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Certifcation FAQs

Some of the frequently asked questions about certification are provided below.  If you do not find the question you are looking for, you can contact us to get additional information. 


A.  All ecological restoration practitioners! That is, the people who do ecological restoration including project design, implementation, monitoring, and oversight. There are no geographic restrictions for certification.

A.  Certified practitioners will receive formal recognition that they have achieved a high standard of knowledge and experience within the field of ecological restoration. Certificants receive a certificate and card, but more importantly, can use the CERP or CERPIT acronym on their business cards, proposals, resumes, reports, etc. Certified practitioners (and practitioners-in-training) will also be listed on the directory on the SER website.

A.  The application window is currently closed.  The next application period will be open from July 16 through October 12, 2018. 

There will be two application windows each year -- one from February to April and the other from July to October.

The application will take about 30-60 minutes to complete once you have the information compiled. You can also watch our application process tutorial to see more details.

The program requirements are described in detail here. The application checklist summarizes the information needed for your application.

A.   Certification for both practitioners and practitioners-in-training is valid for five years after approval.

A.  An initial application fee is due with submission of a full application. The certificant will pay an annual maintenance fee each year. Upon renewal, the certificant will pay the recertification fee. Fees are shown below in US Dollars.

Fee  Membership Status Practitioner  Practitioner-in-Training 
 Initial Application Fee  SER Members $250 $100 
 Non-Members $350 $200
 Annual Maintenance Fee  SER Members  $75 $50 
 Non-Members  $100 $75 
 Recertification Fee  SER Members $125 $100 
 Non-Members $225 $200 
 Upgrade from CERPIT to CERP  SER Members  NA $100
 Non-Members  NA $150


A. SER is actively seeking funding to off-set costs by providing needs-based scholarships/offsets. Please contact us if you have financial concerns.

A. The application checklist summarizes the information needed for your application.


A. Transcripts must be obtained directly from the academic institution; however, both official and unofficial transcripts will be accepted. We expect that all applicants will act honorably in accordance with the SER Code of Ethics.

We prefer that transcripts are uploaded as part of the application process. Transcripts can be scanned and uploaded as a PDF file. However, transcripts can also be sent to: Society for Ecological Restoration, Attn: Certification Program Coordinator, 1133 15th St NW, Ste 300, Washington DC 20005. Any mailed transcripts must be received by the close date of the application window or the application may be deferred to the next application window.

A. The grandfathering provision is intended to address those practitioners who may have extensive restoration experience, but have do not meet some of the knowledge requirements because those classes were not offered during the practitioners' academic training. For example, a person who has been practicing ecological restoration but has not had an "ecological restoration" course because none were offered. If the applicant is using the grandfathering provision, he/she will need to demonstrate how knowledge that would be equivalent to the missing credits was gained. For example, an applicant may indicate that he/she is missing 3 credits in ecological restoration, but the equivalent knowledge was obtained by planning, implementing, and monitoring projects over 30 years. Descriptions of knowledge:credit equivalency will need to be detailed to allow the reviewers to evaluate the proposal.

A.  The grandfathering provision will be in place for the first 5 years of the program (2017 through 2022).

A. Download the reference letter guidelines for more information.  Reference letters are intended to provide: 1) insight to the applicant's character and standing in the field and 2) additional detail about the applicant's skills in and knowledge of ecological restoration. Reference letters should be less than two pages in length.  All references should be either signed and scanned or signed electronically.  

Reference letters will be requested as part of the online application system and can be directly uploaded by the referrer through the emailed link. All reference letters must be received by the close date of the application window or the application may be deferred to the next application window

A. References can be provided by peers, colleagues, and/or mentors who have direct experience with the applicant's restoration work.  One of the three references must be from someone outside of the applicant's company.

A. The payment rate will automatically be updated depending on your membership type. Therefore, it is critical that you are logged in to the SER website in order to get the correct rate.


A. The e-learning course is an online training module that summarizes key points from SER foundation documents. The course is not intended to teach the basics of ecological restoration, but rather to ensure that attendees have a common language of restoration and have a better understanding of SER's guiding principles and policies. The module will take approximately 90 minutes to 2 hours to complete. Once you login you will be able to save your progress as you go.

A.  You can sign up to get a login using the code "2018CERPWindow".

A. First, the Certification Program Coordinator will review the application to ensure that it is complete. The applicant will be notified of application completion via email.

Once complete, all applications will be reviewed by at least three members of the certification committee. Committee members will review each application to determine if the applicant meets the program standards. Although the review process is all done through an online system, we have provided a demo scoring sheet here so that you can see how they review an application.  

If reviewers are not in agreement, the application will be elevated to a review by three supplemental reviewers. The applicant will be notified of the decision via email.

A. Once the application window closes, the application review will take approximately 8 weeks for non-grandfathered applications and approximately 12 weeks for grandfathered applications. 

If the reviewers request supplemental information or if your application needs a supplemental review, your application may be delayed.  We will work with the applicant to keep the review process moving as quickly as possible.

All applicants will be notified via email of the application decision.

A. If your application is rejected, you will be notified via email with an explanation of what deficiencies prevented certification. Appeals may be made to the Certification Program Coordinator who will forward them to the formal Appeals Committee. Please submit an explanatory statement and any supporting information to address/offset any noted deficiencies.

A. Please contact us to discuss alternate application options.

A. CERPs and CERPITs need to earn at least 50 continuing education credits (CECs) over the 5 year period. More information on CECs can be found at

A. You can get approved for CECs before or after an event. Applications for CEC approval can be submitted at

A. You should have received a "next steps" email outlining the requirements needed to upgrade to the CERP designation. Once you have met the requirement(s), you are encouraged to upgrade to CERP by filling out the upgrade form and paying the upgrade fee (make sure that you are logged in to get the correct payment rate). Because you are already a CERPIT, you will only have to provide supporting information to document your completion of the requirements stated above (i.e., you do not have to re-apply or provide the intensive level of documentation again).