is given and maintained by the NSEAI. Levels of professional knowledge
and expertise in specific areas will vary among providers based on
additional experience and education outside of the Comprehensive Special
Education Advocacy Training provided by NSEAI. Members agree that
NSEAI has the sole discretion to give or revoke board certification
based on professional behaviors demonstrated. Members agree that the
NSEAI Practice Act of Principles and Guidelines will be followed to
maintain certification after successfully completing the training
Board certification promotes a standard for
recognizing qualifications and validating a broad-based minimum
knowledge requirement as the foundation for effective service in the
field of special education advocacy. These standards aim to enhance
service provision to people with educational and developmental disabilities who are
seeking access to a free and appropriate education. The board
certification program promotes minimum standards of professional
practice in the field of Education Advocacy and is a source of
pride for the BCEA.
Board Certification of any service provider, in any field, is the
process by which a non-governmental agency or association validates an
individual’s qualifications and knowledge in a defined functional area, through a predetermined curriculum.
Candidates for certification must meet specific requirements of
eligibility and pass examinations.
BCEA Qualified Individuals having taken a course of study that sets
a minimum national standard of knowledge for Education
Advocates which was published in March 2008, with NSEAI's curriculum.
In keeping to professional national standards of board certification, NSEAI is striving to meet all 21 credentialing standards set forth by NCCA, the National Commission for Certifying Agencies. http://www.credentialingexcellence.org/NCCAAccreditation
Standards focus on: Purpose, Governance, Resources, Responsibilities to Association Members, Responsibilities to the Public, Assessment Instruments, Recertification, and Maintaining Accreditation.
Board certifications are professional designations representing qualifications and experience. It is an acknowledgment of educational achievement that an agency bestows to safeguard the public interests. It denotes a minimum standard of education, continuing education requirements and experience to perform designated tasks.
Board Certification is very different than a certification of attendance to an educational program, regardless of the length of the program. Board Certification requires passing at an acceptable level a series of examinations whereas certification attendance does not reflect knowledge of materials. Certifications do not reflect an experiential level nor the commitment and requirement to continuing education. Board Certifications reflect an extensive area of predetermined scope of study with a consistent curriculum. This is what creates a minimum standard of best practice within an industry. NSEAI offers a base 120 hour program, with a broad base of study and cross training by lawyers, educators, clinicians and policy makers about special education.
Board certification sets forth a set of standards that are expected to be followed. These standards are agreed to once one accepts the Board Certification. No board certifying agency can guarantee professional competence that is why a complaint and review process is available by all national board certifying groups.
ANSWERS TO BOARD CERTIFICATION QUESTIONS:
What does the program include?
• Education includes
core knowledge in a cross training program. • A curriculum outline is posted on
the web. • This includes
the education, behavior, legal and clinical aspects of special education
• NSEAI has
offered in the past CLEs for lawyers, Act 48 for teachers and continuing
clinical education units (based on specialty – RN, social worker, psychologist,
• College credits
will be offered in the near future.
• Programming includes direct instruction, case reviews and interactive education, as well as a
Program Requirements: • There are 3
Levels of certification, Fellow, Diplomat or Consultant. • Experienced
advocates – receive a higher level of certification and may test out of 2 modules
- 150 CEU hours to include:
☐ 120 Training Hours NSEAI Board Certification
Training ☐ 30 CEU hours in Special Education or related field outside
of NSEAI Training
☐ Educational Advocacy Experience in 5 or more School
Districts/ regions PRACTICUM
☐ Consultation on at least 20 cases with a minimum of
100 hours ☐ OR 100 hours of
mentoring by a BCEA with recommendation
EXPERIENCE ☐3 years or more of Education
Advocacy Experience with one year in Independent Practice
☐ORa Graduate Degree
in: _Education __Psychology __Law __ Clinical
Are continuing education credits required? • There is an ongoing
continuing education requirement of 30hours/ 3 years
What is Board Certification? • It sets a minimum standard
to meet in any profession and within a specialty. Who certifies?
• The Board of NCARE
is the certifying agency. It has a defined curriculum (required in all board
certification programs) and a Board Certification Advisory Board.
• The Board
Certification Advisory board oversees the certification process.
• NSEAI presently does quality
improvement reviews on 21 professional competency board certification national
standards. These standards are similar to those used with board certification through
Nursing Organizations, Physician Organizations and other professional
organizations that offer Board Certifying programs.
Is it a national certification? • It is a National Board Certification,
not state or local.
• NSEAI is a national
What is the cost ? • It is determined by the
board ($250 per session) • Sponsorship
has lowered it to as low as $20 per session or as high as $150 and in between.
• NCARE has offered scholarships in past.
Can I take it on the web? • Webinars are in development
What is the cost of the Board Certification, after
I take the program • The 3 levels are:
$100 - Diplomat
• Annual membership of $75 –
included in the first year of certification.
Does NSEAI investigate individuals or complaints? • NSEAI has a practice act and
policy statement. If there is a suspected
violation, and a complaint filed, an investigation occurs. Sanctions or removal
of certification may occur.
Does NSEAI board certify criminals? • If convicted,
found, or entered a plea of guilty, or if presently being investigated or
charged with any felony or misdemeanor, subject to a detention order, on
probation or parole, or if one’s case is under appeal, NSEAI will not accept
the person’s application. If someone is convicted
later their board certification is revoked.
Is the board
certification licensure? • No there is no
licensure for education advocates. • That is why board
certification is so important to this industry.
TESTING AND CURRICULUM DEVELOPMENT
Pre- and post-tests were used to document the quality of our program, measuring outcomes, and to demonstrate success. These exams gave us useful professional impact data for progress reports and acted as an accurate measure, providing real-time feedback related to program quality. This information helped our curriculum committee decide whether or not to make changes in the implementation of activities within the program.
Participants taking the NSEAI program ranged from those • self taught (little formal training - local and state wide trainings < 30 hours), • moderate formal training (local and state wide trainings, 31-59 hours), • formally trained (state local or national trainings of 60 hours or greater).
The results were significant:
• Out of 473 pre-examinations only 20% of the 100 with little training and 290 with moderate training, and 35% of the 83 with formal advocacy training of >60 hours, passed the pre test.
• In post testing 90% of all groups passed their post examinations. This was evidence of a significant overall improvement of knowledge and expertise in the advocacy population.
• Average grades went from 63 (below passing) to 85, a 26% improvement in knowledge.
• Even the highly educated advocates improved their grades from an average of 68 - (below passing) to an average of 87, showing an 22% improvement. This improvement occurred in a population of very active advocates who believed that they were already highly educated.
The tests were only one part of an assessment plan of knowledge associated with this discipline specific curriculum. These tests focus on the missions, goals, and objectives of NSEAI and allowed for useful projections of participant behavior and learning within this field of study. These tests assess the ability to analyze and solve problems, understand relationships, and interpret material. The results enabled us to monitor participant progression and learning throughout prescribed periods of time and helped us determine where significant skills and knowledge deficiencies existed. Participant surveys and exit interviews were another important tool used, as well as alumni surveys.