Credentialing Process - How it Works

The National Association for Professional Gerontologists awards credentials to those who demonstrate that they possess a core body of Gerontological knowledge. NAPG defines core Gerontological knowledge as including the following: a broad background in the social, psychological and physical/biological aspects of aging, including theoretical concepts; and, knowledge of practice concepts in working with older adults, including ethical issues.

NAPG offers two ways to obtain a NAPG credential and regular membership. Memberships are also available for students currently enrolled in Gerontology and related degree programs at accredited colleges or universities.

Regular Memberships

Demonstrating academic preparation
(submission and approval of academic transcripts)


GRADUATE LEVEL/Gerontologist

Professionals and academics/educators in the field of Gerontology, with an MA/MS degree in Gerontology or Doctorate in Gerontology, or related field with an emphasis in aging, from an accredited institution.

BACCALAUREATE LEVEL/Gerontological Specialist

Professional or administrator providing services to seniors, with a BA/BS degree in Gerontology from an accredited institution.

ASSOCIATE/CERTIFICATE LEVEL/Gerontological Coordinator

Service provider for seniors, with an AA Degree/Certificate in Gerontology or a minimum of 24 units in Gerontology from an accredited institution.

PROFESSIONAL/SCHOLAR/Affiliate

NAPG recognizes and invites those who have dedicated their careers and contributed to the field of aging to become professional/scholar affiliates. Please send curriculum vitae or resume for consideration.

Successfully passing a credentialing examination at the requested level as listed above.
Examinations are offered a minimum of two times per year in conjunction with national gerontology conferences and professional meetings (e.g., AGHE, ASA, GSA) or at selected sites as needed. Contact NAPG's Executive Director Dr. Donna Schafer at donna_schafer@sbcglobal.net to make arrangements.

Evaluation Process for Regular Membership:

Evaluating Transcripts

NAPG board members review and approve academic transcripts for credentialing. On a rotation basis, one board member is designated as the arbitrator for transcripts, and the remainder of the board is divided into evaluation teams. If team members are consistent in their decisions, the applicant will be notified of the decision. If team members do not agree, the arbitrator reviews transcripts and makes a final decision. Applicants with transcripts not accepted will be notified as to the deficient areas with suggestions for further coursework.

Exam Scoring Process

Using a process for inter-rater reliability, exams are reviewed by the NAPG board of directors. On a rotation basis, one board member is designated as the arbitrator for exams, and the remainder of the board is divided into evaluation teams. If team members are consistent in their decisions, the applicant will be notified of the decision. If exam scorers do not agree, the arbitrator reviews the exam and makes a final decision. Applicants with exam scores not at a passing level will be notified as to the deficient areas with suggestions for further learning and preparation to retake the exam.

Appeal Process

After the transcript or exam review process, if the applicant chooses to appeal the decision, the application will go to the arbitrator. The applicant at that point may be asked to provide additional information or documentation. The decision of the arbitrator is final.

Student Memberships

To become a Student Member of NAPG you must be currently enrolled in an academic degree program in Gerontology or related discipline with an emphasis in Gerontology at the Associate/Certificate level, the Baccalaureate level, or the Graduate (Master's or Ph.D.) level at an accredited college or university.

Evaluation Process for Student Membership:
Students must provide evidence of enrollment. Normally academic transcripts are used to provide evidence of enrollment. Board members review academic transcripts and notify applicants.

Renewal of Membership

Regular Members

NAPG credentials for regular members are renewed every two years by completion of 20 hours of Professional Development activities.

Professional Development activities may include documented presentations and participation in national and regional professional gerontology meetings or conferences at the level of double time for presentations and hour-for-hour for attendance. NAPG accepts hours/units of CEUs offered by state-approved providers of continuing education. The majority of the course content must be in the field of aging. NAPG's CEU offerings may be used to satisfy the professional development requirement in full or in part. (Click Professional Development for NAPG CEU course listings). Publication in peer-reviewed journals in the field of aging satisfies the professional development requirement for one two-year period.

Student Members

If a student member has not completed his/her academic program after the initial two-year period of student membership, the student member may apply for renewal by submitting current transcripts along with the application/renewal processing fee.