How long does my certification last?
Once you have achieved Certified Compost Operations Manager™ or Certified Composting Professional ™ the initial certification is valid for three years. Your certification can stay valid indefinitely as long as maintenance fees are paid and professional development goals are met.
What are the steps to maintaining my certification?
- Pay an annual maintenance fee
- Stay current with advances in the field through the process of professional development, which includes continuing education and other professional activities. You must document that professional development and provide that documentation in order to stay certified.
What are the certification maintenance fees?
The annual maintenance fee is $100/year for USCC members and $150/yr for non-members.** At this time all fees associated with applying for or recording PDH credits are being waived. This may change in the future.
**If you were certified prior to September 2018 your first annual maintenance fee is not due until your first certification renewal.
What are the continuing professional development requirements?
Professional development requirements are the same for CCOM™ and CCP™ credentials.
Thirty (30) unexpired professional development hour credits (PDHs) are required to keep your certification valid. Passing the test earns 30 credits. All credits expire after three years. So during the first 3 years after passing the test you must earn an additional 30 credits to keep the credential valid after the initial three-year period ends. From that point forward as long as you have at least 30 unexpired PDHs your credential stays valid.
Are there different kinds of Professional Development Hour credits (PDHs)?
The certification commission recognizes two types of PDHs that you can earn:
- General PDHs are Continuing Education experiences. Examples of continuing education are conferences, in-service training, workshops, webinars, on-line educational opportunities, brown bags, forums, study, etc.
- Service PDHs are for Professional Participation activities. Activities that support the growth of our industry, promote peer interaction and provide exposure to new ideas and technologies both enhance the profession and serve the public interest. These activities include:
o service on standing or ad-hoc committees of a technical or professional nature, especially USCC and Compost Research and Education Foundation (CREF) committees.
o participation in the USCC Mentor-Mentee program or similar professional development program
o service on public bodies that draw on professional experience (i.e. planning boards, zoning commissions, solid waste advisory boards, or other local or state groups that impact the growth of our industry)
One hour of participation equals one PDH.
How long to Professional Development Hours good for?
All General, Service and Initial PDHs expire after three years.
How do I earn my Professional Development Hours (PDHs)?
After each PDH-earning event (Continuing Education or Professional Service), request the credits via the form found at https://www.compostingcouncil.org/page/ProfessionalDevelopmentHours. Attach to the request form the documentation form needed to verify your attendance and/or participation.
The forms for documenting attendance or participation are found at https://certificationsuscc.org/Get-Recertified/Certification-Maintenance-and-Renewal. There are forms that are specific to certain conferences or events and generic forms for use for typical opportunities like webinars and meetings.
Once your submit your PDH request form and attachments, staff will review it. If it is approved, it will be signed by the reviewer and the credits added to your online records (see below). The record will have the approved form attached to it, and your original submission will be archived.
In addition to the electronic master file for your PDH credits, the Commission recommends that every candidate should also maintain your own records of continuing education units.
How do I access my online certification records?
Once you pass your test and earn your credential, you will have a Professional Development portion of your online profile in the USCC database. Everyone certified by the USCC will have an online profile, even if you are not a USCC member.
You can access your online portal by going to https://www.compostingcouncil.org/members/certifications.aspx.
There are two tabs in this portal, one for Certifications and one for Journal entries.
- The “Journal” Tab is the record of your Professional Development Hours. It will show current, pending, denied and expired PDHs
- The “Certifications/Programs” Tab uses the current journal entries to determine which credential you have. It provides the ability to link to or print your certificate.
What happens if I fall behind on PDHs or fail to pay my annual maintenance fee?
If the number of unexpired PDHs drops below 30, your certification will be invalid and your credential lapsed. If your credential has been lapsed for less than three years then to revalidate your it you will need to earn enough credits to meet or exceed 30. You also have a one-time option of retaking the Certification Test. Passing the test will earn 30 PDHs, good for three years. If you take the test within 3 year of lapsing your will get a 50% discount.
If your credential has been lapsed for three years or longer you will need to retake and pass the test. Normal test fees will apply.
Failing to pay your annual maintenance fee will also cause your certificate to lapse. A one month grace period is allowed after the due date of the maintenance fee before your credential will lapse. Paying the fee, as long as you have sufficient PDHs, will revalidate your certification.
If you allow your certification to lapse your name will be removed from the official list of USCC-Certified individuals.
What else do I need to know about certification renewal?
A certain number of certified professionals are randomly chosen for an audit of continuing professional development. If you are audited, you will receive notification by mail indicating that you will need to submit copies of the original PDH documentation which you received from the training provider or instructor when you completed the training or course.
With this in mind, keep copies of your PDH materials for at least three years after earning them.
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