Continued use of the CO-OP® credential requires recertification every four years.


The purpose of recertification is to verify that the CO-OP® practitioner has:

CO-OP® Practitioner’s Practice

To maintain use of the CO-OP® credential, practitioners shall:

  • Serve in positions that support adherence to the IOA Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice
  • Adhere to the IOA Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice.
  • CO-OP® practitioners seeking recertification must be able to attest that they met these criteria, consistently, throughout their credentialed period. For example, a practitioner with a revoked credential is not eligible for recertification.

Professional Development

The Recertification Committee approves Professional Development Hours (PDH) that:

  • Relate to the organizational Ombuds role as outlined in IOA’s SoP/CoE.
    • Fall under one or more of the job content domains specified in the Organizational Ombudsman Job Analysis.
    • Domain #1: Recognize Ethical Principles and Foundational Theories
    • Domain #2: Apply Ethical Principles and Foundational Theories While Working with Individuals
    • Domain #3: Apply Ethical Principles and Foundational Theories While Working with Organizations
  • Are verifiable via approved forms of documentation, as outlined in the PDH Criteria section below.

Please note: Submitted documentation must be in English to receive consideration by the CO-OP®Recertification Committee.

PDH Criteria

Recertification requires completion of 60 PDH during the applicant's current four-year period of certification. Even distribution of hours among the four years is not required. For example, an applicant may have five PDH one year and 25 another year.

Professional Development Hours may include the following:

1. Education
Practitioners may obtain education PDH by attending courses, classes, webinars, workshops, training programs, conferences, or meetings.
  • Calculate PDH on an hour-for-hour basis, with a half-hour as the smallest increment. For example, a three-hour conference session may earn three PDH.
  • Compute hours from the beginning to the end of a single session or program, including brief "stretch" or refreshment breaks. Hours do not include longer breaks, such as one-hour lunch breaks.
- A full-day course from 9 a.m. until 4:45 p.m. with a one-hour lunch break would be 6.5 PDH.
- A full-day course from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. with a one-hour lunch break would be 7 PDH.
- Two separate morning conference sessions, each 1½ hours in length, with a break in between, would count for 3 PDH.
- A half-day course from 8:30 a.m. until 11:45 a.m. would be 3 PDH.
- A half-day course from 8:30 a.m. until Noon would be 3.5 PDH.
- A half-day course from 9 a.m. until Noon would count as 3 PDH.
  • Attendance may be in-person, online, by phone, or conference call.
  • Applicants may receive a maximum of 15 PDH for a single educational activity, such as a 40-hour workshop, a full semester college class, or an IOA conference.
  • Documentation to verify attendance and completion of Education PDH include certificates of attendance, sign-in sheets, or program leader’s signed attestation.
  • Additional items may be requested to validate program content, such as written pre-approval from the CO-OP® Recertification Committee; program agenda showing date, time, length of session, instructor(s)/presenter(s), content/topic(s); program outlines, or other materials.

2. Presenter-Instructor + Preparation 
Applicants may receive PDH for presenting or instructing, as well as for related preparation. 

  • PDH will be calculated at the rate of:
    • one PDH for each hour of presenting or instructing and
    • one PDH for preparation related to each hour of presenting or instructing

Please note: Applicants may receive PDH only one time for any given presentation and only once for preparation for a given presentation.

  • There is a maximum of 15 Presenter-Instructor + Preparation PDH for each four-year CO-OP® period. For example, a practitioner may earn a maximum of 7.5 PDH for preparation for 7.5 hours of presenting and/or instructing.
  • Documentation to verify preparation for and delivery of Presenter-Instructor + Preparation PDH may include a synopsis or agenda showing presenters-instructors, dates, times, length of sessions, topics, presentation-training materials, calendar entries, or participant lists.

3. To qualify, presentations must provide substantive content from one or more of the CO-OP domains.  For example, presentations solely focused on raising awareness of the ombuds office, or office marketing, will not qualify for PDH credit. 

4. IOA Mentoring
Applicants may receive PDH for mentoring, with an assigned mentee, in the IOA Mentoring Program.

  • Applicants may receive one PDH for each hour of mentoring.
  • Applicants may receive a maximum of 15 Mentoring PDH during each four-year CO-OP® period.
  • The assigned mentee may provide verification of completed mentoring hours by attesting via email as to the mentor relationship and time spent.

5. Writing-Publishing
Applicants may receive PDH for conducting original research and publication of books and articles related to one or more of the job content domains outlined above.

  • Applicants may receive one PDH for each published page.
  • Applicants may receive a maximum of 15 Writing-Publishing PDH during each four-year CO-OP®period.
  • A copy of the publication would serve as verification.

Recertification Process


The recertification period begins with the date the Board of Certification grants certification or Recertification Committee grants recertification. This date is located on your CO-OP® certificate or in the email granting recertification.

  • The CO-OP® practitioner may apply for recertification at any time during his or her final year of certified status. The Recertification Committee strongly recommends that candidates begin the process at least 60 days in advance of expiration, to avoid a lapse.
  • The Recertification Committee treats CO-OP® practitioners who do not recertify prior to the expiration of the current four-year certification period as new candidates.

Application Steps and Links

Please submit your application and all materials via email to [email protected] and to [email protected]

Review and Decision

  • The CO-OP® Recertification Committee will endeavor to respond to applications for recertification within 30 days. The Committee may request more detailed information if:
    • the requested PDH are not sufficiently clear
    • adherence to the IOA Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice for a position described as "Organizational Ombudsman" is not sufficiently clear
    • the application is selected for audit
  • Once the Recertification Committee completes its review, a member of the committee will notify the applicant of its decision.
  • If the Recertification Committee approves recertification, this Agreement will be counter-signed by an appropriate representative of the Board of Certification and returned to the recertified practitioner.


  • The Recertification Committee will audit every 4th Applicant.
  • The Recertification Committee will contact selected applicants directly to request documentation of all PDH hours.
  • Applicants selected for audit must provide detailed documentation to support all PDH hours for recertification.