Key Certification Findings
The following key findings were identified through research conducted on the CYC-P Professional Level Exam and application process.
Certified workers are 2.7 times more likely to be high performing practitioners than uncertified (Curry et al., 2013).
The certification exam is predictive of child and youth worker competence/performance on the job across practice settings (Curry et al., 2009).
The exam and other components of the certification process assess competencies determined by a meta-analysis of 87 sets of competencies in North America. This meta-analysis led to the development of the North American Competencies for Professional Child and Youth Work Practitioners. To ensure content validity, these competencies guided the development of each assessment component in the CYCCB certification program (Curry et al., 2009; Eckles et al., 2009; Mattingly, Stuart, & VanderVen, 2002, 2010).
The exam has a high degree of internal reliability - Cronbach’s alpha = .90 and appears to assess one general construct of professional CYW judgment (Curry et al., 2013; Curry et al., 2009; Child and Youth Care Certification Board, 2011).
The exam has a high degree of face validity across practice settings. For example, 90% of practitioners agree that the exam accurately assesses important aspects of CYW and 90% agree that the exam’s case examples provide realistic samples of CYW (Curry, et al., 2009).
The major components of CYCCB certification (education, experience, passing score on the exam, completion of certification including the portfolio) are each predictive of CYW performance. Each component progressively predicts performance-an indication of the incremental validity of the certification process (Curry et al., 2013).
Benefits of certification
In a 2013 qualitative study (funded by an Edmund A. Stanley, Jr. National Research Grant) child and youth care practitioners working in out-of-school time programs reported the following benefits to being certified:
1. Ensuring a common baseline of competence.
“I think we should all be on the same page at some level. Teachers have to be certified, why can anyone go into an afterschool peer program? Why can anyone go into a daycare? There should be some level of common knowledge.”
2. Increased motivation, a sense of accomplishment, confidence and empowerment.
“It definitely gave me some confidence that I know what I’m doing. I think that it’s helpful for my supervisors in that they can count on me because of what I’ve learned and come to me in a situation if they need advice or another site manager who maybe hasn’t had that much training.”
3. Increased awareness and mindfulness.
“It’s made me more efficient … When you’re more mindful about what you do and you know the meaning and the reason for it, for example the documentation or the building of those relationships; if you understand the why, then you’re able to be more efficient and carry it out more.”
4. A signal of one’s commitment to professional youth work.
“Letting the workers see themselves as professionals. It is a morale enhancer. It lets them know that you take them seriously as a professional and you want them to have this credential.”
5. Being part of something bigger.
“…. has allowed me to have awareness of what is going on in other areas of child and youth work including conferences that I can take advantage of. Also the actual certification process helped me to create and maintain affiliation with member-based programs which created networking opportunities and a sense of community.”
6. Valuing the learning as an end in itself.
“I feel like it’s the learning-the information is the most important thing to the individual worker.”
7. Increased recognition coinciding with awareness of the importance of advocating for certification within and outside the field.
“I would like to see more on the state and local level to collaborate and communicate about the national certification.”