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Frequently asked questions about Certification
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Certification Registration (Includes Manual, Examination and Certification Certificate)
Exam Name Non-member Price Retest Member Member Retest
CPC Registration $600.00 $300.00 $300.00 $150.00
CTS Registration $600.00 $300.00 $300.00 $150.00





What does it mean to be certified?

Certification has multiple meanings that are worthy of consideration by those engaged in search and staffing work. First, it is a process through which an organization---the National Association of Personnel Services---grants recognition to individuals that meet certain peer-established criteria. Those criteria indicate that the certified individual has mastered a body of knowledge or set of skills determined to be important or essential to the practice of their profession.

In the NAPS case, the body of knowledge represents the employment laws of the nation and how they relate to the day to day functioning of the search and staffing professional. Mastery of that body of knowledge is determined by passing a certification examination. Further, certification means that individuals achieving this professional designation agree to abide by the professional and ethical standards of the organization and engage in ongoing continuing education to keep their knowledge and skills current.

How are the CPC, CTS and CERS certificates similar and different?

The Certified Personnel Consultant (CPC) certificate was created more than 50 years ago to focus on the work of the direct-hire recruiter and consultant and the laws that govern these types of employment transitions. The Certified Temporary Staffing-Specialist (CTS) designation followed to address the emerging work in temporary staffing and the laws that impacted such work. Many individuals in blended practices seek both the CPC and CTS credentials. There are no length-of-service requirements for those seeking certification.

NAPS created the Certified Employee Retention Specialist (CERS) certification in 2006 to educate search and staffing professionals in the exemplary employee engagement and retention practices that would allow them to serve in a consulting capacity on matters of this nature with their clients.

What is the process whereby I can achieve NAPS certification?

Individuals seeking CPC and CTS certification should follow these steps:

  • Register online here, pay the registration fee and receive the CPC or CTS training manual.
  • Develop a personal program of study to gain mastery of the information in the training manual.
  • Participate in a NAPS Certification Immersion Class (CIC) to compliment personal study. (Optional) A paper/pencil version of the examination is administered at the end of the CIC.
  • Sign on here and take the CPC or CTS certification examination.



Do I have to be a NAPS member to be certified?

No. It is not a requirement to be a NAPS member in order to be certified. You do save 50% on certification fees and additional discounts on continuing education credits if you are a member. In order to receive a member discount, join NAPS and then register to take your exam using your new member login information. You can learn more about NAPS membership and join here.


What is included in the “body of knowledge” contained in the CPC and CTS training manuals?

Both the CPC and CTS training manuals address all of the federal laws and policies that govern the hiring and employment process. Subjects in both manuals include the laws of discrimination, application and interview practices and contracts. The CPC manual includes content related to the recruitment and direct hire process, including such topics as advertising and reference checking. The CTS manual addresses employer/employment definitions, the screening and selection of temporary workers and the laws unique to temporary services work.

Tell me more about the certification examinations?

Both the CPC and CTS examinations have 150 questions. Applicants for certification must answer 113 (75 percent) correctly in a two hour period in order to earn certification. All of the questions are either multiple choice, true/false or multiple choice based on case situations where various employment laws are applied to search and staffing industry situations.

What are the requirements for the CERS certificate?

Professionals wishing to achieve the Certified Employee Retention Specialist (CERS) certificate must study selected professional reading materials and participate in a training program that is offered at the annual NAPS Conference and additional venues. Following participation in the training programs, applicants will sit for the CERS certification examination. Register online here for information about the next CERS Program.

Is certification mandatory?

Certification is voluntary, unlike licensure which is mandated by a state to practice in certain occupational roles. As a voluntary standard, certification is viewed at that “extra step” taken in ones’ personal and professional development, a signal to their peers, as well as the candidates and clients they serve, that they strive to be the very best at their profession. Certification, however, can also be a standard or qualification that search and staffing firms require for their direct hire and temporary staffing service consultants.

How will my certification be acknowledged?

Upon satisfactory passing of the certification examination, NAPS will issue an official CPC, CTS or CERS certificate for you to display appropriately in your place of business. In addition, your certification will be posted on the NAPS National Registry of Certified Staffing Industry Professionals.

At this point, the individual achieving certification is encouraged to place their certification designation after their name on print and email communications, on firm websites and all communiques that are used to call their business services to the attention of clients and candidates.

What must I do to maintain my certification?

Maintenance of certification is dependent upon continued adherence with NAPS professional and ethical standards and participation in ongoing professional development and continuing education.

The current NAPS certification program rules require that all CPCs and CTSs earn 17 continuing education hours (often referred to as contact hours) or 1.7 continuing education units (CEUs) in each year following certification. Of the 17 hours 4 of them should be from NAPS either through webinars or the credential newsletter.  Additional information about continuing education can be found here.

What is the bottom-line reason I should become certified?

More than anything certification is a symbol of the professionalism of the individual who holds the certificate. It is the “badge” that tells candidates and clients that the search and staffing professional has studied the laws governing the workplace, learned the ethics of the employment transition and submitted personally to an examination of that knowledge.

Let’s face it---people seeking services and firms identifying business partners include professionalism as one of their “due diligence” filters. In a competitive business environment, it is reasonable to assume they will be more likely to seek the services of those who are wearing the NAPS badge.

NAPS certification reflects an:

  • Acknowledgement of and adherence to professional and ethical standards
  • Commitment to continuing education
  • Commitment to career development
  • Desire for increased professional and public visibility
Certification is much more than a framed certificate to hang on the office wall. It says something about the occupant of that office and what she or he has done and will do to ensure excellence in their chosen work. Certification will earn the individual a respect and attention not currently present.

What does certification mean for search and staffing firms?

Since the inception of the NAPS certification program more than fifty years ago, firm owners and managers have reported numerous benefits from their support and encouragement of these credentials. Specifically, search and staffing firms will find:

  • Enhanced productivity by certified members of the firm team
  • Greater confidence by professionals as the perform their roles
  • Knowledgeable staff members working within the legal and ethical standards of the employment transitions, and
  • Most importantly----a positive impact on the firm's business and revenue
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