Are certification and licensure the same thing?

Certifications and licenses are NOT the same. A license is issued by a government and allows one to practice a profession. In fact, it may be a criminal act to practice without a license. Though typically not required by law, certification lets the public know that a practitioner has been professionally recognized by a credentialing agency. It is also a sign of support for the profession and the standards set by the credentialing organization.

How do I determine which certification is best for me?

There is no “one way” to determine which (if any) ASIS certification suits you. That said, the CPP™ is designed for security managers, the PCI™ is designed for investigators, and the PSP™ is designed for those in the physical security field. If you are still not sure which to choose, try looking at the contents of each designation’s exam. The certification with an exam that most closely matches your expertise is probably the one to pursue.

CPP™ Examination Content

PCI™ Examination Content

PSP™ Examination Content

I have already successfully obtained one ASIS certification. Is it necessary to apply for one or both of the other designations as well?

Since each of the three certifications are designed for a specific type of security professional (security manager, investigator, and physical security professional), in general only one will be right for you. There are, however, people who have chosen to obtain more than one ASIS designation. Typically these are CPPs™ who want to demonstrate not only security management expertise, but also specific, specialized knowledge of physical security or investigations.

I have a great deal of experience in security management/investigations/physical security. Why do I have to take an examination, when this should be proof enough of my competence?

The Professional Certification Board (PCB) feels strongly that examination is an essential component of our certifications. The CPP™, PCI™, and PSP™ exams were designed by qualified test development professionals and according to internationally accepted procedures. Just as important, security management, investigations, and physical security professionals determined the questions and contents of the exams, so that the tests accurately reflect the knowledge and skills of prized in the security industry.

Furthermore, the practice of awarding certifications through experience alone is not accepted by accrediting organizations in the certification field, and ASIS wishes to maintain the highest possible credibility for its certification programs.

Does the fact that more individuals are obtaining ASIS certifications dilute their value?

The value of our certifications will not be diluted as long as the knowledge measured and the scoring parameters are consistent from year to year. The most likely effect of more individuals holding the designations is a greater public awareness of the meaning of the designation and the recognition of its value by security professionals like you.

Does ASIS plan to introduce any other certifications in the near future?

At present, ASIS and the Professional Certification Board are concentrating on promoting and supporting the CPP™, PCI™, and PSP™ designations. Preparing new certifications takes an enormous amount of time and effort to develop the areas for testing, identify references, create and validate questions, etc. A large number of potential exam candidates is also a requirement, of course.

Many people have suggested that ASIS should offer certifications in the rapidly growing computer/network security field. Our research into computer security indicates that there are several successful organizations and certifications already in existence. At this time it would be difficult to provide a new and unique certification in the computer security arena when so much is already in place.

Applying for the Exams

I don’t feel comfortable submitting my social security number with the application. Is it really required?

A social security number is no longer required, and that question will be removed from future versions of the CPP™, PCI™, and PSP™ applications.

I didn’t receive a confirmation email from ASIS after I submitted my certification application online. Did it go through?

After receiving an application online for the CPP™, PCI™, or PSP™ examinations, the system should send you two emails. One will be a receipt of payment, and the other a list of your submissions. If you do not receive these emails, either the system does not have your correct email address or the application did not go through. Please contact the certification program office if you have any questions or problems related to online applications.

Preparing for and Taking the Examination

Does ASIS International or my local chapter offer any resources to help me prepare for the CPP™, PCI™, or PSP™ examination?

Many local ASIS chapter offer organized study programs, a lending library of reference materials, or other resources that can help a certification exam candidate prepare for the CPP™, PCI™, or PSP™ tests. See this page (pdf) for more information on exam preparation resources in your local chapter. If nothing is available, you may consider starting your own program. See Creating a Chapter-Level Preparation Program for more information.

Certification reference materials are continually updated, so be sure to use the current versions that are listed on the Web site.

Although the website and other official ASIS publications state that the CPP™ exam has 200 questions, I have heard that the examination actually contains 225 questions.Is this true?

Yes, although only 200 of the 225 questions are scored. Twenty-five un-scored “prototype” questions are randomly dispersed throughout the exam form. PES, the organization which runs our examinations, uses the data from these questions to determine whether they are suitable to use as real, scored questions on later forms of the test.


What is a “recertification term?”

The recertification term is the period of time between passing the CPP™, PCI™, or PSP™ examination, and the deadline for submitting sufficient credits to recertify. This is three years for the CPP™ and PCI™, and two years for the PSP™. Please also keep in mind that recertification terms always expire at the end of the year. For example, a CPP™ who passed the exam in April of 2001 would have until December 31, 2004 to submit the full number of credits.

How often should I report my recertification activities?

At the very least, you must report your activities by the end of your recertification period. We recommend, however, that you report your activities as often as possible.

I’ve let my certification lapse. What can I do now?

If it has been less than one year since the deadline for recertification, you may take advantage of the grace period.

Between January 1st and June 30th of the year following the recertification term, a total of seventeen credits and a $90.00 fee is required to reinstate the CPP™ designation (one additional credit and a $30.00 late fee); a total of eighteen credits and a $90.00 fee is required (two additional credits and a $30.00 late fee) between July 1st and December 31st. (Non-member late fee is $110.00.) Recertification after a lapse of twelve months or more will require completing the full examination process.

Are ASIS-related activities automatically reported?

All activities related to ASIS International’s headquarters are automatically reported. This includes the credits you receive for membership, attendance at the annual Seminar, volunteer positions, and so on. Activities at the chapter-level of ASIS may not be automatically reported, however.

Please note that ASIS-related activities have only been automatically reported since 2002. If you have any unreported activities from 2001, please make sure to submit them.

Can I submit my activities online?

CPPs™ can submit their credits through the online credit submission form. PCIs™ and PSPs™ can download a credit submission form and submit it via email, fax, or mail. All of these resources are available in the recertification section of the site.

Do I need to submit a separate recertification form for my CPP™, PSP™ or PCI™ recertification?

Yes. If you hold more than one ASIS certification, you will need to submit recertification credits separately for each certification. This is true even if some or all of your activities qualify for credit under more than one certification.

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