Becoming IAF Certified™

Becoming a CPF

To become an IAF Certified™ Professional Facilitator (CPF) a candidate must have sufficient experience and skills as a process facilitator to demonstrate each of the six Core Facilitator Competencies.

The intent behind the IAF’s assessment process is to give each candidate ample opportunity to demonstrate their mastery of the Core Competencies. During the assessment, the candidate provides evidence through written documents, verbal interviews, and an observed facilitation practicum.

Initial Preparation

If you are interested in undertaking the CPF assessment, you should:

  • Review your facilitation knowledge, experience and skills relative to the IAF’s Core Competencies.
  • If in doing so, you identify gaps in your experience, prepare a plan to address them.

You may wish to consult the IAF Endorsed Training Programme, available in 2015, to find training opportunities that align specifically with the IAF Core Compentencies. You may also wish to contact your Regional Directors, who can inform you about professional development activites taking place in your region and with various IAF Chapters.

  • Proceed with your application when you feel you have the knowledge, skills and experience to demonstrate use of the Core Competencies.

The CPF Application & Documentation (Stage 1)

The CPF assessment process is divided into stages.  Stage 1 is the submission of documentation, which is then reviewed by assessors for evidence of a variety of experience (group size, processes, duration of engagement) and skills across the core competencies.

When you are ready to undertake Stage 1 of the assessment process, you should:

  • Check the calendar of upcoming CPF Assessments. The deadlines to submit the required application and related materials are dependent on the assessment date.
  • Contact the CPF Programme Administrator to request the CPF Information and Application package.
  • Complete your application and return it to the CPF Programme Administrator with the application fee*. You will be provided with further information about the documentation required during Stage 1 of the assessment. 

Each candidate’s documentation is carefully evaluated by a team of two Assessors who are assigned to the candidate for the duration of the process. The Assessors use the IAF Core Competencies to evaluate evidence that the candidate understands the foundations of facilitation and applies the competencies actively in their work.

Successful candidates from the Stage 1 documentation assessment are invited to a Stage 2 Assessment Day for further demonstration of their facilitation competencies

"The IAF has provided me with an open door to educate those familiar with the skill but not the defined competencies. The question generated by the designation: "What is a CPF?" creates the vessel into which new information can flow. Thanks for defining the path!"  (Bess F. CPF, Florida, USA)

*Application fees are non-refundable. Please click here for our Certification Fee Policies.





The CPF Assessment (Stage 2)

Assessments take place in several locations throughout the year. We advise submitting your application materials early so that you are prepared when a certification event is scheduled near you.

We generally require between 10 to 12 candidates to hold an assessment. If you feel there is sufficient interest to hold a CPF assessment in your location, please contact the CPF Programme Administrator to explore this possibility.

Prior to the CPF Assessment, candidates will receive detailed instructions on how best to prepare for the event. One of the assessors assigned to a candidate will be designated as the candidate’s ‘client’ for the purposes of planning for the Assessment Day workshop.

During the Assessment Day, you can expect to:

  • Be interviewed in person by your assigned assessors to further explore demonstration of the IAF Core Competencies;
  • Facilitate a workshop, the focus of which has been agreed in advance with the ‘client’ assessor;
  • Act as a participant for each of the other candidates’ workshops;
  • Undertake a final interview with your assigned assessors in which you are informed of the outcome of your application for certification.

The final evaluation is determined at the conclusion of the Stage 2 Assessment Day.  At this time, a candidate is either given a “pass” or “defer”.

The term “defer” is chosen carefully. It is not a politically correct alternative to “fail”. It means that, after the documentary review, interviews, and practicum, the Assessors have been unable to gather enough evidence to award the designation and the candidate may return at a later date for another attempt.

Assessors give detailed feedback to deferred candidates on the competencies that were not demonstrated during the assessment.  Deferred candidates can reapply within 6 months at a reduced fee.

All candidates are given written feedback following the assessment and have the option of receiving verbal feedback on the assessment day.  The entire process, from application to completion, typically spans a period of three to four months.

For additional information on the CPF Assessment process, please contact the CPF Programme Administrator.

"The CPF assessment event provided me with a rare opportunity for rigorous feedback on my facilitation practice… While the assessors were tough (i.e. neutral and independent), the ‘feel’ of the event was very supportive. I recommend the process to other colleagues who would like to benchmark their practice.” (Ian C, CPF, Sydney, Australia)

Download Application Package Below:

For more information or to submit your application, kindly contact the Certification Office at

Becoming a CPF | Master 

The IAF Certified™ Professional Facilitator ǀ Master represents a more senior level of experience, as well as a broader engagement with advancing the field of facilitation (e.g., such activities as IAF Board / Committee involvement, conference organization, presentations, writing / publishing, teaching, mentoring, etc.). We recommend a minimum of 8 years as a CPF, prior to being considered for IAF CPF ǀ M.

This level is obtained at the time of re-certification.

Click here for more details on how to apply


Becoming a CPF | Emeritus 

The IAF Certified™ Professional Facilitator ǀ Emeritus is a designation granted to an IAF CPF or IAF CPF ǀ M when the person demonstrates the senior level of an IAF CPF ǀ M, however is no longer actively working as a professional facilitator, and who has made significant contributions to advancing the field of facilitation (e.g. publishing, teaching, mentoring, etc.) over the course of their career. This certification level is meant primarily for those who have retired, or are retiring, from actively facilitating.

Click here for more details on how to apply