Become A Certified Parent College Advisor (Parent CPCA®)

Become A Certified Parent College Advisor

College Students

4 Steps to Become a Certified Parent College Advisor

Step 1: Learn About Becoming A Parent CPCA.

What is a Certified Parent College Advisor (Parent CPCA)?

Parent CPCAs apply their knowledge gained from completing the Parent CPCA Training and Certification Program to do the following:

Parent CPCAs Lead a College-Going Team within their Home and Family

  • Parent CPCAs lead a college-going team within their home and family where they are accountable to each of their children and other family members to ensure they complete the critical steps to enroll in some form of postsecondary education within one year after high school graduation. Parent CPCAs use a high-touch method, giving each student in their “college-going team” 18 – 36 hours of one-on-one peer college advising throughout the nine month school year.


  • Parent CPCAs help their children successfully navigate the college admissions and financial aid process and to enroll and complete some form of postsecondary education, specifically to enter high skilled careers or trades.


  • Parent CPCAs work to build a college going culture within their home environment.


Parent CPCAs Partner with High Schools and School Counselors to support parents and students school-wide.

  • Parent CPCAs partner with high schools and counselors to provide support to students and parents school-wide through facilitating bi-weekly or monthly college knowledge workshops that will help other parents learn how to navigate through the college application process, secure financial aid and scholarships, and enroll into a regionally accredited two- or four-year college or career and technical training certificate or licensure program, specifically to be prepared to enter high skilled careers or trades.


  • Parent CPCAs help students register and complete college entrance exams and search for two- or four-year colleges that match their future education and career goals and fit their financial, social, and cultural needs.


  • Parent CPCAs work with high school CPCAs, college CPCAs, professional school counselors, and other school staff to tie a strong college-going culture into the life of a high school and devise creative approaches to reach and connect with high school students and their parents.


  • Parent CPCAs open the eyes of students and their families to the possibility of using college or postsecondary career or technical training to be prepared to enter and succeed in high skilled careers or trades.


  • Furthermore, Parent CPCAs partner with high school CPCAs and high school NAPCA Chapters to organize monthly college visits to help students school-wide experience different types of regionally accredited higher education institutions and identify what type of setting works best for them.


Certified Parent College Advisor (Parent CPCA) Designation

Build Credibility through Parent CPCA Certification

The Certified Parent College Advisor (Parent CPCA®) designation is a mark of distinction demonstrating the knowledge, skills, and commitment to the field of parent college advising. Parent CPCA® certification is recognized as the highest standard in parent college advising. Having Parent CPCA® certification enables you to stand out and communicates your expertise and credibility to the public. The Parent CPCA® certification provides the public with the assurance that student leaders with the Parent CPCA designation are committed to maintaining the highest quality of parent college advising service to students.

Nearly 8 in 10 parents say they would feel more confident working with a parent college advisor who completed extensive training to hold the Parent CPCA designation. The creation of the National Association of Parent College Advisors was the first global effort designed to increase the recognition of and establish standards for parent college advising across the globe.

Step 2: Apply for Admission to the Parent CPCA Training & Certification Program.

In order to become a Certified Parent College Advisor (Parent CPCA), aspiring Parent CPCAs must complete and submit the Parent CPCA Training and Certification Program Enrollment Application. To complete the enrollment application, go to If you have questions about becoming a Parent CPCA, please contact the NAPCA Headquarters at 310-361-8585 or email us at

Step 3: Complete the Parent CPCA Training & Certification Program. Pass the Parent CPCA Written and Oral Exam.

Parent CPCA Exam

After you finish your training and certification program, you must apply to take the Exam, and there is a fee, currently $50. The Parent CPCA® Exam is a rigorous certified parent college advisor exam administered by the CPCA Governing Council.

The exam has two parts:

Part I is a comprehensive written exam offered online and proctored by local personnel. Two hours will be given to complete Part I of the exam.

Part II is an oral exam offered in a classroom or online via Skype or Adobe Connect. No longer than 45 minutes will be permitted for the oral exam.

Candidates that take the exam will receive a Pass or Not Pass. The emphasis of the exam is to determine whether the test-taker is able to competently apply their knowledge of College Admission and Financial Aid Advising.

Step 4: Pass the CPCA Code of Ethics Exam.


Aspiring Parent CPCAs must pass the CPCA code of ethics exam. Each Parent CPCA candidate must abide by the CPCA Code of Ethics, and further, agrees to the CPCA Governing Council’s right to enforce the CPCA code of ethics. This lets the public know that the Certified Parent College Advisor who carries the Parent CPCA designation adheres to the highest ethical standards. Any Parent CPCA who is found by the governing council to be involved in serious misconduct can be stripped of the Parent CPCA designation/certification and will no longer be a member of NAPCA.

You can download and read the NAPCA Code of Ethics for CPCA’s at To sum up the most important code of ethics, CPCA’s agree to put their clients’ interests ahead of their own, and always act in a professional manner.