Certification Program Updates

June 5, 2017

The Interim Certification Council (ICC) writes this message to keep you informed about our progress in the implementation of AASP’s new Certification Program. Since our last membership update in April, we have made significant progress on a number of additional issues, so this message is a little longer than our usual ones.

First, we want to take a few moments to clarify a few important points that may have been causing confusion.

Frequently Asked Questions

Since our initial update to the membership, the ICC has received numerous phone calls and emails requesting clarification on the information contained within the updates as well as questions regarding issues we have not yet completed. The ICC has been diligent in responding to each and every concern raised thus far, but has decided to create a link for “Frequently Asked Questions and Answers” regarding the new certification program. This document will be available on the AASP website within the certification link in the near future. We anticipate this being a “living document,” with regular updates as additional questions emerge.

Here are some of the answers to the FAQs we’ve received so far:

1) Although these updates are intended to keep the entire membership informed, please know that the updated coursework and mentorship requirements are designed for NEW applicants only. Individuals who are already certified under the original certification program and in good standing are not required to meet the new coursework and mentorship standards, as you have already met standards for certification in the past. However, all currently certified consultants must take and successfully pass the exam prior to their recertification date if they desire to remain certified.

2) The exam rollout date is October 1, 2017.  However, this is not an application “deadline.”  Rather, this is the first date that individuals will be able to submit their applications into the new certification program. The new program will have a rolling application date, and applicants will be able to submit their materials at any time for consideration and complete the exam at a time and location convenient for them.

3) As in the original program, applicants may not apply for consideration until both coursework and mentorship requirements have been satisfied and either an approved master’s or doctoral degree has been conferred. Further, potential applicants may start their mentored experience prior to completing all of their coursework and degree requirements. 

4) The knowledge areas in the new program (K1-K8) are almost identical to those in the original coursework sections (C1-C12). Even though the titles of the knowledge areas have changed a bit, the content required is the same. Specifically, C1: Professional Ethics and Standards in the original program required the same content as K1: Sport Psychology Professional Ethics and Standards: coverage of clinical, counseling, and/or sport psychology ethical principles (e.g., APA, ACA, AASP ethics code), rather than those topics traditionally referred to as “sport ethics” (e.g., the value of competition for positive moral development). Additionally, C5: Counseling Theories and Techniques and K5: Helping Relationships require similar content: basic theories of counseling (e.g., psychoanalytic, cognitive-behavioral, multimodal) and/or helping skills used to develop a professional philosophy of intervention with athlete-clients. Please review the information provided in the April ICC update letter for further information on how the original “C” areas align with the new “K” areas.

5) The new mentorship requirements make reference to the fact that 50% of the required mentored experience hours (i.e., 200) must be conducted with populations in “competitive sport.” This is a change from the original certification program in that the phrase “sport and exercise populations” has been replaced with “competitive sport populations.” The term competitive sport is intended to include competitive athletes, coaches, and those support personnel surrounding competitive athletes (e.g., athletic trainers, strength coaches, etc.). Competitive sport populations do not include those individuals involved in exercise and fitness (i.e., exercisers, fitness instructors, personal trainers working with exercise populations, etc.). Recall that the focus of the new certification program is on competitive sport and performance populations. Therefore, while applicants may certainly use their consulting work with exercise populations toward the 400 hour mentorship requirement, those hours will be counted within the context of “other performance populations” including high risk occupations, fine arts, military, corporate, etc. 

OK, on to the new stuff!

As per our last communication to the membership, you know that we have been working diligently to transition to a significantly updated certification program. Since the previous communication to the membership (April 2017), we have tackled five additional issues: 1) the establishment of a permanent Certification Council; 2) updated recertification requirements; 3) exam preparation materials; 4) an “Experienced Professional” pathway for certification into the new program; and 5) an updated mentorship log form reflecting the new mentored experience requirements.

Permanent Certification Council

The permanent Certification Council will be comprised of 9 voting members and 1 non-voting member: 4 AASP Fellows who are also CC-AASP, 4 members of AASP who are CC-AASP but not Fellows, 1 public member not associated with AASP or the professional practice of sport, exercise, and performance psychology, and as a non-voting member, the current Professional Standards Division Head of the AASP Executive Board. Terms of service for council members will be staggered; that is, some members will have 1-year terms, some will have 2-year terms, and some will have 3-year terms in order to maintain continuity of historical knowledge and proper procedure. In March, two nominating committees were established – one to nominate members representing the AASP Fellows headed by Bart Lerner, and the other to nominate both the non-Fellows and public member, including Vanessa Shannon,  Robin Vealey, and Duncan Simpson.  Nominations have been collected by both groups, and the ICC anticipates having the permanent Certification Council selected and in place by no later than July 1, 2017.  While the permanent Certification Council will certainly need time to get up to speed and begin their work, members of the ICC will continue to be available to them for support as well as to provide a historical perspective on how and why decisions regarding the updated certification program were made.

Recertification Requirements

The purpose of recertification requirements is to encourage ongoing learning and professional development through participation in activities designed to increase an individual’s knowledge, awareness, and/or skills in applied sport psychology. In the new certification program, these requirements have been expanded to both encourage more engagement in ongoing learning and to increase the types of activities that can be used to acquire continuing education credits.

Please click here to review the updated Recertification Requirements.

You will notice 3 significant changes:

1) The number of hours is significantly greater (raised from 6 to 75 over the five-year certification period), but the ways in which CC-AASPs may collect hours has been significantly expanded (e.g., AASP conference attendance, independent study options, creation/teaching of a first-time offering, etc.).

2) During each five-year certification period, CC-AASPs will be required to complete 6 CEUs of Diversity training and 6 CEUs of Ethics training. Further, for those CC-AASPs who choose to act as supervisors/mentors, 6 CEUs in Supervision training must be completed during each five-year certification period.

3) The timeline for Recertification has changed. There will now be a “standard” recertification period, a “late” recertification period and, when CC-AASPs miss the posted deadlines, a point after which certification status will “expire.”  You will also find policies and timelines for “reinstatement” from expired status.

These changes bring our certification program in line with other well-respected and established certification programs. However, the ICC recognizes that the changes to the Recertification Policies and Procedures are significant. 

We encourage you to fully review the information prior to forming any conclusions regarding the magnitude of the changes.

Exam Preparation Materials

One of the tasks of the organization moving forward will be creating an Examination Study Guide and handbook to assist applicants in their preparation for the Certification Examination. To assist individuals with exam preparation until that guide is completed, the ICC is in the process of creating a comprehensive Exam Reference List. This list includes references used to generate all the test items in the test bank (not just the exam items) plus other standard references used within the field. Again, this is intended to be a temporary resource until a more formal study guide/program is developed. Furthermore, although the references on this list were used to create the test items, utilizing this resource alone does not translate to guaranteed success on the examination.

The ICC is currently reviewing the reference list and, once approved, a link will be provided within the AASP website.

“Experienced Professional” Pathway to Certification

The accreditation process by the NCCA specifically prohibits “grandparenting.” Essentially, this means that all those seeking certification must successfully meet certification eligibility requirements and pass the exam, and all those currently certified (in order to maintain their certification) must successfully pass the exam. While this fact has been made clear to the membership, AASP has traditionally used the term “grandparenting” to signify a pathway for experienced professionals to become certified in the original certification program. 

The “Grandparent” criteria in the original program allowed those individuals who (a) completed their PhD prior to 1992, (b) had been actively involved in the organization, and (c) had made substantial contributions to both the literature and applied practice of sport psychology to become Certified Consultants. In point of fact, all individuals certified until 1994 were actually “grandparented” into the certification based on these requirements. Those individuals were certainly imminently qualified; but given the lack of graduate sport psychology programs available to these individuals during their academic careers, they simply would not have been able to meet the coursework requirements set forth in the original certification program. Although the number of applicants seeking to become certified under the “Grandparent” criteria has significantly declined over the years, the ICC believes that the qualifications and contributions of our more experienced practitioners merit what the NCCA refers to as an “alternative pathway” to meeting the requirements for AASP Certification.

The ICC is currently discussing the best way to move forward with the ‘Experienced Practitioner” pathway, and will provide specific information regarding this pathway in future member updates.

Updated Mentorship Log Form

Given the changes to the mentored experience guidelines for AASP Certification, the ICC has developed an updated log form on which applicants must record their experience and hours. The new form will calculate total hours as they are entered, making it far more user-friendly. This form takes effect immediately, meaning that all experience and hours must be shown on the new form when applying for AASP Certification beginning October 1, 2017. Applicants who submit past versions of the experiential log forms will be required to update the information prior to their application being considered.

It is suggested that future applicants, academic program directors, and individuals serving, or potentially serving, as mentors download a copy of the new log form for immediate use.

Click here to access the new Mentored Experience Hours Form.

As always, members of the ICC are available to answer your questions and respond to your concerns. Please feel free to reach out to any of the members below at the contact information provided.

Sarah Castillo (scastillo@nu.edu)
Stephany Coakley (stephccoakley@gmail.com)
Jack Watson (jack.watson@mail.wvu.edu)

Sincerely,

Interim Certification Council

April 2017 Update
February 2017 Update
December 2016 Update

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