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Johns Hopkins Education and Research Center for Occupational Safety and Health

 The Johns Hopkins Education and Research Center for Occupational Safety and Health

in collaboration with
M.C. Townsend Associates, LLC

NIOSH Approved One Day Spirometry Refresher Course 

October 10, 2017


Recommendations/ Requirements for NIOSH-approved Spirometry Certification

As of March 27, 2013, OSHA recommends that all spirometry technicians complete a NIOSH-approved course before conducting tests in the occupational setting. This best practice recommendation is in addition to OSHA-mandated training for technicians testing workers in compliance with certain exposure-specific standards. See OSHA's Guidance on Spirometry Testing in Occupational Health Programs: Best Practices for Healthcare Professionals for details.

Certificates of successful completion of a NIOSH-approved spirometry course remain active for 5 years from the course date. Certification can be extended in 5 year increments by completing a NIOSH Approved Spirometry Refresher course before the current certificate expires. NIOSH also instituted a 7 month grace period to give technicians ample time to renew their NIOSH course certificates. E.g., if a current course certificate was dated April 1, 2008, the technician would have up to 5 years and 7 months to complete a NIOSH-Approved Spirometry Refresher Course, i.e., until November 1, 2013.

To register for the Refresher Course, students must provide a copy of their most recent NIOSH-Approved Spirometry Course certificate to establish eligibility for the Refresher course.

National Heart Lung and Blood Institute (NIH)

Course Description

The American College of Environmental and Occupational Medicine (ACOEM), the American Association of Occupational Health Nurses (AAOHN), and the American Thoracic Society (ATS) all recommend periodic training that reviews spirometry technique and updates technicians on changes in the field of pulmonary function testing and pertinent regulations. This NIOSH-Approved Refresher Course is designed to provide that review for health professionals who conduct and/or interpret spirometry tests in industrial and clinical settings.

The course briefly reviews the pathophysiology of obstructive and restrictive impairments and emphasizes correct performance of spirometry and the effects of technical errors and spirometer malfunctions on test results. Students practice recognizing testing errors, using problem graphs from quality control samples. The goal of the course is not only to review what the recommendations and requirements are for conducting tests and interpreting results, but also why the recommendations and requirements were made.

In the classes, Dr. Townsend draws on her extensive experience and in-depth knowledge of various spirometers, acquired through on-going consulting with a variety of clients. As she helps clients solve their spirometry problems and identify optimal spirometer configurations, Dr. Townsend obtains new information to share with her students, enabling them to work more effectively with their own equipment and to optimize their spirometry testing skills.

OSHA standards, the ANSI Z88.6-2006 Respirator Use Physical Qualifications for Personnel, and the 2005 American Thoracic Society (ATS) guidelines pertaining to spirometry are reviewed. Current recommendations are presented for spirometer calibration checks and for interpretation of results as normal or indicating obstructive or restrictive impairment.

NIOSH recommends that each student submit a sample of graphs to be critiqued for technical quality prior to the course.

Class size is limited to maximize student-faculty interaction and to keep the atmosphere informal and conducive to learning. Topics are varied to keep students interested and involved. Breaks are frequent to help students concentrate and remain focussed.

All lectures are given by Dr. Mary Townsend; all practice session assistants are experienced in spirometry. The course is co-provided by UPMC Work Partners.

A certificate extending NIOSH certification by 5 years is awarded upon completion of the course.

Course Contents

Course Director

Mary C. Townsend, Dr.P.H.

Principal/ Consultant
M.C. Townsend Associates, LLC
Pittsburgh, PA


All course materials, including comprehensive course workbook and reference materials.

For the spirogram critique, please submit 5 test results, with tracings, prior to the class. Send to Mary Townsend via email to or via fax to 412-343-9947.

If possible please bring:

1) a calculator and
2) your spirometer operating manual.


Class size is limited so please register early. Please click here to download a registration form and email, fax or mail it to:

Mary C. Townsend, DrPH
MC Townsend Associates, LLC
289 Park Entrance Drive
Pittsburgh, PA 15228-1824
Phone: 412-343-9946
Fax: 412-343-9947

Continuing Education Credits

This continuing nursing education (CNE) activity was approved for 7.5 contact hours by the American Association of Occupational Health Nurses, Inc. (AAOHN), an accredited approver by the American Nurses Credentialing Center's Commission on Accreditation.

Physicians may claim Category 2 credit for attending this class. Category 2 is self-reported and the course flyer can be kept to indicate course attendance. The proportion of total required CME that is allowed to be AMA category 2 varies by state.


1st Floor Carpenter Room
Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing
525 N. Wolfe St.
Baltimore, MD 21205


Please click here to visit the JHU school of nursing's website for parking info and directions. 


A list of hotels convenient to the school can be found here on the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions web site. Some hotels may offer a special Hopkins rate available to course participants. Many will offer taxi vouchers or a free shuttle to and from the hospital, which is right across the street from the school of nursing. Please be sure to double check their drop off schedule and times. 

JHU Tuition Remission

Full-time university faculty, staff, and eligible dependents may enroll under the terms of the Johns Hopkins Tuition Remission Program. Registration requires the original approved JHU Tuition Remission voucher and professional development forms submitted with the course registration form. The JHU Benefits site has forms to download and submit. Please complete the spirometry course registration form and the Johns Hopkins University Tuition Remission form and email both to Keith Choi at for processing. 


Visit the JHU ERC CE website for other course information.