The Program Office occasionally hears from candidates who want to know if they are qualified for certification. It’s a smart question to ask before you submit your application fee. The reason you submit a fee, however, is that it takes us work to determine for sure that you’re qualified. And you’d be justifiably upset if we said, “Looks good” initially, then rejected you after you paid the application fee and we did a full review of your application. Thus, we do not answer the question of “Am I qualified?” until you submit your fee, application, and other required materials.
How should you figure out if you’re qualified? First, review the requirements for each certification level. Do you have the necessary years of experience based on your degree? Do you have the required depth and breadth of experience? And do your references cover all those requirements? Does your application make it clear that you meet these requirements? If you’ve worked on a proposal for business, you may have been involved with checking for compliance with the RFP terms. Think of this the same way and make it easy for our reviewers to confirm your qualifications. The more you try to help us, the more you will catch your own mistakes and help yourself.
It’s sometimes hard to edit your own work, so consider asking a friend to review your application. A current SEP or peer who is going through the process would be a great person to ask. If you don’t know anyone, ask your local chapter if there are any SEPs who can help. If you still come up dry, you can call the Program Office and we’ll try to find you someone. That “someone” won’t be an official representative but will be a SEP who has volunteered to help. We can’t make guarantees on their advice but can tell you that the best application packages are those that were reviewed by multiple other SEPs on their way to our office.