Certification FAQs



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How can I avoid delays in the processing of my certification application?
Processing your application may take up to two weeks. To avoid a delay, submit all required documents and your payment.

Is the Certification Program applicable to community corrections or detention facilities?
The Certification Program is applicable for personnel in positions other than those that specifically deal with incarcerated offenders.

Do I qualify if I worked in military corrections for 22 years?
The length/type of correctional experience comes into play in two situations: (1) time in current position, and (2) meeting educational criteria. For CCO (Officer), you must be in your position for one year; for the other three levels ― CCE, CCM, and CCS (Executive, Manager, Supervisor) ― you must be in your position for two years. If an individual does not meet the educational requirements for certification at a specific level, time spent working full time in the corrections field may be substituted. Appropriate documentation is required for both situations.

How does the Certification Program apply to central office personnel?
Central office (and regional office) personnel can participate in the certification program. Because DOCs use various titles, a Table of Organization with the applicant's position highlighted must be provided. Generally, for central/regional office personnel, the following levels apply:

  • Supervisor: other staff working within a section are at the supervisor level.
  • Manager: heads of sections
  • Executive: DOC system commissioners/directors and their assistants/associates/deputies

To translate our facility-oriented literature to central office position language, refer to the table below.



Facility Personnel

Headquarters Personnel


Wardens, Superintendents, & Deputies

Commissioners/Assistant Directors


Dept. Heads, Unit Managers

Section Chiefs, Program Administrators


Caseworkers, Instructors, Lieutenants, Psychologists, etc.

Classification Personnel, Legal Personnel


Privates, Corporals, Sergeants


Which of the Certified Corrections professional levels should I apply for if I work in a prison's health services department?
The answer depends on where your position is located on your facility's table of organization. If you are the Health Services' Department head, apply at the CCM (Manager) level. If you are in a staff position (e.g., dentist, medical technician, nurse, physician, etc.), apply at the CCS (Supervisor) level.

Can you take another examination at a different level after successfully passing a certification examination at one level?
To qualify for any certification level, you must meet the experience/educational requirement and be in the position for the specified amount of time required for the level.

Are there required courses for the examination?
Purchasing study materials is optional. However, the exam is based on both the material and your knowledge and experience. If you would like to purchase study materials, please highlight the ACA Marketplace at the top right section of our website and then click on Certification Packet.

When will testing be offered near me?
A testing site can be set up near you if 1) you identify at least 20 candidates who are willing to take their exam at the same place and time, and 2) personnel at that location are willing to allow individuals from other jurisdictions to participate. An ACA staff member will handle the proctoring logistics. If this option does not work, ACA will identify a proctor in your area. You cannot take the exam by mail or over the Internet.

How will I know how I did on my exam?
Within 10 days to two weeks, you will receive either a certificate indicating that you passed, or a letter or email stating that you were unsuccessful.

A specific grade is not given. Receiving a certificate means that you earned a grade between 75 and 89 on your exam; if you scored 90 or above, your certificate will indicate that you achieved the honors level. If you were unsuccessful, your letter will specify the sections on the exam in which you scored 75 or above and the areas in which you did not. This information will help you study to take the exam again. There is no fee for the first retake.