Recertification of CO-OP® Designation


CO-OP® Member Badge
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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 continued to practice to IOA Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics (SoP/CoE) and kept abreast of developments in the ombuds field and maintained or enhanced their professional knowledge.

To maintain the use of the CO-OP® designation 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.

Who Should Recertify

The CO-OP® designation can be used for four years. During the fourth year, a CO-OP® should apply for recertification if they wish to maintain their CO-OP® designation. CO-OP® designation expires four years after the initial notification date. The certified practitioner may apply for recertification at any time during his or her final year of certified status. The Recertification/Renewal Committee strongly recommends that candidates begin the process at least 60 days in advance of expiration, to avoid a lapse. CO-OPs® who fail to submit a renewal application before their expiration date will be treated as new applicants. 

Here is a 9 minute video that walks a recertification applicant through the process.

Recertification Process and Fees

A complete renewal application packet consists of the online recertification form and PDH tracking form documenting 60 hours of professional development over the past four years. 

Download CO-OP® PDH Tracking Form

Below you will find Pre-Approval PDH Course document that contains the course title, date, instructors, and PDH allotted for all IOA Courses from the last four years. This also contains information from outside programs that submitted a request for pre-approval to the IOA CO-OP® Recertification Committee. This form is updated frequently.

Download Pre-Approval PDH Document 

(last updated February 2024)

Applicants must also submit a non-refundable administrative application fee of $250 USD for IOA Members and $450 USD for Non-Members. If you have any difficulty attaching your PDH documentation to the online form, you may also submit it via email to [email protected]

Complete CO-OP® Recertification Form

The Recertification/Renewal Committee will review and evaluate the application and may request more detailed information if the requested PDH are not sufficiently clear or if the application is selected for audit. The Recertification/Renewal Committee will endeavor to respond to applications for recertification within four to six weeks. Approved applicants will be notified by the committee by email or phone. An official recertification packet will follow by email with the signed certificate.

The Recertification/Renewal Committee will audit every fourth applicant. The Committee will contact applicants selected for audit to request supporting documentation verifying all PDH hours. Applicants selected for audit must provide detailed documentation to support all PDH hours for recertification.

PDH Tracking for Conference

PDH Tracking Sheet for 2024 Conference 

Purchase 2024 Conference Recordings


Criteria for Professional Development Hours

Recertification requires the completion of 60 professional development hours (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. Submitted documentation must be in English to receive consideration by the CO-OP® Recertification Committee. Professional Development Hours can be earned in any of the following categories: education, presenting & instruction, mentorship, or writing & publishing. More information on calculating PDH and limits for these categories can be found below, along with information on the Domains of PDH.

View PDH Domains Chart


Practitioners may obtain education PDH by attending courses, classes, webinars, workshops, training programs, conferences, or meetings. Attendance may be in-person, online, by phone, or by conference call. Calculate PDH on an hour-for-hour basis, rounding down to the nearest half-hour increment (e.g. a three-hour conference session earns three PDH.) Hours should be calculated from the beginning to the end of a single session or program, including brief "stretch" or refreshment breaks–longer breaks, such as one-hour lunch breaks, should not be counted in the PDH total.

  • A full-day course from 9:00 AM–4:45 PM with a one-hour lunch break would be 6.5 PDH
  • A full-day course from 9:00 AM–5:00 PM with a one-hour lunch break would be 7 PDH
  • Two separate morning conference sessions, each 1.5 hours in length, with a break in between, would count for 3 PDH
  • A half-day course from 8:30 AM–11:45 AM would be 3 PDH
  • A half-day course from 8:30 AM–Noon would be 3.5 PDH
  • A half-day course from 9:00 AM–Noon would count as 3 PDH


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. 

If your application is selected for an audit, the committee will request documentation to verify attendance and completion of Education PDH: transcripts, certificates of attendance, sign-in sheets, registration/payment receipts, or a program leader’s signed attestation.

Additional items may be requested to validate program content, including: 

    • 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

Presenting & Instruction (Including Preparation) 

Applicants may receive PDH for presenting or instructing, as well as for related preparation. Presenting & Instruction PDH will be calculated at the rate of one PDH for each hour of presenting or instruction and one PDH for each hour of related preparation. Please note: Applicants may receive PDH only one time for any given presentation and only once for preparation for a given presentation.

CO-OPs® may earn a maximum of 15 Presenting & Instruction PDH per four-year certification period (i.e. a practitioner may earn a maximum of 7.5 PDH for preparation for 7.5 hours of presenting and/or instruction.) Documentation to verify preparation for and delivery of Presenting & Instruction PDH may include a synopsis or agenda showing presenters/instructors, dates, times, length of sessions, topics, presentation/training materials, calendar entries, or participant lists. 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. 


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, for a maximum of 15 Mentoring PDH during each four-year certification period. The assigned mentee may provide verification of completed mentoring hours by attesting via email as to the mentor relationship and time spent.

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 for a maximum of 15 Writing & Publishing PDH during each four-year certification period. A copy of the publication would serve as verification.