important benefit is that you will be able to carry out your work with the confidence of knowing that you have been thoroughly trained and tested.

How long does the course take?

A week, starting Monday morning and finishing at 4.30 on Friday. Other centres run with different formats, for example one day per week for five weeks. We have found that a single concentrated effort is ultimately more efficient, takes less time away from work and is more fun.

Is there an exam?

Yes. There is both a practical test and a two and a half hour written exam. The practical test will be carried out on Thursday evening and the exam on Friday afternoon at the end of the week of the course.

When can I take the course?

Exams take place twice a year around May and October. We run twice a year, the week leading up to the exam date.

Is previous experience necessary?

No previous noise measurement experience is necessary.

Where can I stay and how can I get to Liverpool?

Information on travelling to Liverpool and accommodation can be found here.

What are the entry requirements?

There are no formal requirements. A degree in a technical subject or environmental health is ideal but not essential. Contact the ARU to discuss whether the course is suitable for you. We do however recommend that you run through some calculator practice sheets before the course. More or less the only reoccurring difficulty has been use of a calculator – nothing to do with acoustics! The calculations are not hard, but sometimes people who do not use calculators regularly take a while to get going. Its better get familiar before hand so that you can concentrate on the acoustics once the course is underway. We will be available before the course to make sure you are up to speed.

Is the course practical?

Yes. The course is highly practically oriented, with hands-on laboratory and field measurement exercises taking up nearly half the timetable.

Do I need a sound level meter?

No, we provide all the measurement instrumentation that you need. You may bring your meter if you wish to become familiar with it. Contact Gary Seiffert first to check whether this is a good idea.

How large will the group be?

Between 6 and 12, and possibly under special circumstances up to 14.

What do I need to bring?

A scientific calculator, something to make notes with, strong shoes and a coat for field exercises.

What do past students think of the course?

Generally, we receive extremely positive feedback. The most commonly expressed view is that the course is fairly hard work but thoroughly enjoyable and worthwhile. We will happily put you in touch with past students from your sector if you would like an impartial view.

How long has the Acoustics Research Unit been running the course?

We ran a pilot course when the Certificate was first approved by the IOA in 1993 and have run at least once every year since then.

Why is a whole week necessary?

Apart from correct use of the sound level meter you need to be able to make decisions about how, what, where, and for how long to measure. This requires a basic understanding of some basic acoustic principles, and a working knowledge of the legislation and standards used to assess environmental noise. You also need a background knowledge in noise control to be able to appreciate the implications of what you measure. Hence the training includes lectures and demonstrations as well as practical sessions in measurement.

Who are the tutors?

The tutors are Professor Barry Gibbs, Dr Carl Hopkins, Mr Gary Seiffert and Mr Matthew Robinson. We also have guest speakers who are practitioners with a wealth of experience on current legislation and noise criteria.