Professional certification (becoming “certified”) is the voluntary process by which a third-party entity grants a time-limited recognition and use of a credential to an individual after verifying that he or she has met a predetermined and standardized criteria.

Many organizations will claim to “certify” participants upon completion of a training session or a series of training classes. Certificate programs (a training that results in the attendee receiving a certificate of training) are often misrepresented as certifications. One of the primary differences between a certificate program and a certification is the process. A certificate results from an educational process, whereas a certification results from an assessment. Certification requires a period of professional experience and is granted by a standard setting third party organization (not a training institution). Certification standards are set using a defensible process that results in demonstration of an applicant’s knowledge and skills within a given industry. Certification commonly results in a designation after one’s name (CSAPA, CDAPA-A, etc.).

The CCDAPP commissioners are proud of the high standards that were established and have been maintained since the inception of the certification program in 1997. CCDAPP (formerly known as SAPACC) is the only independent, third-party certification commission within the drug and alcohol testing program industry.