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Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible to sit for the CPO® examination, a candidate must meet the following eligibility requirements. BCPO® is required to audit a certain percentage of all applications. In the event of an audit, the candidate must be prepared to provide supporting documentation for these requirements.

  1. Qualified candidates must have a minimum of a high school diploma or equivalent.
  2. As a part of the application process, candidates must agree to adhere to the Code of Ethics for Certified Professional Organizers.
  3. Candidates must be prepared to document a total of 1,500 hours of paid work experience in the last three (3) years. This paid work experience may include but is not limited to on-site organizing, coaching, consulting, training, virtual organizing, interactive workshops and speaking engagements, which, through client collaboration, transfers, teaches or demonstrates organizing skills.

Up to 250 substitute hours of the required 1,500 can be earned via college degrees, relevant paid work experience prior to becoming an organizer, or military service - all of which can be accrued at any time prior to applying for the examination. Substitute hours may also be earned via continuing education courses or professional development activities in the organizing field, or organizing related writing and speaking engagements, if accrued in the three years prior to the application date, as detailed below.

Candidates may claim a maximum of 250 hours of credit towards the required 1,500 hours of paid work experience from one or more of the following substitute categories:

A. Formal Education
(non-cumulative, 100 hours credit maximum)

  • AA Degree, 50 hours credit
  • Bachelor's Degree, 75 hours credit
  • Advanced Degree, 100 hours credit

B. Organizing-Related Professional Activities
(within the last 3 years)

  • Public speaking, actual hours, maximum of 10 hours credit
  • Publishing organizing-related books, 20 hours credit per book, maximum of 40 hours credit
  • Authoring organizing-related articles (minimum 500 words per article), 10 hours credit per published article, maximum of 30 hours credit
  • Presenting webinars, podcasts, teleconferences and e-courses, actual hours, maximum of 10 hours credit
  • Teaching/Training, actual hours, maximum of 10 hours credit
  • Mentoring/Apprenticeship, actual hours, maximum of 10 hours credit
  • Volunteering as an organizer, actual hours, maximum of 10 hours credit
  • Professional association membership, 10 hours credit
  • Serving on an organizing association's Board of Directors, 10 hours credit

C. Continuing Education Courses relating to Organizing
(within the last 3 years)

For each course, the candidate may claim the actual hours attended, to a cumulative total of 250 hours. Sixty minutes of coursework is equal to one credit hour regardless of any number of continuing education units (CEUs) another institution may have awarded for completion of the course.

D. Relevant Paid Work Experience Prior to Becoming an Organizer

25 hours credit per full-time year (maximum 3 years or 75 hours credit.) Experience must include the same criteria for teaching, transfer, or demonstration of organizing skills as described in the 1500 hours requirement.

E. Military Service

10 hours credit per year (maximum of 5 years or 50 hours credit) for military service.

Recertification

After initial certification, recertification is required every three (3) years. You may recertify by completing one of the following sets of steps prior to your recertification date.

  1. Confirm that you have entered 45 or more eligible CEUs in the CPO®-only area on the BCPO® web site.
  2. Submit an application for recertification, including asserting to continued practice as a Professional Organizer and abiding by the BCPO® Code of Ethics.

OR

  1. Submit an application for recertification, including asserting to continued practice as a Professional Organizer and abiding by the BCPO® Code of Ethics.
  2. Schedule and pass the examination.

If a CPO® chooses to recertify by examination and fails, at the end of the then-current term, his/her credential expires, and he/she may no longer use the CPO® designation. Upon receiving a failing score, the CPO® is not eligible to re-take the examination for recertification.

If the CPO® meets the current eligibility requirements for initial certification, including earning 1500 work hours in the three years prior to sitting for the exam, he or she would be eligible to submit an application to take the current examination as a new candidate. A new candidate, upon receiving a failing score, is eligible to re-take the examination.

You will not be able to recertify if you have not kept your Annual Maintenance Fee (AMF) current. When you receive notice 60 days prior to your Recertification date, you will also be reminded that the AMF will be due for the first year of your new term.

Important notices and reminders for Recertification and your Annual Maintenance Fee (AMF) payments are sent by email. You are responsible for keeping a current email address on file, using the “Edit My Info” selection from the CPO®-only menu on this website.

Recertification FAQs

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