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Preparing for the CESP™ Exam

Interested in learning more about becoming CESP™certified? 

  • Learn about certification, accreditation and their benefits
  • Review the development of the CESP™ certification exam
  • Review exam eligibility requirements
  • Learn how to prepare for the exam
  • Find out what to do before, during and after the exam
Questions? Please email Kari Tietjen


Exam Description

The CESP exam is a multiple-choice exam administered during an allotted time of three hours.  The CESP exam is a scenario based exam based on the skills and information an employment support professional uses every day.  The test presents fictional situations similar to those typically encountered by employment specialists.  Test takers must select the most appropriate and effective strategy for the scenario.  The exam assesses the candidate’s ability to apply knowledge to context rather than their ability to memorize facts.

The exam is currently provided in paper and pencil format at proctored locations. This will change to be computer-based testing with a third party vendor, PSI, in July/August 2018.

Version 1 70% 114 21 180 minutes
Version 2 76% 122 13 180 minutes
Version 3 75% 126 9 180 minutes

Content Outline-What Does the CESP Exam Cover?

The exam is based on the results of a national Role Delineation Study.  Subject matter experts were polled on the basic skills and knowledge they believe to be an essential foundation to work in this field.  The detailed content outline is comprised of the results of the study. Candidates should carefully review the content outline, as they prepare for the exam. Test questions are taken from the following 5 core areas identified by the study as crucial for ability to work as a supported employment specialist in the percentages indicated.

  1. Application of Core Values and Principles to Practice & Legislation and Funding (13 to 17%)
  2. Individualized Assessment and Employment / Career Planning (23-29%)
  3. Community Research and Job Development (19-25%)
  4. Workplace and Related Supports (27-33%)
  5. Ongoing Support (6-8%)

CESP Certification Handbook

In preparation for the examination, APSE recommends candidates review the CESP™ Certification Handbook (“Handbook”). While not technically a study guide, the handbook does provide candidates with comprehensive information on the CESP™ certification program and the content of the examination.

CESP™ Certification Handbook

The ESPCC does not recommend or endorse a study guide or test preparation program.  The CESP™ examination was designed to test the application of knowledge and skills one uses in their role as an employment professional. Any coursework or training that contributes to professional development would be beneficial, but not necessary, while preparing to take the exam.

Exam Day Instructions

On the day of the exam, you will be required to bring a photo ID so that we can verify your identity. There is no admission to the examination without proper identification.  Arrive at least 30 minutes prior to the exam starting time.  

You will have a total of 3 hours to take the exam (excluding check in time).  You may check out when you are done and leave the exam early if you desire.  If you come late, you will be permitted to enter the exam but will not be granted any extra time to complete your exam session.

A proctor will escort you to and from the restroom. Do not bring any notebooks or other reference materials to the exam session. You will not need to bring any materials or supplies. You may bring a soda, water and limited snacks to the exam.   Do not bring snacks or drinks that are noisy so these do not distract other test takers.  You will also be asked to silence all electronic devices in the exam room.

Please note our mailing address:

414 Hungerford Dr.
Suite 224
Rockville, MD 20850

If you have additional questions, please email us or call: 301-279-0060.

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