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Application FAQs

How does the application process work?

The first step is to complete an application. Two readers will evaluate your education, experience, and professional activity. Candidates who meet the standards are then invited to sit for the board-certifying CEP Assessment.

Any candidate who does not meet the standards will be provided with specific feedback about what they need to do to meet the standards. Often it is simply a matter of additional experience as an educational planner or participation in additional education or training programs. Reactivating an application at a later date does not require an additional application fee.

What are the components of the application?

Candidates for the CEP may be school-based college counselors or Independent Educational Consultants with specializations in Colleges, Boarding/Day Schools, or Therapeutic Programs and Schools. Thus their responses on the application will vary based upon their specialization. In general, though, the application solicits the following:

  • Information about your college degrees and additional relevant courses you’ve taken
  • Recent conferences, webinars, training institutes and workshops you have completed
  • Your relevant employment experiences
  • Your involvement with relevant professional organizations
  • Any professional presentations and/or writing you have done
  • Three professional references
  • A brief description of a recent case study from your personal experience
  • A list of 30 institutions or programs you have visited in the past five years
  • A commitment to the Principles of Good Practice

How many years of experience do I need to be certified?

Typically a successful candidate has at least four to five years of full-time experience as an educational planner, but there is not a specific number of years required. The paths leading to success in educational planning are varied and an appropriate background for one person may be very different than for someone else.

While the AICEP application includes many categories, almost no one will have relevant experience in every area, but the range of categories attempts to allow for a range of experiences. It is, however, fair to say that these credentials are not intended for a new professional – they are not entry-level credentials. They are intended for those who have demonstrated significant expertise and commitment.

Is a Master’s degree required?

Yes, but exceptions are made on the basis of experience in the field, including  a demonstration of extensive comparable experience or relevant certificate programs in educational consulting or college/school counseling . A Master’s degree has become the standard in many fields of education, but the Commission recognizes that people vary in their backgrounds and that educational planning is in many ways experiential. Hence, those candidates whose only deficit in the application is a lack of a Master’s degree are considered on a case-by-case basis.

Can you be more specific about whether I can be certified?

As a very rough gauge, look at the following list and check off those that are true of you:

  • Educational consultant or school counselor for four to five years
  • Paid experience that is directly or closely related to educational planning (for example, college counselor, admission officer, or special needs program head) for four to five years
  • Attendance at professional association meetings (NACAC, NAIS, IECA, HECA, LDA, etc.) for the last five years
  • Master's degree in a related field (or demonstrate extensive comparable experience, including relevant certificate programs) 
  • Speaking, or being a panelist at, related conferences or programs or writing on education-related themes
  • Leadership role(s) in an appropriate professional association
  • Educationally related volunteer service (sustained over three or more years)
  • Consulting to educational institutions
  • Other educational experiences or activities directly related to appropriate professional development in educational planning

If none of these are true of you, additional time is likely necessary before you can become certified. If in doubt, we'd like to talk to you. More examples follow in the next question.

Can you give me some examples of persons who qualified to take the assessment?

Sure. Here are the credentials of one independent educational consultant who qualified to take the assessment:

  • Master's degree in Human Development
  • Earned professional development hours through attending programs sponsored by the College Board and LDA.
  • Four years of conference attendance at HECA, IECA, and the state association of independent schools
  • Attendance at the IECA Summer Training Institute
  • Educational consultant for four years
  • College counselor at a public high school for three years
  • Speaker and/or moderator at several educational meetings

Here is an example of a high school counselor who earned the points necessary to move onto the assessment:

  • Master’s degree in Guidance and Counseling
  • High school college counselor for eight years
  • Writer of two articles about college admission
  • Panelist at three national or regional admission conference sessions
  • Attendance at many NACAC and Affiliate conferences
  • Chair of Admissions Practices Committee of NACAC Affiliate


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