Child and Youth Care Certification Board (CYCCB)

Certification Process

The Child & Youth Care Certification Board provides an assessment process and certification to child and youth care practitioners who demonstrate their commitment to high standards of care and commitment to ongoing competence development.  The CYC certification program is the most rigorous demonstration of competence in the field.

Steps in the Certification Process: CYCCB uses a multi-method approach to competence demonstration. Certification is awarded to candidates who successfully demonstrate their CYC competence through completion of all the steps listed below:

    Determine which certification level best describes your experience, training/education and level of competence. Choose the highest level at which you qualify. Practitioners can apply at any of the three CYC certification levels: Entry(CYC),  Associate (CYC-A), and Professional (CYC-P). It is not necessary to complete certification at a lower level before applying at a higher level. The Entry and Associate Levels are not available in Canada.
    Schedule and complete testing with a passing score. Practitioners are typically able to pass the situational judgement exam at the highest level for which they qualify.
    Complete an application form for the level chosen and provide supporting documentation.  This includes documenting: 1) minimum requirements of education, experience & training; 2) provision of colleague references & supervisor assessment; 3) proof of membership in a professional association; 4) agreement to abide by ethical standards; and 5) confirmation of eligibility to work with children, youth & families.
    Complete a written portfolio (professional level only).
    Renew certificate on a two-year cycle.

Application Forms: Each certification level has its own set of application forms. Use the forms for the level you choose. Downloading forms from the CYCCB website assures you are using the most up-to-date editions of each form.



CYCCB encourages individuals seeking employment to research the education and experience requirements of prospective employers as they vary by region and organization. Many offer increased opportunities and benefits to CYC certified practitioners.

If you are interested in learning more about accreditation for academic programs, visit the Child & Youth Care Educational Accreditation Board of Canada. CYCCB is a founding supporter of the CYCEAB.

Provisional Certification

Provisional certification is available to support part-time workers and students who are graduating from college and university programs based on the five CYC certification competency domains.

Provisional certification is available at the Entry Level, Associate Level and Professional Level. To qualify, practitioners complete all certification level requirements with the exception of experience. Practitioners are granted a 30 month period in which to gain experience so the certificate can be converted to a full certification.


Testing can be scheduled at any of the CYCCB authorized test sites. Find the site closest to your location. Contact the person listed for details on testing available at the site. Contact the CYC Office if a contact person is not listed or if additional information is needed.

The CYC exams are composed of 75-89 questions that relate to scenarios. The scenarios describe practice in a variety of settings including early childhood education, after school, foster, residential and group care, and juvenile justice. The scenarios were submitted by practitioners who described actual practice situations. Each question offers 4-5 possible answers to choose from. One answer is based on correct application of CYC principles and ‚Äėbest practices‚Äô to the situation described in the scenario.¬†Sample test questions¬†are available.

Results of the certification pilot studies show that high numbers of the respondents believed that the exams tested important aspects of CYC and that the scenarios and questions reflected realistic practice situations.

Testing sessions are typically scheduled for 3 ¬Ĺ hour time periods. This allows 30 minutes for registration, orientation to the testing program, and completion of required forms. Practitioners then have an additional 3 hours to answer the exam questions. At the end of the 3 hour period the exam is returned to the proctor and the testing session ends.

Test results are typically sent to the person completing testing within two weeks of the test date. CYCCB does not report test scores; instead the test report informs the practitioner as to whether or not they passed the exam and the percentile in which they performed when compared to all others who have taken the exam.


Applicants complete the following forms to apply for certification:

  1. Application for Certification
  2. Colleague References (2)
  3. Supervisor Assessment (Entry level uses the Supervisor Reference)
  4. Electronic Portfolio Guidelines and Template (professional level only)

All forms are available in PDF format except the Electronic Portfolio Template, which is available in MS WORD format. The same forms are used in both Canada and the United States.

The forms were updated in 2018. These forms replace all previous versions in use. The name and version number of a form is included at the top left corner of each form above the page number.

All of the forms are formatted with information displayed along the left margin of each page. This information helps applicants understand requirements and provides additional information regarding options and requirements.

Entry and Associate level applications must be filed within a year of the date of testing. The filing time period cannot be extended. Professional level applications must be filed within 6 months of the date of testing. CYCCB grants a one-time 6-month extension at the Professional level to practitioners who request an extension and pay a $20 administrative fee.

Completed forms and supporting documentation are mailed to the CYC Office, 1212 Orr Street, College Station, Texas 77840-6906, USA. It is helpful to use a shipping method that allows for tracking of the shipment in case it is lost in transit. Although forms are rarely lost in transit, it is wise to keep a copy of all completed forms and supporting documents. Application forms and supporting documentation can be scanned and transmitted to the office electronically. Please check the scans to be sure they are readable before transmitting.

Practitioners engaged in the application process are encouraged to contact the CYC Office to answer application and documentation questions or to transmit documents. Documents can be faxed to (979) 764-7307.

Certification Fees

The testing fee is paid when testing is scheduled. The fee for application processing is typically enclosed with the application or paid on-line. The extension fee is typically submitted with the application. Payment is accepted in both Canadian and US currency. Checkboxes are provided on the first page of the application to document how payment is made. Payment can be made by:

  • Enclosing a bank draft, money order, or check made payable to ‚ÄúCYCCB or CYC Certification Board‚ÄĚ.
  • Electronic payment at¬† If using this method, enclose a copy of the receipt for payment with the application.
  • Pre-paid voucher. The voucher number is recorded in the space provided on page 1 of the application. Pre-paid vouchers can be purchased in bulk from CYCCB by contacting the Office.

Current fees are:

Entry Level

Associate Level

Professional Level

Child & Youth Care Association of Alberta

Application Processes

welcome to the Child and Youth Care certification process. For those who are new to the field of Child and Youth Care, some of the details may seem to branch all over the place. If in doubt, my first suggestion will always be to check with someone who has gone through the process (for some guidance). If that is not an option, please call the Child and Youth Care of Alberta Association office and talk to the administrator or ask for the contact information for one of the certification coordinators. Otherwise, I will provide a few ideas related to eligibility for certification, preparing for the exams, the difference between the written and oral exams and other questions that are often asked:

One of the first questions is related to who qualifies to apply for Child and Youth Care certification. My answer usually is: it depends on your educational background first, however it also depends on the amount of direct Child and Youth Care experience that you have and the type of position and agency with which you have experience.

  • If you have a degree or diploma in Child and Youth Care; this is considered the highest academic standard for preparation. This indicates that you have completed an academic program that covers the core areas of knowledge as well as a practicum component in the field of Child and Youth Care. These individuals¬†do not have to complete the written or oral exam as part of their process, as they have met the standard within their academic program. As such, they can apply for certification by completing a one-year internship with their agency and having the agency endorse that they are meeting a satisfactory standard of practice during that one-year internship. They may apply for full certification at the end of the one year of practice. They will be required to prove that they have completed their academic program, and have their agency endorsement.
  • Not everyone in the field of Child and Youth Care comes into the process with a directly applied degree or diploma. Some have a related degree or diploma, for example: in psychology, sociology, rehabilitation counselling, human ecology, education, and other fields that incorporate knowledge related to Child and Youth Care. These individuals will be¬†required to demonstrate a satisfactory level of knowledge and application by completing a written and oral exam as part of their process to receive full certification. They will also require the endorsement of their agency and the completion of a one-year internship before finalizing the process. They will also be required to prove that they have completed their academic program in order to apply under this criterion.
  • Applicants without a related diploma or degree will be assessed for eligibility based on the quality and quantity of their CYC work-related experience. This normally requires that the candidate has completed the equivalent of 5 years of experience in a Child and Youth Care role. This must be documented by the agency or another means (e.g., a letter from the agency, work record documenting the name of the agency and position the individual had while working). These individuals will also be¬†required to demonstrate a satisfactory level of knowledge and application by completing a written and oral exam as part of their process to receive full certification. They will also be required to receive the endorsement of their agency and complete the one-year internship before completing the process. It is important to note that an individual planning to go through this method can start the one year internship following 4 years of experience and would be able to apply for the written exam at the end of the fifth year of work in the field.

There are a number of resources available to individuals seeking to complete the certification process.

  • There is an online component that has been developed, which is available to all individuals seeking full certification or those that have registered with the Child and Youth Care Association of Alberta. Individuals wanting to access this information will need to register with the Child and Youth Care Association of Alberta and pay a registration fee. From there, they will be provided with access information to the online sites which include 3 levels of information depending on the person‚Äôs background and interests. It is important to understand that this information is intended to provide a general overview of many of the components covered in an academic program; however, its main purpose is to provide information/knowledge on which the certification candidate can build. These resources continue to develop and evolve depending on policies and funding provided by the Government of Alberta, the Child and Youth Care Association of Alberta, and other stakeholders.
  • Another resource to consider is the latest version of the Child and Youth Care Certification Manual (2014 Edition). This manual has been recently updated and has had limited circulation. It provides a wealth of information about the purpose and the history of the certification program in Alberta. I would encourage candidates to look at the self-assessment tool and the specific questions that are included on the written exam. This can help candidates prepare and review for the questions that they will encounter. For the written exam they have to choose questions from four content areas; 2 from part A, 1 from part B, and 1 from part C.
  • Otherwise, much of the content covered can be done as a self-study, where the candidate finds their own resources (e.g., through the library, academic institutions, workshops, online resources, or buying/borrowing books as available). Some agencies also develop their own resources or have learning groups that cover information included on the exams.

As far as the written exam is concerned, the candidate must receive their endorsement, and complete a specific period of time with the agency, before applying to take the written exam.

  • It consists of 4 questions that are chosen from the exam areas that are initially chosen by the candidate. The exam will be sent to an identified agency administrator or delegate who is responsible for ensuring appropriate supervision and administration.. The candidate will not always know what the questions are, unless they have prepared for all the questions listed in their content areas. The exams are marked out of 25 points for each question for a total of 100 points.
  • On the written exam, there is an allocation of 10 points for demonstration of knowledge, which means that the person has included research based on a theorist that is applicable to the field of Child and Youth Care. For example, for a question related to child development the person may base their answer on a theorist such as Bandura, Erikson, Piaget, Vygotski, or another researcher that has contributed to the area of child development. In addition, 10 points are allocated for demonstration of the application, where the candidate discusses how they use the knowledge in working with their clients. The final 5 points are allocated based on the clarity of the answer, or whether they have provided additional information, or have integrated additional relevant information not normally included in dealing with the question.¬† To be successful, the candidate must score 75% on the written exam. If they are successful, they can apply to do the oral exam. They are normally required to complete the oral exam within one year of passing the written component.
  • The oral exam is quite different than the written exam. This exam focusses on the candidate‚Äôs knowledge, attitude, and skills as it relates to the overall field of Child and Youth Care. The exam can take anywhere from 2-3 hours to complete and covers the areas that were selected by the candidate for the written exam, as well as the areas of Professionalism and Self-Care. The oral exam seeks to explore their ability to demonstrate ethical and informed (or best) practice when providing services to their client group. Key areas that are covered in all exams are:
  • Awareness of the scope of practice and ethical problem-solving approaches.
  • Knowledge, skills, attitudes related to core foundations for Child and Youth Care practice including Relationship Development; Therapeutic Use of the Environment and Self/Colleagues; Use of a Developmental Approach; and knowledge and skills as related to Behavior Management. These areas provide the basis for other knowledge areas such as Mental Health, Activity Programming, or Program Development to name a few.
  • The exam panel is made up of two individuals, the Certification Coordinator and a certified member with significant experience in the field of Child and Youth Care. They evaluate the candidate on their ability to discuss their overall knowledge, and how they use their knowledge in their practice. The oral exam also has a quantitative component that requires a minimum grade of 75% in order to pass.

Submitted by: Shaun Holmstrom, Northern Alberta Certification Coordinator, November 2016

The certification process below describes the process for Child and Youth Care Counsellors working within the scope of practice. If you are a Child Care Worker working in a daycare facility this is not within our scope of practice please find your certification process at this website Certification for Child Care Workers Day Care

To be recognized as a Certified Child and Youth Care Counsellor there are two processes.

Process 1

Child and Youth Care Counsellors who have either a Child and Youth Care Diploma or Degree from any accredited University or College.

1. Be employed within the scope of practice for a minimum of 2080 hours or 1 year. scope-of-practice

This is also a video about the work of Child and Youth Care

2. Be a member in good standing. Cost $100-  2015-membership-application-form

3. Complete the Registration for Certification Form. Ensure that your supervisor and a manager or administrator has signed the form. If you are self-employed please contact the office. Cost $90 registration-for-certification-2015

4. Submit your completed forms with a copy of your diploma or degree. Forms can be emailed or faxed (780)428-3844

5. Your application will be reviewed by a Certification Coordinator and if the certification criteria have been met you will be notified. A certification fee will be requested $70.

Process 2

For members from other educational backgrounds.

1. Be employed within the scope of practice for a minimum of 2080 hours or 1 year.SCOPE OF PRACTICE

2. Be a member in good standing. Cost $100-2015-membership-application-form

3. Complete the Registration for Certification Form. Ensure that your supervisor and a manger or administrator has signed the form. If you are self employed please contact the office Cost $90 registration-for-certification-2015

4. Intermediate Certification- The Certification Manual is available within Module 2-1 of the online learning system. In the manual you will find the focus areas for your Intermediate Exam. Review each focus area and select the 2 focus areas from group A that are most suited to the work that you do. Then select 1 focus area from group B and 1 from group C. The online modules will assist in guiding you through the expectations of each focus area and provide you with a clear understanding of the knowledge required to be a Certified Child and Youth Care Counsellor. After completing your studies complete the  application-for-intermediate-certification-2015 Cost of the Intermediate Exam is $135. The exam will be emailed to the exam supervisor specified on your Registration Form.

5. After successfully completing the Intermediate Certification Exam your next and final step will be to complete the 2015 Registration for Full Certification Cost of the Oral Exam is $135. This exam can be taken in either Calgary or Edmonton. SKYPE is also available for members who are not in a position to travel to either location.

6. After your oral exam has been successfully completed there will be a $70 Certification Fee.

Certified Members

The annual dues for a Certified Child and Youth Care Counsellor are $170 due June 1st of each year. The first year is pro rated from the date of certification. Every two years a Certification Maintenance Form is required documenting the education, workshops, and conferences attended. It is important for certified members to update their education constantly.

This is a powerpoint that outlines the two processes. Certification 2

Maintenance of Certification Form 2015-maintenance-of-certification