Summary of steps for achieving and maintaining certification

Will you be a role model to others in the humanitarian sector? Lead the way by earning a certification

Step 1: Is certification right for you?

  • The certifications have been designed for (and by) experienced humanitarian practitioners whose positions require competency in the defined areas of the certifications. They are meant to be a mark of distinction for all those whose work calls for competency in the defined areas, at all levels. Senior management and leadership are encouraged to lead by example in pursuing and maintaining relevant certifications. The certifications are also accessible to those who are new to the sector, although they may require further preparatory work to pass the certification assessments.
  • The certifications are intended to recognize on-the-job learning, supplemented by study to fill in any gaps. No specific courses are required – you can use different learning paths depending on your needs and preferences. There are no specific experience or education prerequisites for these certifications, and therefore any interested person is welcome to take the certifications.
  • To ensure that knowledge and abilities remain up-to-date, the certifications are valid for a period of three years, at which time certificants may renew their certification through either re-assessment or approved continuing professional education activities.
  • All certificants must agree to the PHAP Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct. Please read this carefully to ensure that you are willing to uphold this Code.

Step 2: Decide which certification(s) you wish to pursue


Step 3: Prepare as needed and according to your preferences

  • Prepare as needed using a variety of available tools and resources. See the relevant Study Guide for each certification area for tips, resources, and pointers.
  • The recommended path for preparation is to start with a self-assessment (available in the Study Guide), take a free online Diagnostic Test and compare the results, and then focus your preparations on the specific areas (statements) of the body of knowledge where you have gaps. For this purpose, we suggest using the free resources mentioned in the Study Guide or any number of available online or face-to-face courses.
  • Again, note that there are no specific requirements for preparation (no required course). No particular method is most recommended – which is the best for you depends on your specific situation.
  • More information about preparation options can be found on the How To Prepare page and in Chapter 9 of the Candidate Handbook.

Step 4: Register with the PHAP Certification Assessment Center

  • To register with the PHAP Certification Assessment Center, you need to enter your name, email address, and identifying information. This is to ensure that you can be properly identified later when you sit for the assessment. for each certification area for tips, resources, and pointers.
  • Once you register, you have access to a free tutorial assessment to help familiarize yourself with the official assessment platform. Note that, unlike the certification assessment, the tutorial assessment is unproctored (i.e. not invigilated), so you will not be connected to a live remote proctor.
  • Before registering, be sure to read carefully in the Candidate Handbook about the entire certification process so that you understand all of the steps and requirements. This includes the fact that you will need to agree to a Candidate Agreement before you can take the assessment.
  • More information about registration options can be found in Chapter 10 of the Candidate Handbook.

Step 5: Purchase your assessment(s)

  • Purchase your certification assessment with a credit card directly in the PHAP Certification Assessment Center. You may purchase the different certification assessments individually ($80 each for non-members, $65 each for PHAP members) or in a package of all three certification assessments for a small discount.
  • In case you do not have a credit card, if you have difficulty with the payment processing through the PHAP Certification Assessment Center, or if you are an employer wishing to purchase a larger number of assessment credits, you may contact the PHAP secretariat at to arrange payment by other means.
  • Before purchasing your assessment(s), you should review once more the Candidate Agreement in the Candidate Handbook and PHAP Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct to ensure that you are prepared to agree to them.
  • Note that each assessment purchase comes with one free re-take in case you do not pass the assessment the first time. However, you will be required to wait for a minimum of seven days before the re-take.
  • More information about how to purchase your assessment can be found in Chapter 10 of the Candidate Handbook.

Step 6: Sit for your assessment(s)

  • Once your fee has been received, you will be able to take the assessment. If you purchased your assessment directly in the PHAP Certification Assessment Center platform, you will see it listed immediately under My Assessments. Otherwise, if you purchased an Enrollment Key from the PHAP secretariat or received one from your employer, you can redeem your Enrollment Key by typing it in the My Assessments section of the PHAP Certification Assessment Center.
  • PHAP Credentialing Program certification assessments are currently delivered as computer-based assessments with a live remote proctor connecting to your computer to monitor you using your webcam. To take the assessment, you will need a computer with a webcam, access to the Internet, two hours of time, and a private room where you can remain undisturbed for the duration.
  • You may sit for the assessment “on-demand,” whenever the moment is right for you (24 hours per day, 7 days per week, 365 days per year). In most cases, the waiting time for a proctor is less than five minutes. After the proctor has controlled your setup, you will be asked to agree to the Candidate Agreement, and then begin the 90 minutes allotted for the assessment.
  • Note that each assessment purchase comes with one free re-take in case you do not pass the assessment the first time. However, you will be required to wait for a minimum of three months before the re-take.
  • More information about scheduling and sitting for your assessment, including the technology requirements, can be found in Chapter 11 of the Candidate Handbook.

Step 7: Receive your results

  • You will receive your results immediately upon completing your assessment, including your overall score and your score in each of the domains of the body of knowledge.

Step 8: Display your certification(s)

  • All successful candidates who pass their certification assessment will be issued a secure, verifiable, shareable digital badge, through Credly Acclaim, as well as through HPass, (read more about PHAP’s digital badges), which will allow you to provide your peers and employers, as well as the crisis-affected people you serve, with easy, valid verification of your credentials, while positioning you at the forefront of this new technology for communicating professional commitment and skills.
  • You may also mention your certification on business cards, on your website, etc. It is important to follow the specific rules about this.
  • More information and rules regarding displaying your certification can be found in Chapter 14 of the Candidate Handbook. More information about the PHAP digital badges is available at /digital-badges

Step 9: Maintain your status

  • For each certification you are maintaining, as an individual certified under the PHAP Credentialing Program, you have two options available to you for maintaining your certified status and remaining up-to-date with changes in professional practice and required competencies in the defined areas.
    • Option 1: Earn 12 Continuing Education (CE) credits every three years (for each certification that you are maintaining through this option).
    • Option 2: Pass a new multiple-choice assessment in the same format as the assessment for initial certification (for each certification that you are maintaining through this option).
  • Additional information regarding re-certification can be found in Chapter 15 of the Candidate Handbook.

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As a proud member of ICE, we stay informed on best practices in developing and administering quality certification programs so that we may better serve you.

PHAP is proud to be a member of the Institute for Credentialing Excellence in show of our support of the credentialing community and our commitment to strive for excellence in our certification programs.


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The PHAP Credentialing Program is made possible through the Practitioner Competencies Learning Center, a joint initiative of the Humanitarian Leadership Academy, CHS Alliance, and PHAP working to develop solutions that strengthen competency-based approaches in the humanitarian sector at the individual and organizational level.


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