...Current Certification is the key - IAPDA expects all members to remain current by re-certifying every two years.
There is no additional cost for re-certification, it is included with your annual renewal fee.

Consumers are a primary stakeholder of any education/certification program. As such, organizations like IAPDA that provide certification to professionals who serve the public have an ethical requirement to ensure:

  • the qualification standards are consistent with the requisite tasks of the job
  • testing validly assesses professionals for minimum competency standards
  • professionals earning a credential maintain continued competency or relinquish their certified status
  • all professional practices occur within the defined scope of the profession and are performed consistent with the standards of professional practice

IAPDA Certification and Continuing Education

Professional development is a career long process. Over the course of a career many changes will occur in a profession requiring an updating of knowledge and skills. These changes include the introduction of new and varied products and service offerings in the financial marketplace as well as changes in laws and technical knowledge related to personal finance, client debt counseling and the practice of debt negotiation and settlement. The purpose of encouraging certificants to receive continuing education is threefold:
1. to enhance the individual professional's capacity to serve his or her clients
2. to protect public interest and
3. to uphold the rigor of the certification program.

Requiring continuing education to maintain certification and accreditation ensures that the recipients of our certified member's services are rightfully benefiting from what is current industry standards, and they're not being counseled with outdated or incorrect information.


  • Continuing professional education is important because it provides validation of an individual's knowledge and skills.
  • Professionals--such as those working in the legal and financial fields--need to continually be updated on new standards in addition to being refreshed on the knowledge they may have obtained some years earlier.
  • Continuing education ensures to clients and licensing agencies that professionals are qualified to handle the responsibilities that affect people's lives.
  • The purpose of continuing education is to not only maintain knowledge but also to increase a professional's skill level.

IAPDA membership is granted for life – IAPDA certifications are valid for two years with refresher training and 2 year re-certifications optional...the IAPDA certification program grants the Certified Debt Specialist, Certified Credit Counseling Specialist & Certified Student Loan Specialist designations for a period of two years. Re-certification beyond two years is optional and does not limit membership in the IAPDA.

The IAPDA encourages our members to keep abreast of developments in the subject matter and practice of debt relief and financial counseling.  To that end many states also require certificants to acquire an appropriate amount of continuing education from the IAPDA on a bi-annual basis for approval of continued Certified Debt Specialist, Certified Credit Counseling Specialist and Certified Student Loan Specialist accreditation. Re-certification as a Certified Debt Specialist, Certified Credit Counseling Specialist & Certified Student Loan Specialist for additional two year periods requires completion of a refresher of the latest version of the IAPDA CDS, CCCS & CSLS training course and submission of a further CDS, CCCS & CSLS certification exam.

The debt relief industry is rapidly changing with the introduction of new state laws and federal rules affecting those who provide debt relief services. The IAPDA certification training programs are continually updated with new materials to keep our members abreast of the changing landscape. Our continuing education program is designed to make sure that members who are active in the industry and desire current knowledge of industry practices and governing legislation have the opportunity to re-certify every two years.

After the initial two years of certification: To re-certify, stay in good standing with states requiring continuing education and use the IAPDA Certified Debt Specialist and Certified Credit Counseling Specialist designations, the following requirements must be met:

  • Completion of the latest version of the IAPDA Certified Debt Specialist, Certified Credit Counseling Specialist or Certified Student Loan Specialist training program.
  • Submission of the IAPDA Certified Debt Specialist, Certified Credit Counseling Specialist or Certified Student Loan Specialist Certification Exam.


Top financial experts strongly advise consumers to work only with IAPDA Certified Professionals. IAPDA certified members are thoroughly trained in every aspect of debt relief and are recognized as professionals by legislators and members of the debt relief and collection industries. To ensure our members remain current continuing education and re-certification is available every two years for all Certified Debt Specialists, Certified Credit Counseling Specialists and Certified Student Loan Specialists.

The International Association of Professional Debt Arbitrators Certifies individual members only, we do not Certify the Debt Relief firm (company/employer) of the individual member.

Be sure the debt consultant you are working with is IAPDA Certified, please search our database of individual IAPDA members » here