Posts Tagged ‘certification’

Wendy Lowe: Improve your professional status!

April 25, 2016 Leave a comment

iap2mcp3Give your career a boost –
Get Certified by IAP2

Prove to your customers, employers, clients, or co-workers that you are a skilled and knowledgeable p2 practitioner. Many of us work in professional isolation, surrounded by other sorts of professionals like engineers, health care specialists, educators, or environmental scientists. When they question our professional judgment, we wonder, how can I prove that I know what I am doing?

Get Certified! Architects do it, engineers do it, facilitators do it, and public relations specialists do it. The idea is hardly new. Here is an example from another profession, the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP), which certifies planners. Their website reads:

“The most recent APA/AICP Planners Salary Survey shows that certified planners earn more than non-certified planners, even when experience and responsibility are considered. It also opens more career opportunities, and can enhance a planner’s professional credibility.”

The same website goes on to note:

“Planners with an AICP certification have the academic qualifications, relevant work experience, and mastery of essential skills required to serve communities effectively. Hiring a certified planner demonstrates your commitment to the highest standard of ethical practice.”

Until 2015, no professional organization offered this type of rigorous vetting for Public Participation Practitioners (P2 Practitioners). The time is now, the opportunity is here, IAP2 USA now offers professional certification! IAP2’s certification program will do for P2 Practitioners what AICP has done for planners.

What exactly is professional certification? Professional certification entails independent verification by a panel of expert peers that a candidate has the qualifications to perform against a set of standards developed by the profession. Candidates can’t just brag about what they know and can do. Practitioners have to prove it by completing an assessment and demonstrating that they meet the core competencies required to do quality public participation work.

“I already took the IAP2 training. Why am I not certified?” Taking a training program, no matter how rigorous and well designed, does not provide validation of a candidate’s capability of using the information taught in a training program without formal testing and assessment.

IAP2’s Foundations Program is a 5-day training developed by practitioners for practitioners and covers the basic, essential information and skills all practitioners need to design, implement, and evaluate an effective public participation program. One of the reasons the Foundations program was renamed – from Certificate training – in 2014 was to avoid this misconception about “certification.” IAP2 USA has adopted this training because it covers the basic principles, information, and essential skills that are necessary for effective and ethical work in our field. There is no other training program that covers that material. For that reason, IAP2 USA’s Professional Certification program includes a pre-requisite of having completed the Foundations training program. Taking the training is a good start, but it is not enough. Certification can be earned after that training has been put into practice – much like a doctor doing a residency program.

The Certification Program is much more than a 5-day training program. It is based on a set of core competencies, developed in consultation with IAP2 members from around the world. It entails a three-step process designed to evaluate candidates’ performance against those core competencies. Submission of an application and portfolio of work products allows candidates to document prior work. Development of a response to a case study allows candidates to demonstrate their ability to perform P2 work. Finally, candidates have the opportunity to demonstrate a set of skills that are hard to verify using only written evidence at an in-person Assessment Center. These three steps provide the proof that candidates have what it takes to earn the highest credential for working in our field.


Your name here!

You can do it! Get Certified!
Raise the standards for the field of public participation and do your part to improve the practice. Those who achieve certification are a reflection on IAP2. Like a Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval, the professional certification program provides tangible evidence that IAP2 USA as an organization stands behind those who are certified and documents the organization’s confidence that they are capable of delivering public participation work that meets the highest standards and adheres to the ethical principles and core values that guide IAP2.

Please visit the IAP2 USA Certification webpage for further information about this new program. And if you are excited to have the body of your work evaluated, please submit an application by May 26 to be eligible for the next Assessment Center!

Certified-Certificate-Certification?? What’s in a word?

November 11, 2015 2 comments
Brenda Pichette

Brenda Pichette

Brenda Pichette, of the IAP2 Certification Task Force, explains why having a “Certificate” or attending the “Certificate Course” is not the same as being “Certified”.

Let’s bring some clarity to all of this. As P2 professionals we are starting to see IAP2 Certification as pre-requisites for jobs and for requirements in RFPs. That’s awesome: the public participation world out there is starting to recognize IAP2 as the standard-setter for the practice of P2. IAP2 has been developing and setting standards for the practice of public participation for more than twenty years. Yes, twenty years!

So here is where we are at. The five-day IAP2 “Certificate Program” (now called the Foundations course) offers you a “Certificate of Attendance”, but that is not the same as being “certified”. That’s because to date there has been no form of assessment to confirm that participants have the ability to apply knowledge and skills covered in the training, and attending the Foundations course cannot cover all the essential competencies in one short week. Again, attending the Foundations Course is not certification.

What is Certification?

Certification is a credential bestowed on an individual who can demonstrate that they have the essential competencies necessary for a profession. Certification requires successful completion of a formal assessment program to confirm an individual’s knowledge and skills. Certification identifies that an individual is qualified to perform a job or task and serves as a professional reference.

Certification often requires completion of specified courses, passing an exam, and/or assessment by an independent panel. Certification is not accreditation or licensing. Those processes have different purposes.

IAP2 is developing a Certification Program and once you successfully complete the 3 part assessment you will be certified. The IAP2 Foundations Program is a knowledge prerequisite for the Certification Program. The Foundations Program demonstrates basic understanding of the important principles and aspects of public involvement, as practiced by IAP2.

Professional certification will recognize the many individuals who already possess the essential competencies of a P2 practitioner – and provide an achievable goal for people joining our profession. If you haven’t already, please visit the webpage on the Certification Task Force. There, you can watch the webinars that have been developed to help you understand the program, the development and assessment process.

And please

PLEASE SPREAD THE WORD AND HELP US EDUCATE THE P2 WORLD ABOUT THIS. A certificate of attendance does not equate to certification.

Let’s Celebrate!

November 11, 2015 1 comment

Many of you have been asking for IAP2 Certification well it is here and we have a reason to celebrate! Yahoo, Yippee, WOW!

IAP2 USA is pleased to announce the completion of its pilot Assessment Center for the new professional certification program. We are even more pleased to announce that Steven Wolf, John Godec, and Douglas Sarno have all been awarded the Master Certified Public Participation Professional (MCP3).


The Task Force, which includes IAP2 USA members Debra Duerr, Tina Geiselbrecht, Cassie Hemphill, and Hannah Litzenberger as well as Brenda Pichette (representing IAP2 Canada) and Ken Smith (representing IAP2 Southern Africa), is chaired by Wendy Lowe, IAP2 USA Board member. Wendy reports that the Task Force remains hard at work finalizing its recommendation to the IAP2 USA Board for the final program and making plans for two 2016 Assessment Centers.

Wendy says, “I am so grateful to Steven, John, and Doug for participating in the pilot and helping the Task Force to learn more about the best way to assess candidates against the IAP2 Core Competencies. An amazing amount of work has gone into the program and it represents a huge step forward for IAP2. We are now able to say we can confirm which candidates have the essential skills for practicing authentic work in our profession.”

Are you interested in Certification? Click here for more information.

President’s Message from David Hovde

July 27, 2015 Leave a comment

David Hovde, President

Greetings from Wisconsin!

If you’ve ever lived in the upper Midwest and/or northern climes in the U.S., you’ve either heard or said that there are really only two seasons – winter and road construction. The good news is that it can’t keep me from the good news, so here goes:

After a period of inactivity, the Georgia chapter of IAP2 is in a period of “renewal.” The first big step back toward being an active chapter is due to a dedicated and energetic group of folks who’ve organized a kick-off mixer scheduled for August 5. If you’re anywhere near the neighborhood, or if you’ve been thinking of taking a trip before summer is over, I encourage you to consider attending! Click here for more information.

There’s also a lot of new energy and enthusiasm about IAP2 USA in southern California! If you’re interested in learning more – or in participating in upcoming events – please contact Kit Cole at or call or text 818-822-6378. Or attend one of their upcoming events such as an informal get-together at the O Hotel or “Turbo Charge Your Efforts with Social Media”.

If you’ve been wondering when IAP2 USA would develop and offer a professional certification program, wonder no longer.

The pilot for the new professional certification program will launch in September this year, offering a 2-level certification award: Certified Public Participation Professional and Master Certified Public Participation Professional. Credentials are awarded upon completion and evaluation of a 3-step assessment of candidates, based on 5 core competencies that were identified through the membership consultation process.

The Certification Task Force (Yeah!) held a special webinar about the process earlier this month; 70 people from the U.S. and Canada participated and learned a lot, including how to apply. Applications are now closed but, we will continue to report out on the process – so look for more information soon.

I know that some of you have been putting off your registration for the 2015 IAP2 North American Conference. (For once, I did not procrastinate.) I encourage you to register as soon as possible for the best rate – the “Early Bird” registration rate is still available through the end of this month.

Click the link for the IAP2 North American Conference Schedule at a Glance. This will be a jam packed Conference with more than 50 sessions, sessions in the field, dynamic keynote speakers, an IAP2 Core Values Award Gala and more. You will need to sign up for the sessions in the field so take a look and get registered.

Speaking of the Core Values Awards, and procrastinating, it is not too early to start thinking about which of your projects might qualify for one of our field’s most prestigious and meaningful awards in 2016. For more information on the Core Values Awards click here and start planning now!

As you’re thinking ahead, keep the 2016 Skills Symposium in mind. Planning for this event is just getting underway, and there are several volunteer opportunities available. If you’d like to help shape this event, please contact Anne Carroll, chair of the Training committee.

Finally, as always, there are ongoing opportunities to help IAP2 USA serve members, advance the practice of public participation, learn and share knowledge and expertise. One important way you can do that is through service on our volunteer board. More information will be share over the coming months; in the meantime, please consider the possibilities.

I hope your summer is still wonderful. Oh, and I’ll see you in Portland in September.

Safe travels!

— David

We hit our goal of 100!

June 26, 2014 Leave a comment

We hit our goal of 100 participants!

The IAP2 USA Board of Directors convened a Task Force in November 2013 to develop recommendations for developing a professional certification program. A Task Force of 13 people (which includes two people from IAP2 Canada and one from IAP2 Southern Africa) has met a total of 16 times (!) so far. Our most recent effort has been to survey members and other professionals to solicit input for development into the “core competencies” that will shape the application and assessment process we will recommend.


In order to stimulate enthusiasm in our survey, we conducted four webinars to explain what we have accomplished to date, define what we mean by core competencies, and share our plans for moving forward. A total of 53 people participated in the webinars. And more than 100 people have participated in our survey!   This is a visual depiction of what we have heard so far:

Our next task will be sorting through all of that to find those fundamental competencies that the most competent among us share.

We will keep you posted. Keep an eye on our website to to stay informed of our doings. And drop us a line at if you have thoughts to share.

What Makes a P2 Practitioner Professional?

June 16, 2014 Leave a comment

Calling all procrastinators!  We are still very interested in hearing from you!  Please give us your best ideas for the core competencies that should be used to assess applicants for professional certification.  We are extending the survey for one more week to invite those of you who have been putting it off a final chance to send your thoughts.  The survey will now close at midnight on Monday, June 23.  Thanks so much!

For more information on the Certification Project please visit the website.

Oh, no, not another survey??

June 12, 2014 Leave a comment

Oh no, not another survey??  You’ll want to weigh in on this one…  We really want this program to reflect our membership.  Survey closes on June 15.

Curious – for more information on the development of the IAP2 Certification Program – please visit the IAP2 Certification Webpage.