Professional Organizer Training
Hoarding & Professional Organizer Certification
Since the “Hoarders” series started airing on A&E TV, many people have been wondering what kind of training you need to work with compulsive hoarders.
If you’ve been watching the shows, you’ve seen both professional organizers and different types of mental health professionals working with the individuals featured in the programs.
Some of the professional organizers you’ve seen, like me, are certified (I have a CPO-CD®). Getting certified requires hours of training and experience. There are a few types of credentialing available but the two most well known and respected are:
1 – The Certified Professional Organizer (CPO®) certification is offered through the Board of Certification of Professional Organizers (BCPO).
To become a CPO®, you need to have a certain amount of professional experience and education, and pass a qualifying exam.
2 – The Certified Professional Organizer in Chronic Disorganization (CPO-CD®) certification is offered through the National Study Group in Chronic Disorganization (NSGCD).
To become a CPO-CD®, you have to complete an 18-month training program that focuses specifically on working with chronically disorganized clients, and then pass an exam to earn this designation.
Why two certifications?
Professional organizers work with many different types of people on many different kinds of projects. Naturally, people live with different levels of disorganization.
Becoming a Certified Professional Organizer (CPO®) means you’ve had experience working with many different types of clients, but it does NOT necessarily mean you’ve had experience working with clients who are chronically disorganized or suffer from compulsive hoarding.
Becoming a Certified Professional Organizer in Chronic Disorganization (CPO-CD®), on the other hand, means you’ve had a great deal of training and experience working with the chronically disorganized, as well as enough education to have a basic understanding of hoarding and what it takes to help them. If you then choose to specialize in working with hoarders, like I have, you can then get more training and education to help them.
Do you need to be certified to work with hoarders?
There are plenty of professional organizers who are not certified; some are extremely experienced, others are not. Certification is voluntary in this industry.
While you don’t have to be certified to do this work, it’s strongly recommended that you have a lot of training and experience working with this particular group in order to be truly helpful. If you’re not qualified, you risk doing more harm than good, and you would be wasting the client’s time, energy and money.
To learn more about professional organizing and the types of work we do, visit the National Association of Professional Organizers website, www.napo.net.
To learn more about chronic disorganization, what it is, get fact sheets, publications, and referrals to professionals in your area, visit the National Study Group on Chronic Disorganization’s website, www.nsgcd.org.