My Professional Organizer

Professional Organizer Certification 101 | Is It Worth The Investment?

Obtaining a professional organizer certification can be a valuable investment for individuals who want to establish themselves as experts in the field of professional organizing.

However, it’s important to note that not all certifications are created equal. Some certifications may be more recognized and respected in the industry than others.

It’s important to research and choose a reputable certification program that aligns with your goals. This article will explore the top certifications available to help you make an informed decision. 

We’ll take a closer look at the requirements, cost, and advantages of joining each.

So, let’s dive in and explore the top certifications for professional organizers.

National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals (NAPO)

As one of the largest and most well-established professional organizer organizations, NAPO provides its members with a comprehensive certification program. The certification program is overseen by the Board of Certified Professional Organizers (BCPO), and those who earn certification must adhere to a set of standards agreed upon by the BCPO.

To become a NAPO-certified organizer, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Have a minimum of a high school diploma or the equivalent, such as a GED.
  • Must sign an agreement (as part of the application process) to adhere to the BCPO’s Code of Ethics for Certified Professional Organizers.
  • Provide documentation to prove a total of 1,500 hours of paid work experience in five years before the certification exam. 

According to NAPO, up to 250 hours of credit towards the required 1,500 hours of paid work experience can be from college credits, organizing-related professional activities, continuing education units (CEUs) related to organizing, prior relevant work experience, and military service.

Applicants can also submit hours for publishing books, paid speaking arrangements, publishing articles, and more. 

The standardized exam is 125 multiple choice questions which must be completed within two hours. The exam is only available during certain times of the year and costs $450.

Additionally, the exam includes six topics of focus:

  • Conducting a home organizing interview with a client
  • Preliminary communication and assessments
  • Project plan development and implementation
  • Knowledge of legal and ethical responsibilities constitutes
  • Follow-up and maintenance
  • Legal & ethical responsibilities for professional organizers

If you consider moving forward with NAPO certification, remember there is a cost to maintain your membership and certification. 

To stay certified, you will need to:

Pay a yearly maintenance fee ($100)

Submit an application for recertification every three years

Complete at least 45 hours of continuing education credits or retake the CPO exam

The advantages of NAPO certification include access to the largest network of fellow professionals, continuing education opportunities, and the ability to use the NAPO certification logo on your marketing materials. 

In addition, the certification is recognized as a symbol of excellence in the industry, which can increase your credibility and establish you as an expert in your field.

Institute for Challenging Disorganization (ICD)

The Institute for Challenging Disorganization (ICD) is a non-profit organization offering a certification program for professional organizers working with clients with chronic disorganization issues.

The ICD offers a comprehensive range of certifications and certificates specifically geared towards chronic disorganization, an approach that takes a holistic view of organizing and productivity for clients. With five distinct levels, you can continue to develop your expertise and knowledge as your business expands, ensuring that your education aligns with your evolving needs.

The ICD certification program consists of five levels:

  • Level I: Certificates of Study
  • Level II: Specialist Certificates
  • Level III: Certified Professional Organizer in Chronic Disorganization
  • Level IV: Communication Mentor
  • Level V: Master Trainer in CD and Organization Overview

The cost of the ICD certification program varies depending on the certification level you seek. Below we’ve included a table of their certification names and associated costs. 

Certificate NameCostFY 2021 Notes
Premium Subscribership$400.00Annual fee
Premium + Foundation Certificate Special$450.00Saves $50 over separate cost
Level I Certificates of Study
Foundation Certificate of Study in Chronic Disorganization$100.00Included in Prem+, prerequisite for all other certificates
Certificate of Study in ADHD$100.00Prerequisite for Level II ADHD Specialist
Certificate of Study in Client Management (ADM or MGMT)$100.00
Certificate of Study in Health Issues and Conditions and the Client Affected by CD$100.00Prerequisite for Level II Aging Specialist
Certificate of Study in Understanding the Needs of the Aging Client$100.00Prerequisite for Level II Hoarding Specialist
Certificate of Study in Understanding Hoarding Issues$100.00
Certificate of Study in Life Transitions and the Client Affected by CD$100.00
Certificate of Study in Students and Learning Theories (SLT, formerly SLS, STU, LS)$100.00
Certificate of Study in Time Management and Productivity$100.00
Certificate of Study in Interpersonal Intelligence$100.00
Level II Exam + Specialist Certificate Fee
Chronic Disorganization$199.00
Level III
Certified Professional Organizer in Chronic Disorganization®$3,000.00
CPO-CD® Peer Review$133.00
Level IV
Communication Mentor$750.00Entrance fee
$104.00Completion Fee
Level V
Master Trainer$500.00Entrance fee
$105.00Completion Fee
Recertification every 3 years, Level III, IV, V$200.00

The advantages of ICD certification include a deep understanding of the client’s unique needs with chronic disorganization issues and the ability to network with other professionals who specialize in this area. 

The certification can also increase your credibility and establish you as an expert in working with challenging clients.

Like NAPO affiliation, once you’ve completed the certification, you can use the ICD logo on your marketing materials for added credibility and legitimacy. 

Why Become Certified?

If you’re considering becoming a certified professional in any field, you’re likely aware of the many benefits of certification. But what precisely can certification do for you?

First and foremost, becoming certified demonstrates to potential clients and employers that you are serious about your profession and have a deep understanding of your field. Certification can help you stand out from the crowd, demonstrating that you have the knowledge, skills, and expertise to excel in your role.

In addition to enhancing your professional reputation, certification can help you increase your earning potential. Many employers and clients are willing to pay more for the services of a certified professional, knowing that they are getting top-notch quality work.

Certification also offers ongoing learning opportunities, allowing you to stay up-to-date with the latest developments and best practices in your field. This can help you enhance your skills and knowledge, positioning you as a leader and an expert in your industry.

Finally, certification can offer a sense of personal accomplishment and pride. You demonstrate your commitment to your profession and dedication to excellence by earning a certification. You can feel confident in your abilities and proud of your achievements, knowing you have taken the time and effort to excel in your field.

Ultimately, it will be up to you to decide for your business. Becoming a certified professional organizer is a great way to stand out in a sea of competition, but it’s just one way.

There are various other avenues that can help you build credibility and legitimacy for your business. In my experience, how you communicate and handle working with clients makes all the difference.

As a professional organizing business owner myself, we are currently not certified, and it hasn’t stopped us from growing our business to six figures. However, I still think getting certified is a great way to build credibility, and we plan on doing so in the future.

Before You Go

Getting a professional organizer certification is a great accomplishment that demonstrates your expertise and commitment to your profession, but it’s just one step toward becoming a professional organizer and growing your business. 

Check out our latest post on how to get more clients!

How to Find Clients For Your Professional Organizing Business

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Aaron Traub

Aaron Traub is a digital marketer, consultant, and professional organizer located in New Orleans, LA. Aaron is a co-owner of My Professional Organizer. Born in Dallas, TX, Aaron went to the University of Loyola New Orleans and graduated with a bachelor's degree in business marketing. When he isn't working, he's either hanging outside with his girlfriend and dog or working out at the gym.
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