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What states have CESP related policies?

A CESP certification is a critical component to promote professionalism and elevate workforce development

Download: a 1-page resource about CESPs and the benefits to state funders of employment services or policymakers

Individuals that earn the designation of Certified Employment Support ProfessionalT™ demonstrate that they are among an elite group that is competent in best practices and possess the full range of skills needed to assist individuals with disabilities to succeed in employment. Certifications are valid nationwide and are recognized as a symbol of quality and pride. Testing is available throughout the year, with new individuals earning their certification each week!

If your state or funding agency is considering writing in competency-based requirements, check out for resources and information about what other states have done.

States at the forefront of Employment First recognize the benefits that Certified Employment Support Professional (CESP™) Certification brings to employers, people with disabilities, state agencies, and communities. APSE and our chapters continue to assist states as they:

  • Require CESP™ certification through Medicaid waivers and Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) requirements,
  • Offer a higher reimbursement rates for employment services for CESP™ certificate holders, and
  • Implement large-scale certification efforts, covering the cost of the exams for those who qualify. 

States Provide Incentives for Certification

South Dakota reimburses service providers who obtain the CESP™ certification and complete a two-day Person-Centered Thinking training. The state’s reimbursement is 25 percent above the current established employment services fee rates through the South Dakota Vocational Rehabilitation (VR).

In Ohio, the state vocational rehabilitation organization Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities (OOD) sponsored more than 1,000 test takers to sit for the CESP™ certification between 2017-2020.

Other states with similar CESP™ requirements through Medicaid waiver or VR include Iowa, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Tennessee.

Please see APSE's website for more information on Medicaid funding of waiver services.

“The CESP is a must for professionals working in the field of employment for people with disabilities. After decades of flat growth in employment, the CESP credential requires a level of expertise that hasn’t before existed for those working in the field! There is also an ongoing continuing education requirement for recertification. Invest in the future of employment support professionals and you are investing in everyone’s future– Pennsylvania has done this and is already seeing a 3% growth in employment for people with IDD and Autism.” Julia Barol, MEd, CESP Temple University Institute on Disabilities President, PA APSE

“The CESP is a great tool to help professionalize the direct support professional field. It helps providers, funders, and those receiving services know that they are working with someone that possesses a crucial base level of knowledge. The CESP can be used as a career ladder for direct support professionals for many years to come when incentivized with appropriate funding.” Justin Blumhorst, CESP Operations Leader, Capabilities Chair APSE Public Policy Committee Co-President, OH APSE

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