Applying for Certification

 Stand Out to Make a Difference!


Are you interested in taking your role as Organizational Ombudsman to a new level by becoming a Certified Organizational Ombudsman Practitioner (CO-OP®) through the International Ombudsman Association? This exciting new option — the only certification credential offered for the Organizational Ombudsman — is designed to help you:

  • Gain Recognition: Enhance your credibility and professional standing with the organization(s) that you serve
  • Invest in Your Career: Demonstrate your professional experience and skills to build your career development opportunities
  • Show Commitment: Accentuate your dedication to the profession and the IOA Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics
  • Distinguish Yourself: Stand out by joining an elite community of professionals
  • Strengthen and Professionalize the Organizational Ombudsman field

How to Apply

Eligibility Requirements
Certification Paper Application Form
Certification Agreement Form for those who apply for certification

Applicants will be notified within approximately 14 business days of receipt of their application packet that their application has been received and submitted for review and evaluation by the Eligibility Committee. An interview with a member of the Eligibility Committee is a standard part of the process for evaluating if an applicant meets the requirements for certification. Applicants will then be notified by a representative of the Eligibility Committee if their application is incomplete or requires additional documentation.

The Eligibility Committee will endeavor to make a final determination no later than 30 days from receipt of the complete application. Official notification of the determination of certification status will be sent via certified mail to the applicant at the conclusion of the Eligibility Committee's final evaluation of a candidate's application.

Certification Appeal Procedure

If a candidate's application for certification is denied by the Eligibility Committee, the candidate may appeal the decision. The appeal must be submitted in writing to the Appeals Committee within 30 days of receipt of notification of denial, and sent to:

Appeals Committee, IOA-Board of Certification
2150 N 107th St, Ste 205
Seattle, WA 98133 USA

Email: [email protected]
Phone: +1-206-209-5275
Fax: +1-206-367-8777

The appeal must contain a statement of why the individual believes that the denial was improper and must be accompanied by supporting documentation. The Appeals Committee will notify the candidate within seven business days of its receipt of the appeal and will endeavor to render a decision within a period of 30 days. The decision by the Appeals Committee will be final.

Certification Appeal Form

Certification Eligibility Requirements

Candidates must demonstrate knowledge of the organizational ombudsman function by passing a written examination. Candidates must also demonstrate relevant education and experience.  View a flowchart of the eligibility and recertification process.

Requirements for Certification

Written Examination:  A candidate must have passed the written certification examination within three years prior to the date of Schroeder Measurement Technologies, Inc. (SMT) receipt of the application for certification.  There are no training, educational, or work experience requirements needed to register for and sit for the certification examination.  The certification application requires a copy of the certification examination results statement documenting the date of passing the examination. Passing the exam is only once piece of the process to become certified. Once you pass the exam you will still not be considered certified until you are able to meet the experience, education and standards of practice requirements listed below.

Education:  Certification requires a bachelor's degree or equivalent from an accredited institution of higher education. Those who do not hold a bachelor's degree may submit evidence of a comparable university degree. The Eligibility Committee may also consider relevant professional experience or academic work in place of a bachelor's degree. Candidates may submit proof of relevant professional experience to the Eligibility Committee for individual consideration.

Work Experience:  Certification requires at least one year of full-time experience, or 2000 hours, in practice as an organizational ombudsman, (not including positions of mediator, ADR consultant, etc.) performing the full scope of Ombudsman duties and adhering to the IOA Code of Ethics (CoEs) and Standards of Practice (SoPs).  Two years of 50% time experience, or four years of 25% time experience, in a qualifying organizational ombudsman role would also satisfy this eligibility requirement. This professional experience must be within the four-year period preceding the date of SMT's receipt of the application for certification. In order to demonstrate that the requirement of experience practicing as an organizational ombudsman with adherence to the IOA CoEs and SoPs has been met, the candidate should submit copies of an office charter and/or brochure, reference to an office website, job description and standards of practice, and verification of length of employment from the relevant employer(s) of record. A representative of the Eligibility Committee may contact an applicant if additional information or clarification of submitted information is required.

Application for Certification:  Certification also requires completing the Application Form in full, and submitting it for review by the Board of Certification, with all requisite supporting documentation and payment of a non-refundable certification application administrative fee, and a signed copy of the Certification Agreement Form, in which the applicant agrees to comply with Board of Certification policies and procedures.

There are no training, educational, or work experience requirements needed to register for and sit for the certification examination. An individual who has passed the examination, but who does not meet the other eligibility requirements for certification, may not claim to hold certification status. Any individual who uses the certification designation before having been awarded certification by the Board of Certification may be ineligible for certification in the future.