M.C. Townsend Associates, LLC

Phone: 412-343-9946  Fax: 412-343-9947  Email: mct@mctownsend.com

NIOSH-Approved Spirometry Training

A 2-1/2 Day Spirometry Certification Course, followed in Pittsburgh by a CAOHC-Approved Hearing Conservation Workshop! Also taught semi-annually with a Respirator Fit Testing Worshop in Pittsburgh!

Recommendations/ Requirements for NIOSH-approved Spirometry Certification

Since 2013, OSHA has recommended completion of a NIOSH-approved course as best practice for all occupational spirometry technicians. This best practice recommendation is in addition to mandated training for technicians testing workers under exposure-specific standards, e.g., respirable crystalline silica, promulgated in March, 2016. See the silica medical surveillance requirements (29CFR1910.1053(i)), and 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 and 7 months 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. 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.


Course Description

This 2-1/2 day NIOSH-approved Spirometry Course is designed for healthcare professionals who conduct spirometric pulmonary function tests and/or interpret test results in industrial and clinical settings. It is one of very few NIOSH-approved courses that are approved for continuing medical education credits for nurses and respiratory therapists.

This comprehensive NIOSH spirometry course is appropriate for those with no spirometry background as well as for experienced spirometry users. Though the course assumes no prior spirometry experience or knowledge of respiratory physiology, experienced spirometry users always increase their understanding of spirometry and its results by participating in the course. The goal of this course is to teach not only what the recommendations and requirements are for conducting tests and interpreting results, but also why the recommendations and requirements were made.

Using lectures, discussion, and practice sessions, the course presents basic pulmonary pathophysiology, instrumentation requirements, performance of the spirometry test (stressing active coaching), recognition of testing errors and spirometer malfunctions, supervised use of the spirometer, measurement of the spirogram, and interpretation of results.

OSHA standards and 2013 guidance on Spirometry Testing in Occupational Health Programs: Best Practices for Healthcare Professionals, the 2005 American Thoracic Society (ATS) Spirometry Official Statements, and the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM) Statement on Spirometry in the Occupational Health Setting - 2011 Update are reviewed.

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.

Over half of the class time is devoted to supervised student practice of the techniques that are presented. Individual attention is ensured by maintaining the student/instructor ratio at 6:1 or better. All lectures are given by Dr. Mary Townsend; all practice session assistants are NIOSH-approved and have extensive spirometry experience.

Class size is restricted to 24 or fewer students, to maximize student-faculty interaction and to keep the atmosphere informal and conducive to learning. Topics and presentation styles are varied to keep students interested and involved. Breaks are frequent to help students concentrate and remain focussed.

Practical and written examinations are given on the last half-day of the course, and a certificate is awarded if performance is satisfactory. NIOSH-Approved Course certificates remain active for 5 years.


Course Topics

  • Review of OSHA standards and OSHA's 2013 Spirometry Testing in Occupational Health Programs: Best Practices for Healthcare Professionals, the 2005 ATS Spirometry Official Statements, and the ACOEM Spirometry in the Occupational Health Setting - 2011 Update.
  • Respiratory defense mechanisms; obstructive and restrictive impairment patterns.
  • Spirometry technique and recognizing testing errors.
  • Measuring the spirogram: FVC and FEV1, back-extrapolation, BTPS correction, repeatability.
  • Interpreting test results: Comparing observed with predicted values; race- adjusting predicted values; evaluating change over time.
  • Types of spirometers: advantages, disadvantages, and potential problems.
  • Spirometer calibration and calibration checks.

Continuing Education

This continuing nursing education (CNE) activity was approved for 19.5 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 AMA 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.

This program has been approved by the American Association for Respiratory Care (AARC) for 21.82 contact hours of Continuing Respiratory Care Education (CRCE) credit.


Course Materials

  • Please bring a calculator and your spirometer operating manual, if available. All other course materials will be provided.

  • Please submit several test results, with tracings, from your spirometer prior to the class, if possible. The reports and tracings will be critiqued and feedback will be provided as time permits.


Dates & Course Locations

Pittsburgh Course Location

Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites, Pittsburgh - Airport
5311 Campbells Run Road
Pittsburgh, PA 15205

"Spirometry/audiometry" room block rate is $119/night. For room reservations, call 412-788-8400 and ask for Spirometry/Audiometry Room Block, code SPR.

Pittsburgh Dates

March 19-21, 2018 *

June 4-6, 2018 *

September 10-12, 2018 *

November 12-14, 2018 *

*Immediately followed by a CAOHC-Approved Hearing Conservation Workshop, taught by Dr. Roger Angelelli of Audiometric Baseline Consulting. Call (412) 831-0430 for complete workshop information and to register for the course.

Baltimore Course Location

Taught collaboratively with Johns Hopkins University, this class is held at the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing in Baltimore, MD.
  • Directions: http://www.jhsph.edu/resources/directions.html

  • A block of guest rooms will be held at Home2Suites by Hilton, 8 E. Pleasant Street, Baltimore, MD 21202. To make reservations on-line, click HERE, or call (410) 576-1200. "Townsend Associates" room block room rate is $119/night plus tax, parking rate is $16/day. Shuttle service to the JHU School of Nursing will be provided. Other hotels convenient to the school are listed HERE. Some other hotels also offer a Johns Hopkins room rate and shuttle service to the hospital.

Baltimore Dates

March 7-9, 2018

Fall, 2018 Dates TBD

Columbus, OH Course Location

Taught collaboratively with OhioHealth, this class is held at:

OhioHealth Arthur G.H. Bing, MD, Cancer Center
500 Thomas Ln
Columbus, OH 43214

Columbus Date

May 22-24, 2018

Fond du Lac, WI Course Location

Taught collaboratively with Aurora Occupational Health, this class is held at:

Aurora Health Center
210 Wisconsin American Drive
Fond du Lac, WI 54937

  • A block of guest rooms has been reserved at Country Inn and Suites, 121 Merwin Way, Fond du Lac, WI 54937, Phone number: (920) 924-8800.

  • A reduced Aurora Health Training room block rate of $75/night plus tax will be available until 30 days before the class date.
  • Fond du Lac Dates

    June 27-29, 2018

    September 26-28, 2018


    Registration Information

    You can access the registration form HERE. Course tuition of $585 includes:
    • all course materials, including comprehensive workbook and reference materials
    • OSHA's 2013 Spirometry Testing in Occupational Health Programs: Best Practices for Healthcare Professionals
    • continuing education credit
    • spirogram measuring tools and use of spirometers
    • refreshments (and lunch in Pittsburgh only)
    Class size is limited to 24, so please register early to insure availability. You may pay by check or using VISA, MasterCard, or American Express credit cards. Students are enrolled in the order in which payment and registration are received. Confirmation will be sent upon receipt of the tuition payment. Except for credit card processing fees, tuition is refundable if you cancel five or more weeks before the course date. A $50 service charge is deducted if you cancel 3-5 weeks before the course date. Since expenses are fixed, no refunds are issued if you cancel less than 3 weeks before the course date. However, you may always send an alternate in your place or, if we find a replacement for your registered class date, you may transfer to a later course.

    Customized on-site courses are also available, and a minimum number of participants is usually recommended. Please call for more information: (412) 343-9946.