Spirometry Training Course
Students who successfully complete a NIOSH-approved spirometry training
course will receive a certificate from the course director. Most course
directors issue the certificate on the final day of the course. The certificate
is awarded to the student for successfully completing
the class and is not transferable to any organization, company, or institution
that may have provided financial assistance or reimbursement for the student’s
The certificate may be requested as part of an OSHA inspection of a cotton-related industrial site and should therefore be retained by the student. To obtain duplicate copies of course certificates, individuals should send a written request to the sponsor of their course. NIOSH does not maintain copies of individual course certificates.
Licensure of health professionals is generally the function of a state
board, and issuance of a course certificate does not imply that NIOSH
has certified that student as a pulmonary function technician, nor does
it imply that NIOSH warrants the performance of the student after completion
of the course.
The course design must include at least 16 hours of instruction with the following components:
The course content should include:
Information may be presented during a course that is not required by
the Cotton Dust Standard. However, this must be in addition to the minimum
16 hours of instruction required by the Standard. Though all NIOSH-approved
courses must have the minimal required content in common, the courses
vary somewhat in the additional topics that are covered, and some courses
are more than 16 hours in length.
NIOSH maintains a list of active course sponsors, which is posted on this web site. A calendar of courses is also maintained for your convenience. However, course schedules are very dynamic, and the calendar may not be entirely up-to-date. Be sure to verify the location and timing of courses with the sponsor. Some course sponsors offer the option for students to register for a class on the sponsor’s website. Some sponsors also will travel to a requestor’s site to give a course. Contact the individual sponsor to make these arrangements.
Course sponsors are located throughout the United States and in Mexico. A few sponsors teach courses regionally, nationally, and internationally. If you do not find a sponsor close to your home, search the calendar of courses to find the nearest one to you.
Comments, questions, or suggestions regarding the NIOSH-Approved Spirometry Training Program may be directed to the NIOSH program coordinator. To contact the program coordinator, you can write, phone, fax, or e-mail:
Course sponsors must request approval from NIOSH of faculty before they can teach in any NIOSH-approved course. Course sponsors must submit their faculty request to NIOSH. Individuals who wish to teach a NIOSH-approved spirometry course should either contact an approved sponsor or submit an application for course sponsorship. Faculty designations are not transferable between course sponsors. In other words, faculty who are approved for one sponsor may not teach for another sponsor until the second sponsor submits a separate request and receives approval from NIOSH.
There are established minimum requirements for course faculty. Criteria for determining a faculty member’s participation level are as follows:
A. Course Technical Director
The course technical director must meet one of the following criteria:
It is the responsibility of the course director to assure that all faculty meet qualification criteria and that the course content is consistent with the minimum requirements established in the OSHA Cotton Dust Standard. The course director should be an active participant in the course through supervision of all faculty, monitoring the progress of each student, and availability to answer questions which arise in lecture or practice sessions.
B. Course Lecturer
Each course lecturer must meet one the following criteria:
The course lecturer is responsible for teaching the course content as defined by the requirements in the OSHA Cotton Dust Standard. The lecturer must have intimate knowledge of spirometry testing guidelines and techniques. The greatest strength of the lecturer is to present the information by whatever method necessary so that each student can understand the material and apply it to the practice of collecting spirometry data.
C. Practicum Instructor
The practicum instructor shall have at least three years experience in background, training, and the practical aspects of collecting spirometry data (e.g., occupational health nurses or pulmonary function technicians). This instructor should also have successfully completed a NIOSH-approved spirometry course.
The practicum instructors are responsible for the small break-out groups
whereby students gain hands-on-knowledge in correctly administering spirometry
tests, including coaching subjects and operating a spirometer. Students
will also practice identifying spirometry curves with errors and gain
knowledge in how to prevent the error in subsequent trials.
Within NIOSH, the responsibility of approving courses has been delegated to the Division of Respiratory Disease Studies and is carried out by a Course Approval Committee. Course approval is granted to a sponsor upon satisfactory review of a complete application. Sponsors may be NIOSH Education and Research Centers (ERC), academic institutions, non-profit organizations, or private companies. Potential sponsors must submit 3 copies of an application which will be reviewed for faculty qualifications, facility and equipment capabilities, course design and content, and examination instruments.
Minimum requirements for approval of a course are contained in Appendix
D of the OSHA Standard (http://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=STANDARDS
Applications for sponsorship approval should be submitted to:
NIOSH provides a training manual which course directors may use in whole or part. Each course director is responsible for distributing materials relevant to his or her course. A copy of the NIOSH Spirometry Training Manual can be accessed by clicking on the following link [DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2004-154c] or by contacting the CDC-INFO public information contact center: firstname.lastname@example.org, 1-800-CDC-INFO (1-800-232-4636), TTY: 1-888-232-6348. A Spanish translation of this training is available: http://www.cdc.gov/spanish/niosh/docs/2004-154c_sp/.
The training guide contains several examples of calculating predictive
values for FVC, FEV1, and FEV1/FVC. A Reference
Calculator is provided for your use as you work through the
sample problems in the training manual and is not intended for use in
clinical interpretation. Look-up tables
for NHANES IIII predicted values are also provided for practicum use when
students compare their own measured values to reference values.
The American Thoracic Society (ATS) is an independent, non-profit educational
and scientific organization with a goal to reduce morbidity and mortality
from respiratory disorders and life-threatening acute illnesses. The ATS
is a world leader in the fight against respiratory diseases and provides
statements, guidelines, and reports which contain state-of-the art information
for the diagnosis and treatment of respiratory diseases. ATS has published
several statements and guidelines (http://www.thoracic.org/sections/publications/statements/index.html)
which relate to spirometry testing and are available on the ATS website
under the “Pulmonary Function and Exercise Testing” category.