How much does the ISSP-SA exam cost?
The ISSP-SA exam administration fee is as follows:
How much does the ISSP-CSP exam cost?
The total cost of sitting for the ISSP-CSP exam includes a non-refundable application fee plus an exam administration fee, as follows:
$75 + $175 = $250 for ISSP Members
$100 + $250 = $350 for ISSP Partners
$150 + $300 = $450 for all others
NOTE: You MUST pass the ISSP-SA before registering for the ISSP-CSP.
Who qualifies for the partner rate for the exams and how can they claim their discount?
The partner rate only applies to individuals who are employees of ISSP’s strategic partner organizations.
To receive the discount, select the “Partner” rate in when registering in the Exam Center and register with the email address associated with your membership or employment in the partner organization. Using an email address associated with the partner organization (i.e. your work email if your employer is part of AASHE or USDN, or the email address searchable in USGBC’s member database) helps us verify that you qualify for the discount.
My institution or organization is an AASHE partner or does similar work but is not technically an institutional member of AASHE. Can I get a discount?
No. Only students, faculty, and staff, registering with an email address that is associated with an AASHE member institution can receive the discount.
Exam Content & Format
What material is covered in each of the exams?
The ISSP-SA exam covers the material in:
Domain 1: Core Sustainability Concepts
The ISSP-CSP exam covers the material in:
Domain 2: Stakeholder Engagement
Domain 3: Plan Sustainability Strategy
Domain 4: Implement Sustainability Strategies
Domain 5: Evaluate Sustainability Efforts
Domain 6: Adjust Plans
How long are the ISSP credential exams? How are they formatted?
The exams are comprised of random, multiple choice questions that must be completed within a defined time range. As described in detail on the About the Exams page:
The ISSP-SA exam requires successful completion of 75-item random multiple choice questions and must be completed within 2 hours.
The ISSP-CSP exam requires successful completion of 100-item random multiple choice questions and must be completed within 2.5 hours.
Given my level of experience, can I skip ISSP-SA exam and just take the ISSP-CSP exam?
How do I know if I have enough education and/or work experience to sit for the ISSP-CSP exam?
Please review the Eligibility Criteria. The knowledge required to become recognized as an ISSP Certified Sustainability Professional (ISSP-CSP) is outlined in the Job Task Analysis (JTA). NOTE: We do not review material except as part of the application process, nor can we offer judgement as to a candidate's eligibility outside of the application process.
Am I eligible to become credentialed even if I don’t have a sustainability job title, or a sustainability degree?
Yes! What matters is your knowledge and experience, not the title you hold.
You can sit for the ISSP-SA exam regardless of your experience — all you need is to have a solid grasp of the Core Sustainability Concepts of sustainability. (See Domain 1 of the Job Task Analysis (JTA).)
Sitting for the ISSP-CSP exam requires a minimum of 5 years of full-time sustainability related work experience (volunteer or paid) and a bachelor’s degree or equivalent (any field). You can offset up to two year of work experience with 30 credit hours of sustainability-related training and education per year.
Applying for the ISSP-CSP
How do I submit the references for the ISSP-CSP exam application?
You will complete the top part of three Professional Reference Forms, have each of your references complete the bottom part themselves. If you prefer, you may attach a separate letter to the form, in lieu of having references write directly in the space provided. Please gather them and submit them with your other application materials. (See also the Candidate Handbook.)
Is a letter needed from each reference?
You must submit three separate recommendations from three separate individuals. The recommendation may be written on the Professional Reference Form or attached thereto.
Can I submit a professional referral, in lieu of a reference?
A “referral” is more of a testimonial and does not sufficiently provide evidence of your knowledge and experience.
Why do my professional reference forms need to be signed and include contact information?
The signed professional reference is an important way of maintaining the credibility of the ISSP Certified Sustainability Professional (ISSP-CSP) credential. A signature is a minimum requirement to ensure that the referee is aware of and agrees to provide the reference. The contact information allows us to reach out to your references, if we have questions.
Why can’t I register for the exam from ISSP’s website?
In order to provide a secure and robust testing platform for the ISSP credential exams, they are being operated on the Webassessor platform, which is hosted by Kryterion. Click on the link above to register for your exam, or use the links on the ISSP-SA and ISSP-CSP pages.
Why don’t my ISSP Member login username and password work in the exam center?
Since the Webassessor platform is a different system from the ISSP website, your ISSP user ID/password will NOT work there. You need to create a separate Kryterion user account in order to register for the ISSP exams. This can be done using the “Create New Account" link at the top of the Exam Center homepage.
Why am I not receiving notifications from either ISSP or the Exam Center?
Please check your spam folders for any notifications or receipts from ISSP or the Exam Center, if they aren't coming into your inbox. Additionally, make sure to add firstname.lastname@example.org to your list of trusted email contacts to ensure that important notifications regarding your participation in the credentialing process don't get missed!
When can I take my exam?
Both the ISSP-SA and ISSP-CSP exams are offered on a year-round, rolling basis. You schedule your own exam in the exam center here.
Where do I take my exam?
Because ISSP credentialing is being developed in compliance with ISO standards, all exams must be proctored. This can be done either at one of the testing centers around the globe or online using remote proctoring.
Testing Centers - Our Exam Center host, Kryterion, offers access to high-quality testing facilities at hundreds of locations across the globe. You can view all Kryterion testing center locations and find out about scheduling by visiting their website.
Remote Proctoring - The online proctored exams are available 24/7, so it doesn't matter what time zone you are in. Learn more below.
What do I need to do to prepare for my online, remote proctored, exam?
Kryterion, which hosts our online Exam Center, distributes a Test Taker Guide which includes detailed technical requirements for online proctoring and step-by-step instructions for how to prepare. Candidates should review this guide at least 24 hours before their scheduled online exam in order to ensure they are fully prepared; ISSP is not responsible for last-minute technical problems. A microphone and an external webcam are REQUIRED for candidates who choose to take an online proctored exam. All ISSP exams, including those taken online, are proctored in real-time.
Can I reschedule or cancel my exam?
Candidates can reschedule an exam at no charge or cancel an exam for a full refund, provided they do so with plenty of notice. The following notice must be provided, or penalty fees apply.
On-site exams may be canceled or rescheduled up to 72 hours ahead of your appointment.
Online exams may be canceled or rescheduled up to 24 hours ahead of your appointment.
How do I reschedule or cancel my exam?
You can reschedule or cancel an exam by logging into the Exam Center, clicking the Home tab in the blue bar, and scrolling down to manage their scheduled exams. Please do not email ISSP asking for us to reschedule or cancel your exam, unless you require support or assistance in doing so.
Studying for the Exam
Are there materials I can purchase to help me study for the exam?
ISSP offers a comprehensive set of study materials to help you prepare for the exams. These are the best tools a candidate can use to prepare for each credential exam.
ISSP-SA Study Guide (for ISSP-SA exam prep)
Flash Cards (mainly for ISSP-SA exam prep but also useful for the ISSP-CSP exam)
ISSP-CSP Study Guide (for ISSP-CSP exam prep)
Are there any open-source documents I can use to prepare for the exams?
Yes. In compliance with ISO/ANSI/IEC 17024 standards, the Job Task Analysis (JTA), upon which the exam questions are based, is an open source document. This information is also provided in the Candidate Handbook.
Are there approved education providers who provide training to take the exam?
Yes! Our directory of ISSP Education Partners lists those institutions who fulfill ISSP's high standards for sustainability education and training. Several Education Partners provide test prep courses for the ISSP-SA exam. Interested candidates should visit our partners' websites and contact them directly.
Exam Scoring & Results
Can you tell me the numerical score I got on the exam?
No, we only tell candidates if they passed the exam, not the score received. The ISSP credentialing exams are “criteria-based” exams and are scored in terms of whether a candidate meets the minimum competency required to be a sustainability professional. The exams are not “norm-referenced” exams and are not intended to be used to “rank” candidates, so providing candidates with a percentage score would give the impression that a candidate that scored higher was more qualified than a candidate who scored lower. As a result, we are not able to provide any information about the score achieved by any particular candidate.
How long does it take to get my exam results?
You will receive a notification as to whether you passed or failed the exam immediately after submitting your answers. Your exam results are confidential. We will not give results over the phone. We do not give information about credentialing exam results to third parties, although those candidates who successfully pass the exam will be listed on the ISSP website.
Can tests be retaken if the first attempt is not successful?
If you fail an exam, you must wait 3 months before registering to retake the exam. Candidates must register and pay for an exam each time they take it. If a candidate is retaking the ISSP-CSP exam more than a year after they first applied, they must re-apply with updated documentation.
What do I need to do to maintain my credential?
As outlined in the Credential Maintenance Guidebook:
ISSP-SA and ISSP-CSP credential holders are required to renew their credentials every two years after they were awarded
Credential holders must earn Continuing Education Units (CEUs) on an ongoing basis during their two-year reporting periods
Credential holders must pay a renewal fee, as follows:
ISSP-SA: Members $75 (US); Nonmembers $150 (US)
ISSP-CSP: Members $100 (US); Nonmembers $200 (US)
Visit the Credential Maintenance page for more information and to start your renewal process.
Do I have to renew in order to continue using my post-nominal designation?
Yes! If you do not renew your credential before it expires, on the two year anniversary of earning the credential, you MUST DISCONTINUE using the post-nominal designation.
See the Credential Maintenance Guidebook for more information about renewing your credential, including pricing and reporting Continuing Education Units (CEUs).
Professional Credentialing versus Certification
What is the difference between Credentialing, Certification, and a Certificate?
Credentialing - A credential provides third-party verification of an individual’s qualification or competence in their profession. A credential proves a basic level of competency and capability in a given field, and that the individual is properly trained to carry out his/her duties. Once earned, credentials must be maintained by completion of ongoing professional development activities. Holders of a professional credential demonstrate their qualifications with a post-nominal designation.
Certification - Certification provides validation of an individual’s educational or professional achievement, but does not have the level of independence seen with a credential. While not as rigorous a process as credentialing, certification does require a formal process to recognize and validates an individual’s qualifications in a certain subject. Like post-nominal credentials, certifications may require proof on continuing education to maintain their validity.
Certificates - Certificate programs supplement prior education and result in the issuance of a certificate of completion at the end of the course of study. No additional renewals are required.
Certificate program definitions are changing and often misused, but do not offer the level of recognition that a certification or credentialing program provides.