Renewing Candidate for CO-OP® Designation


The purpose of renewal of the Candidate for CO-OP® designation is to ensure that the certified individual can maintain the Candidate for CO-OP® designation or earn the CO-OP® designation without needing to retake the CO-OP® exam. In addition, renewal ensures that the individual has kept abreast of developments in the ombuds field and maintained or enhanced their professional knowledge.

Who Should Renew

The Candidate for CO-OP® designation can be used for four years. During the fourth year, a Candidate for CO-OP® should apply for renewal if they wish to maintain their Candidate for CO-OP® designation. Candidate for CO-OP® designation expires four years after the initial notification date. The Candidate for 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. Candidates for CO-OP® who fail to submit a renewal application before their expiration date will be treated as new applicants. 

Renewal Process and Fees

A complete renewal application packet consists of the online renewal application form and documentation supporting 60 hours of professional development over the past four years. Applicants must also submit a non-refundable administrative application fee of $125 USD. If you have trouble with attaching PDH documentation to the online application form, you may also submit your supplemental materials via email to [email protected].

Complete Online Candidate for CO-OP® 
Renewal Form
Download PDH Tracking Sheet

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 renewal packet will follow by mail with the countersigned agreement and the signed and sealed certificate.

The Recertification/Renewal Committee will audit every fourth applicant. Applicants selected for audit will be contacted directly by the Committee to request documentation of all PDH hours. Applicants selected for audit must provide detailed documentation to support all PDH hours for recertification.

Criteria for Professional Development Hours

Renewal requires 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/Renewal 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.


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. 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, including: 

    • written pre-approval from the CO-OP® Recertification Committee. Pre-approved Programs List
    • 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.

Candidates for CO-OP® may earn a maximum of 15 Presenting & Instruction PDH per four-year Candidate for CO-OP® 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, as a mentee or a mentor, in the IOA Mentoring Program or mentoring program organized by another recognized ombuds organization. Applicants may receive one PDH for each hour of mentoring, for a maximum of 15 Mentoring PDH during each four-year certification period. To verify, the applicant may obtain an email from their mentor/mentee attesting to the mentoring 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 on a professional platform that is outside of the ombuds' own organization, including electronic publications, for a maximum of 15 Writing & Publishing PDH during each four-year certification period. A copy of the publication would serve as verification. To qualify, writing must provide substantive content from one or more of the CO-OP® domains demonstrating ombuds research and professional development rather than awareness of ombuds services.