Certified Post Blast Investigators

Certified International Post Blast Investigator (CIPBI)

The CIPBI certification is to specify the minimum critical competencies for service as a Certified Post Blast Investigator (CIPBI) within the International Association of Bomb Technicians and Investigators (IABTI).

CIPBI Program Operation Manual 2016a

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Alternative Option for Completing the Criminal Investigation Training Requirement

Request Form for CIPBI Certification Verification

Requirements to Test

 Applicants must:

  1. Have a minimum of 3 years’ experience in a position with responsibility to investigate, analyze, and/or reconstruct post blast explosive crime scenes, events or devices. The term investigation includes both criminal (Law Enforcement) Investigations and Weapons/Explosive Ordnance Intelligence Investigations.
    1.  Any applicant who has retired from active qualifying service, but who is currently working as an instructor or investigator for a government, state, local, or scholastic entity may apply. For those who have retired, the application must be received prior to five years from the date of retirement.
    2.  All Applicants for certification shall submit documentation of work experience and training as determined by the certification program committee. Additionally, Non-members must submit two letters of endorsement. These endorsements are required from the applicant's employer/supervisor and/or persons who have knowledge of the applicant's experience and a position as a practitioner in the field of Post Blast Investigations as described in this manual.
  2. Have completed a minimum of 200 hours of post blast investigator certification committee approved training in post blast related courses.
    1. Have completed a minimum of one (1) 40 hour post blast investigations training course which includes at least one practical hands-on exorcise involving the documentation, collection and preservation of a post blast crime scene, reconstruction of a post blast device, and presentation of the event.
    2. Have completed a minimum (cumulative) 40 hour course of training in criminal investigations/intelligence.
    3. Additional elective courses must total a minimum of 120 hours. The topics that qualify in the area of post blast investigation approved training include but not limited to are:

      Advanced Improvised Explosive Device and Terrorist Activities Conferences

      Hazardous Devices Render Safe or Explosives Ordnance Disposal

      Explosive Handling, Disposal and Effects

      Arson or Fire and Explosion Investigations

      Criminal Investigations

      Advanced Post Blast Investigations

      Interview and Interrogations

      Collection & Preservation of Evidence

      Expert Witness Courtroom Testimony

      Device Electronics

      Crime Scene Investigations

      Crime Scene Documentation

      Underwater Post Blast Investigations

      Crime Scene Photography

      Crime Scene Reconstruction

      Death Investigations

      Wound Dynamics

      Evidence Analysis or Laboratory Analysis

      The Post Blast Certification Committee, on request, will consider other topics.

  3. Applicant will fill out the CIPBI application and sign ALL required signature lines. By submitting your payment, you acknowledge all requirements of the application to include the Code of Conduct and truthfulness of you application. Scan copies of all certificates, transcripts or letters and send to the International Business Office (IBO).
  4. An application fee of $150.00 for IABTI members or $350.00 for non members must be paid at the time of application.
  5. Once your application has been reviewed and accepted, you will be given information on how and where to take the exam.
  6. Comprehensive, Proctored Examination: A “closed book” examination that is based on the requisite skills and knowledge sets within the CIPBI guidelines. A passing score of 80% or above must be achieved to successfully pass the exam. The applicant will be allowed 3 hours to complete a 200 question exam. The test will be created from the following publication.
    1. Practical Bomb Scene Investigations, 2nd edition by James T. Thurman, CRC Press 2011. (Click here to buy online.)
    2. Practical Crime Scene Processing and Investigation, 2nd edition by Ross M. Gardner, CRC Press 2012, Chapters 1-8 and Chapter 14. (Click here to buy online.)
  7. If the applicant fails the examination, the applicant will be allowed to retest after six (6) months and within twelve (12) months. If the twelve (12) months pass without retaking the exam then the applicant must start the process over to include the application fee.
  8. When the applicant completes the process and passes the written examination, the certification will be good for five (5) years.
  9. In order for IABTI members to re-certify:
    1. The applicant must continue to be a member of IABTI in good standing.
    2. During the five (5) years the applicant must attend two hundred (200) hours (total) of post blast investigations related training.
    3. Have authored or coauthored an article on some aspect of post blast investigations and submit it to the CIPBI committee for review. The committee will publish in the Detonator or request a presentation at an International or Regional In-Service Training.
  10. Non-member applicants for certification must submit two letters of endorsement. Endorsements are required from the applicant’s employer/supervisor and/or persons who have knowledge of the applicant’s experience and position as a practitioner in the field of Post Blast Investigations as described by the IABTI Certification Program Operations Manual.

Origin and Development

In 1974, the International Association of Bomb Technicians and Investigators (IABTI) began representing the international professional community of Bomb Technicians and Post Blast Investigators working in law enforcement, public safety and the military. The community of criminal post blast investigations has lacked guidelines on the necessary knowledge and skills, which the community believes, are necessary for a professional post blast investigator. This document describes these competencies and introduces the IABTI professional Certified Post Blast Investigator (CIPBI) program.


The purpose of this standard is to specify the minimum critical competencies for service as a Certified Post Blast Investigator (CIPBI) within the International Association of Bomb Technicians and Investigators (IABTI). It is not the intent of this guide to restrict any jurisdiction from exceeding these minimum requirements or override their organizations policies, standards or governmental law or regulations. This document describes the competencies expected of an individual in order, to carry out that duty; however, they are not intended to measure a level of knowledge as compared to other professionals within this community.


The International Association of Bomb Technicians and Investigators will develop a Certification program. This program, will include, administrative policies and certification procedures, fundamental requirements, program accreditation, methods of testing, references, and recertification.


Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, 11 th Edition, Merriam-Webster, Inc.,

Practical Bomb Scene Investigation, 2nd Edition, James T. Thurman.

Practical Crime Scene Analysis and Reconstruction, 2 nd Edition, Ross M. Gardner and Tom Bevel., Chapters 1-8 and Chapter 14.


Requisite Knowledge

Law Enforcement Investigations

The investigator should have knowledge on the techniques, methods, and processes to conduct a proper criminal investigation within the individual’s jurisdiction and authority, to include; criminal law and regulations associated with explosions and bombings.

Commercial, Military, and Improvised Explosives

The investigator shall have the knowledge to identify and recognize commercial, military, and improvised explosives, detonators, initiators, and associated components/materials.

Explosives Characteristics and Effects

The investigators shall have a fundamental knowledge of explosion theory and dynamics, explosive terminology, types of explosives, classification, and sensitivity of explosives, explosive performance, history of explosives, types of explosives, and characteristics of explosives, explosion effects, and firing trains.

Weapons of Mass Destruction

The investigator should have knowledge of Weapons of Mass Destruction, to include; the basic knowledge of the types of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), basic knowledge of chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosive (CBRNE) hazards, and a knowledge of the unique issues with WMD/CBRNE scenes.

Identification of Improvised Explosive Device Construction and Components

The investigator should have knowledge of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) and their Construction; including, the history of improvised explosive devices (IEDs), basic components of IEDs, construction of IEDs, appearance of IEDs, and fusing/firing systems of IEDs.

Military Ordnance

The investigator should have a knowledge to recognize and classify military ordnance, including; the construction, operational use, firing sequence of the item, and methods/source of information that are available.

Requisite Skills

Scene Examination

The investigator should have the skill to inspect and evaluate the post blast scene, so as to evaluate and establish the scene perimeters, scene security, establish a command post, establish documentation procedures for personnel entering and exiting the crime scene, establish entry and exit paths for scene investigators, establish staging areas for investigators, determine safety concerns, determine needed investigative assistance, determine legal authority to conduct the scene investigation, understand and apply the scientific method, determinate evidence collection/ preservation, as well as, control procedures, determine measures to prevent/reduce scene contamination, determine potential items of evidentiary value, determine the type of explosion involved, determine the seat of the explosion (if present), determine the delivery method of the device, determine initial construction and general appearance of the device, location of victims (if applicable), and possible responsible person(s).

Documenting the Scene

The investigator should be able to create a general diagram of the scene utilizing recognized methods, photographing or directing photographs, and taking field notes to which a final report will be made.

Evidence Collection/Preservation

The investigator should have the skill to find evidence at a bomb scene, collect evidence at a bomb scene, using appropriate methods, procedures, and techniques.


The investigator should have the skill to obtaining information from individuals with direct or indirect knowledge of the incident.

Post-Incident Investigation

The investigator should have the skill to identify when and how to obtain specialized investigative techniques to assist in the overall post blast investigation.

Documentation/Presentation of Investigative Results

The investigator should have the skill to properly document and present the investigative results in a factual and accurate manner.


"NBSCAB has reviewed this program and expressed its support and recognition of the certification" (per January 2015 NBSCAB National Strategic Plan for U.S. Bomb Squads)