Take the CO-OP® Examination

Examination Registration, Regulations, and Scoring/Reporting

Passing the CO-OP® Examination is a necessary step in obtaining certification as a Certified Organizational Ombuds Practitioner® or a Candidate for CO-OP®.

There are no training, educational, or work experience requirements needed to register for and sit for the CO-OP® exam. Fees for the CO-OP® exam may be paid online via credit or debit card and are $595 USD for IOA members and $795 USD for non-members.

Registration information for upcoming exams can be found below. We will hold an informational call prior to or during the registration window, details are below.

Have questions about certification?
Learn more on the 
CO-OP® credential page or emailing us at [email protected].


 CO-OP® Exam Information 

Registration is now closed for the 2024 CO-OP®. 

The exam window runs through 31 May 2024. If you have already registered, you must scheduled your exam before May 31. 

Check out this Hey IOA video from Executive Director, Ellen Miller & CO-OP® Board President, Mollie Berg for more information on the upcoming changes.

Table of Contents

What is on the Exam?

The Certification Exam has 100 multiple-choice questions. Questions are based on three content domains: 1. Recognize Ethical Principles and Foundational Theories 2. Apply Ethical Principles and Foundational Theories while working with Individuals 3. Apply Ethical Principles and Foundational Theories while working with Organizations. 

How do I prepare for the exam?

There is not currently an official study guide for the exam. To prepare for the exam, our eligibility committee recommends reviewing the following materials:

Registration Process

Taking and passing the exam is the first step toward becoming certified. The exam is usually offered twice a year, once in the spring and once in the fall. Exam dates will be posted on this page when available. Passing the exam is a necessary step in obtaining certification as a Certified Organizational Ombuds Practitioner® (CO-OP®) or a Candidate for CO-OP®

After completing the online registration form on IOA's website and remitting payment for the exam, candidates will be entered into our system and will receive a separate email to select their testing date, time, and location. All candidates will be entered within two business days of the end of the registration period.

Once a candidate has selected their testing location and date, they will receive an Applicant Admission Notice at the email address used to register. This notice is required for test entry and instructs candidates about the rules and regulations, as well as the logistics, for the day of the examination.

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Fees and Method of Payment

The fees may be paid by VISA, MasterCard, or American Express. Please note that the registration fee must be paid in full before you will receive the scheduling email from Prometric. 

  • $595 USD IOA Members
  • $795 USD Non-members

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Cancellation Policy and Rescheduling

There will be no exam administration rescheduling or cancellations permitted in the five business days prior to the scheduled examination administration. If a candidate reschedules a scheduled examination more than five business days prior to the scheduled examination date, IOA will apply the initial examination payment to the newly scheduled examination and charge a $25 rescheduling fee. If a candidate cancels a scheduled examination more than five business days prior to the scheduled examination and does not reschedule, IOA will refund the examination fee less a $25 cancellation fee. If a candidate does not reschedule or cancel a scheduled examination more than five business days prior to the scheduled examination date, and does not show up at the testing site to take the scheduled exam, or comes to the testing site without proper ID and/or the proper admission letter and is unable to take the scheduled examination, no refund of the examination fee will be made by IOA, and the candidate will not be allowed to apply that payment to a future testing date.

In the event that an applicant has a personal emergency medical situation, military deployment, or a death in the immediate family within five business days of the scheduled examination date and is thus unable to attend, he or she may submit documentation of such emergency to the IOA for consideration of a refund. In this event, the candidate should call the IOA office at +1-206-209-5275 with notification of the emergency.

A candidate who is unable to take a scheduled examination but does not reschedule or cancel more than five business days prior to the scheduled examination may apply to the IOA Board of Certification for a partial refund. IOA will keep a cancellation fee of $175 USD, but will consider refunding the remainder to the candidate upon request.

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The Day of the Examination

Arrive at the testing center at least 30 minutes prior to the beginning of the examination to allow time to park, locate the examination room, and visit the restroom. There are no scheduled breaks during the 2-hour examination. Proctors will be available to escort candidates to restroom facilities, if necessary.

  • Each candidate must present the admission notice, which is the confirmation received upon registration for the online examination.
  • Each candidate must also present one government-issued photo ID containing the candidate's signature: a driver's license, passport, military ID card or government-issued ID card is acceptable; student IDs, bank cards, and other written forms of identification will not be accepted.
  • Candidates are advised to bring a sweater or jacket, in case the testing room is cold. 
  • A drinking fountain will be available on site.
  • Candidates may leave the room as soon as they complete the examination and check out with the examination proctor.

Test-Taking Advice Offered by the Test Developers at Prometric

  • Follow directions! If you read them too quickly, you may miss something important.
  • Read each item very carefully. Don't jump to conclusions based upon a quick skimming of the wording.
  • Avoid trying to spot the correct response. Identify the correct response by first eliminating the incorrect choices.
  • Answer each question - guess if necessary. Your score is based on the number of items you answer correctly; there is no penalty for guessing.
  • Use your time wisely. Take the questions in order, but do not waste time worrying about those you cannot answer with certainty. Guess intelligently, select and answer, and then bookmark items you're not sure of. If you have time at the end, return for a second look. By then, you may have remembered something.


Testing Accommodation Solutions enable test takers an equal and fair chance to sit for an exam regardless of a recognized disability or challenge. Learn more about accommodations provided by Prometric at their testing centers. Please note that not all accommodations can be provided in all countries; accommodations vary by location. Once you receive your notification that your accommodation is approved, you will receive an email directly from Prometric to schedule your exam. 

Candidates who do not normally work in English, or for whom English is a second language, may request in advance an accommodation, such as extra time to complete the examination (3 hours rather than 2 hours) and/or use of a dictionary (to be approved by the examination proctor or administrator). This request should be made as early as possible, but no later than two weeks from your desired testing date. 

Please send your requests to the IOA office at [email protected]

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Ten of the 110 multiple choice questions are included for research purposes only and are not scored. The research questions are not identified. The sequence of questions on the examination is different for all candidates. Exam results are calculated using a scaled score method on a scale of 100-500 with a minimum passing score of 405. Whenever a new examination version is released, a comprehensive statistical and psychometric analysis of the score data will be conducted prior to the release of scores to the candidates. Because a minimum number of candidates must have taken the examination in order for the analysis to be conducted, there may be occasions when notification of examination results is delayed until the completion of this critical process.

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Notification of Results

Notification of results will come electronically, immediately after completing the exam. Results will not be released over the telephone. A certificate of achievement will be sent to examinees upon successful completion of the exam. Additionally, successful examinees will receive a letter from CO-OP® with more information on the language used to describe this recognition and the next steps towards attaining the Candidate for CO-OP® or CO-OP® designation.

For security reasons, candidates will not receive a copy of the completed examination and will not have access to information about any of the specific questions and answers on the examination. Examination candidates may request from the Board of Directors general information about their relative performance in each of the three domains on the examination.

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Re-taking the Examination

The minimum waiting period before one may re-take the examination is one year. A candidate will be allowed to re-take the examination when it is administered in the same season the following year, should this period be less than one year. An individual may attempt to pass the examination up to a maximum of five times during his or her lifetime. There is no reduction in the fee when registering to re-take the exam.

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Test security is a paramount concern and focus. Prometric provides multiple layers of protection and back-up systems for their servers that contain examination content and other data for storage and recovery. Data is transmitted only in encrypted form, or by a secure carrier. When a candidate takes an examination, the examination content is not cached at test station computers; instead, each item or question is transmitted individually to the test station as the candidate proceeds through the examination. The candidate's responses are recorded immediately on the Prometric server, to permit candidates to resume in the event of a power failure or other interruption. All examination responses are maintained only on Prometric's secure server protected by a dual firewall.

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Once I pass the exam, how long are my results valid? 

CO-OP® exam results are valid for three years. Proof of passing the exam must be valid at the time of application to become a Candidate for CO-OP® or to become fully certified. 

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