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What is professional certification?

The Employment Support Professional Certification Council (ESPCC) developed the Certified Employment Support Professional™ (CESP™) certification program to set a standard of knowledge and distinguish employment support professionals who have shown they have the skill and competence to perform the requirements of the job.

According to the Institute for Credentialing Excellence (ICE), the trade association for the professional certification industry, certification is the voluntary process by which a non-governmental entity grants a time-limited recognition and use of a credential to an individual after verifying that he or she has met predetermined and standardized criteria. It is the vehicle that a profession or occupation uses to differentiate among its members, using standards, sometimes developed through a consensus-driven process, based on existing legal and psychometric requirements.

In simpler terms, a certifying agency, (the ESPCC) grants a credential to an individual who has demonstrated, by passing an exam, they have the knowledge and skill required to perform the job of an employment support professional.

What is CESP™ Certification?

  • CESP™ certification is a national credential for Employment Support Professionals who assist people with disabilities in finding and maintaining regular, community-based employment.
  • The CESP™ credential is earned by passing a comprehensive examination based on national standardized competencies.
  • CESP™ certification is a complement to program certification and licensing, demonstrating a level of professionalism that has been achieved.
  • The CESP™ certification is a national, portable, individual credential that remains valid for 3 years.

What Training Programs Fail to Offer

APSE often receives requests for information on training and certificate options. Given that the CESP™ is a certification, it is important for Employment Professionals and Training Providers to be aware of the following.

Training programs offer a certificate of attendance or completion when an individual participates in coursework, which is different from a credential. Some training programs may require individuals to pass a content-driven exam. These exams are not based on nationally standardized competencies and are not administered by an independent professional organization. A training certificate demonstrates that at a single point in time an individual completed a course, rather than showing the person has the skills and knowledge to perform all of the requirements of a particular job.

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