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CPS Exam Requirements

General requirements for all exam applicants are as follows.

Requirement Options:
  • No degree with four years of secretarial experience
  • Associate's degree with three years of secretarial experience
  • Bachelor's degree with two years of secretarial experience

When education is used to reduce the experience required, proof of degree earned must be submitted. Acceptable verification would be an official transcript or a copy of your degree. Verification of the number of years of secretarial employment experience is also required.

Candidates are responsible for submitting information to keep their file current. Only secretarial experience may be considered. Administrative professionals are defined by IAAP as “individuals who are responsible for administrative tasks and coordination of information in support of an office-related environment and who are dedicated to furthering their personal and professional growth in their chosen profession."

  1. Experience of less than two continuous months is not acceptable.
  2. Any experience past 15 years is not acceptable.
  3. Verification of temporary assignments may be submitted by client or temporary agency (only assignments of two continuous months are acceptable).
  4. Civil Service Employment GS-3 and higher secretarial classifications are deemed by the Institute for Certification to conform to the IAAP definition of secretary.
  5. Part-time and/or volunteer secretarial experience is acceptable if the applicant has worked a minimum of 20 hours a week.
Secretary Experience Completed Requirement
  1. Must submit employer verification of the required number of year’s experience (see General Requirements for all Applicants). Job Function and Employer’s statement are also required for all applicants and must be completed by individuals authorized to evaluate performance. Job content rather than title is used to determine work experience based on the IAAP definition of a secretary.
  2. Must have 12 continuous months of experience with one employer within the past five years.
Secretary Employed Full-Time Experience to be Completed Requirements
  1. Must submit completed Job Function and Employer’s Statement verifying current employment as a secretary.
  2. Must complete and submit verification of required work experience (see General Requirements for all Exam Applicants) within six years of approval date.
  3. Must have 12 continuous months of experience with an employer within the past five years, or must meet this requirement within six years of approval date. If employed by a temporary, only an assignment of 12 continuous months would fulfill this requirement.
Student Requirements:
  1. Must be a full-time student in a degree program.
  2. Must have the student section of the application completed by the school.
  3. Current employment is not required but candidate must complete and submit verification of work experience within six years of approval date.
  4. Must submit proof of degree earned upon its completion.
Business Educator Requirements:

CPS exam applicants may apply prior to having all experience complete, as long as they are currently working in an administrative position, or are a full-time student in a degree granting program.  Business educators with 12 months administrative experience in the past 15 years may also apply for the CPS exam.


NOTE:  In the event a proctor wishes to take the CPS Examination, two years must lapse after proctoring an exam. The proctor may then take the examination provided all other criteria have been met.