November 2017 Update
Dear AASP Members: As a professional courtesy, the Certification Council would like to provide information about the operation of the Council and how members can provide input and pose questions to the Council.
The Council welcomes any feedback and/or questions at any time regarding certification procedures and/or the processes used and decisions made by the Council at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here are some specific questions and answers, respectfully provided, that we hope are helpful to members in understanding the workings of the Council.
Why was the certification program revised?
Overall, the certification program was revised to make it more meaningful for consumers, and to get our product "out there" to the public with greater visibility and professional influence. This professional visibility should increase as we pursue national accreditation status for our certification through the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA). We will submit our application for accreditation in January 2019.
What are the main changes in the new program, and where can I find these?
The updated certification program includes a mandatory examination, revised coursework/educational experiences and mentored requirements, updated Continuing Education requirements, and a change in credential name to Certified Mental Performance Consultant or CMPC. Accreditation by the NCCA requires that we use an exam to assess competency in knowledge domains related to the practice of sport psychology.
All specific information about the revised certification program can be found on the AASP website under the Certification tab in the Certification Program Candidate Handbook.
Why was CC-AASP changed to CMPC in the revised certification program?
The Council believes that Certified Mental Performance Consultant (CMPC) provides a descriptive credential name of the work or services being offered. CMPC, used as a title by some, explicitly states the focus of services and is viewed by the Council as a needed step to increase the visibility and professional presence of applied sport psychology services provided by our field.
CC-AASP included AASP in the mark to implicitly indicate the consultant was practicing sport psychology as represented by AASP (indirect and assumed, due to legal protection of psychology terms). Many, even most, people might prefer Sport Psychology Consultant (which is used in the published literature), but we cannot use this term when practicing and offering services.
The focus of certification is specifically on mental performance. The term "performance" is recognizable and relevant to coaches and athletes, as well as to performers in other domains. The term "mental performance" is operationally defined per the Job Task Analysis as "helping clients develop and use mental, life, and self-regulatory skills to optimize involvement, enjoyment, performance, and personal development." Although our certification requirements include coursework and supervised experience in sport, consultants can also work to enhance mental performance in other domains (as many are already doing in the military, performing arts, and the business world). The term "consultant" was included in the previous CC-AASP mark and its meaning remains the same in the new CMPC mark.
Why did the fees increase to apply for certification and recertification?
The fees were set based on the development of a budget projected to "break even" in 2018. The initial certification fee of $375 is congruent with other national certification programs, where the mean was $368 in 2014 (with our program being smaller than most). Other than the updated recertification fee every five years ($125 after taking the exam), CMPCs will continue to pay $25 in annual certification fees as before. Those recertifying and taking the exam at the same time will pay $275, but this is a one-time exam fee that covers our costs of administering the exam at professional computer-based testing sites.
How does the Certification Council work, and why can't AASP members vote democratically on motions about certification?
Per NCCA standards, the Certification Council's purpose is to develop, maintain, and oversee the operation of the certification program for applied sport psychology professionals (Certification Council Governance Charter, 2016). The Council must "ensure stakeholder representation," and "ensure autonomy in decision-making over all essential certification activities" (NCCA Standards for the Accreditation of Certification Programs, 2014, p. 4).
As an accredited certification program, the mode of operation for all such programs is very different than we have been used to in AASP. In our Council orientation with a consultant preparing us for NCCA accreditation, the issue of "undue influence" was emphasized as "pressures that diminish or negate the Council's ability to act freely on behalf of the interests of the certification program." This can include pressure from the parent organization to adjust standards or requirements. The idea is that our certification program now represents the interests of the general public more than the interests of AASP. The public interest requires direct protection of essential certification decisions from undue or improper influence. Furthermore, "Such protection is especially important when a certification program is sponsored by a professional membership association" (NCCA Standards for the Accreditation of Certification Programs, 2014, p. 5).
This is what is very different from the former CC-AASP certification program, where the certification was specifically for AASP members. The Council is learning to get used to this new focus on operating and making decisions in the best interest of the public and the certification program, as opposed to the best interest of AASP as an organization. We understand that this is a radical change in certification governance, and we have to consider this in making Council decisions.
This is why the Council should seek and consider input from current CMPCs/AASP members, but cannot be bound by any motions or democratic votes at a business meeting about certification - the Council is an independent entity out of necessity. However, the Council's decision-making processes should be transparent and clear. Every attempt will be made by the Council to provide a rationale for any decisions that are made, and as stated previously, we are open at any time to answer questions or explain Council actions.
Why isn't the Certification Council itself engaging in "undue influence" of the AASP certification program?
There are two ways that the Council attempts to avoid "undue influence" within the Council itself. First, NCCA standards require that there is always carefully balanced representation on the Council. Council members are balanced to represent members from sport science and psychology as well as diversity in gender, race/ethnicity, age, geographic location, practice areas, educational backgrounds, and employment experience (Certification Council Policy Manual, Policy #103). Also, the Council must always include a member from the community who represents the public.
Second, due to this autonomous decision-making power, the Council attempts to follow careful and deliberate processes in all decision-making and policy development. The Council must adhere to all requirements in the Certification Program Policy Manual. For example, we have strict guidelines about voting processes, composition of committees appointed by the Council, confidentiality guidelines, and Council nomination and election processes.
An annual audit is conducted by a third party to review the consistent application of all certification policies, fair and timely certification and recertification reviews, required security procedures, examination policies and procedures, etc. This audit is a quality assurance measure to ensure the consistent application of policies and procedures, to detect needed corrective measures, and identify opportunities for improvement (Certification Council Policy Manual, Policy #304).
How can AASP members provide input to the Council?
Emails can be sent at any time to email@example.com. At the AASP Annual Conference, the Council will staff a CMPC Certification Program table in the registration area to answer questions and listen to member concerns and feedback. A Certification Council suggestions or feedback box will also be provided at the conference.
The Council will attempt to offer a webinar once a year to provide a certification overview/update followed by a question and answer period. Along with the typical program offerings to students, professionals, and current CMPCs (breakfast) at the annual AASP Annual Conference, the Council will ask to be included on the agenda for any questions at the business, Fellows, Past-Presidents, and student meetings. Special Interest Groups and AASP committees are welcome to invite a Council representative to attend their meetings if they have questions or wish to provide feedback.
How can members become involved with the Council?
The Council oversees multiple committees to get various tasks completed for the certification program, so we invite members to volunteer for these committees. Examples include serving as Subject Matter Experts (SMEs), on the Exam Development Committee (e.g., item-writing and review), Application Review Committee, Recertification Review Committee, and the Reconsideration Committee. CMPCs can also self-nominate or be nominated by another when the call for Certification Council nominations is made. Approximately every 5-7 years, all CMPCs are invited to participate in the job analysis survey, which allows everyone to directly influence the content of the certification exam.
What are the goals in 2018 for the certification program?
The Certification Council identified the following goals for 2018. A main overriding goal is to submit an application for NCCA accreditation in January 2019, and to successfully gain accreditation status by May 2019.
- Establish an effective Application Review Committee process that reflects quality and consistency in application review standards
- Establish an effective recertification review process for quality/consistency in standards
- Refine and enhance the certification exam through data analysis and item writing
- Establish working committees and ensure certification tasks are completed according to timeline
- Begin the NCCA accreditation application and ensure program processes follow NCCA standards
- Engage in initial marketing/outreach of CMPC program in concert with the Executive Board
- Plan and deliver educational certification sessions for the AASP 2018 Annual Conference
Overall, we hope that this information is helpful in understanding the changes in the certification program. The work of the Council is very challenging as we attempt to implement all the newly developed policies and procedures, but we are confident in the merits of the revised program and believe that it will enhance professional practice in sport psychology.