Licensing versus Certification
Professional certification is a voluntary process where a non-governmental organization grants recognition of a certain level of mastery of knowledge & skills in a specific field. Certification should not be confused with licensing, however. The term is often used as a catch-all term for several different activities that apply to the credentialing of individuals and institutions, but it lacks the regulatory oversight of licensing.
Licensing grants permission to do something that otherwise is forbidden. In most cases, a license is required for engaging in that activity. For instance, a driver’s license is considered mandatory for the privilege of driving a car on public roads. Licensing also involves the police power of the state. That is, if one violates the licensing law, either by acting without a license, or failing to uphold the rules governing the license privilege, one is subject to prosecution under civil or criminal laws. Doctors, dentists, and nurses, for example all have earned their credentials, but they are also licensed by the state they practice in, and malpractice could result in a loss of license.
A variety of professionals provide home modification and healthcare services to people who want to age in place — from medical to construction to finance. You often see letters in their titles – such as CAPS, CGR, CSA, and PRES – but what do they mean? Below is a breakdown. Let us know if you hear of other certified professionals that should be added.
Abilities Occupational Therapist Services & Seminars – AOTSS provides accessibility consultation and home modifications services for children through adults with & without disabilities, as well as the agencies & organizations that service them. AOTSS consultants & special educators provide cost effective, coordinated, client-centered service delivery at home, jobsite, school or in the community.
Certified Assistive Technology Professional – ATP is a certification from the Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America (RESNA) for service providers who analyze the tech needs of consumers with disabilities and helps them select and use adaptive devices. ATPs work with clients of all ages with every type of cognitive, physical, and sensory disability.
Certified Age in Place Specialist – The CAPS program teaches the technical, business management, and customer service skills essential to competing in the fastest growing segment of the residential remodeling industry: home modifications for the aging-in-place.
Certified Environmental Access Consultant – CEAC credentialing was created to train professionals who evaluate the environmental access needs of the aging-in-place and physically challenged, and to promote independence living among the physically challenged and elderly.
Certified Graduate Remodeler – The CGR program is designed to emphasize business management skills as the key to a professional remodeling operation.
Certified Kitchen & Bath Designers – The National Kitchen & Bath Association offers several certification programs for professionals working in those spaces
Certified Long Term Care Ombudsman – CLTCO training instructs ombudsmen on how to record the work they do on behalf of residents, including visits to facilities, complaints, consultations, and more. Each state reports their data to the Administration on Aging, to be summarized into the National Ombudsman Reporting System (NORS).
Certified Professional Organizer – Board Certification of Professional Organizers (BCPO) is a voluntary, industry-led effort that benefits the members of the organizing profession, as well as the public.
Certified Relocation & Transition Specialists – CRTS provides training in all aspects of 55+ home transitions, relocations and moves to help seniors and their families as they move, organize, downsize, stage, sell and remodel their homes. Certified individuals include Organizers, Movers, move managers, Home Stagers, Realtors, estate planners, home care providers, elder law attorneys, nurses, social workers, housing administrators and more.
Certified Remodeler – The National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) recognizes the skills and achievements of nine distinct groups of home remodeling professionals, including Certified Remodeler (CR), Certified Remodeler Associate (CRA), Certified Remodeler Specialist (CRS), Certified Remodeling Project Manager (CRPM), Master Certified Remodeler (MCR), Certified Kitchen and Bath Remodeler (CKBR), Green Certified Professional (GCP), Universal Design Certified Professional (UDCP), and Certified Lead Carpenter (CLC).
Certified Senior Adviser – CSAs have a broad-based knowledge of the health, social and financial issues important to seniors, and the dynamics of how these factors work together in seniors’ lives.
National Association of Senior Move Managers – A NASMM trained A Senior Move Manager specializes in assisting older adults and their families with the emotional and physical aspects of relocation and/or aging-in-place. Though many Senior Move Managers have backgrounds in gerontology, social work, health care, nursing and psychology, others come to this industry from the corporate world of project management, technology, accounting or marketing.
Occupational Therapist – Occupational therapy practitioners can be credentialed at the professional level, as an occupational therapist, at the technical level, or as an occupational therapy assistant. The occupational therapist completes a 5 or 6-year post-baccalaureate OT degree and the occupational therapy assistant (OTA) completes a 2-year associate degree in OT.
Physical Therapist – Currently, the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties (ABPTS) offers board-certification in eight specialty areas of physical therapy: Cardiovascular & Pulmonary, Clinical Electrophysiology, Geriatrics, Neurology, Orthopaedics, Pediatrics, Sports, and Women’s Health.
Senior Real Estate Specialist – SRES designees are REALTORS qualified to address the real estate needs of clients age 50+. They are astute to the financial and emotional challenges senior clients face when they sell a long-held family home. They have special knowledge about everything from reverse mortgages and the importance of universal design to the uses of pensions, 401k accounts, and IRAs in real estate transactions. And they can help you steer clear of loan schemes & scams that victimize aged 50+ borrowers.