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Certification Overview and Certification Study Guides


There are two types of Certification within the program:

Functional Area Certification
one or multiple functional area assessments are successfully completed. This certification includes a one-time skill-based payment for each functional area completed
Full Certification
successful completion of all core and functional areas and the participant applies for full certification. This certification includes a monthly pay differential. To keep the monthly pay differential, the participant must complete 20 credit service hours every 2 years and must pass a re-certification assessment with 200 questions in the four functional areas (Establishment, Enforcement, Intergovernmental, and Finance) and complete 20 credit service hours every 2 years.

Step One

The Certification process begins with enrollment in the four core area assessments.

Note: A participant may not enroll in any functional areas until the core area assessments are successfully completed.

The core areas are skill areas which all child support specialists are expected to acquire. The core area assessments are:

  1. Case Fundamentals
  2. Ethics
  3. Medical
  4. Communications

A certification of completion and one training credit are received for each core area assessment passed successfully but there is no financial reward for completion of the core area assessments.

Step Two

After all Core Assessments have been completed successfully, the next step in the Certification process is successful completion of one or multiple functional area assessments. These are skill areas in which a child support specialist might be expected to specialize. The functional area certification assessments include:

  • Establishment
  • Enforcement
  • Intergovernmental
  • Finance

Eligible participants are awarded a one-time skill-based pay for each functional area successfully completed. After successful completion of each functional area, you should send the following two documents to the Certification Program Manager to request the skill-based pay:

  • CSS Certification Program Functional Area Skill-Based Pay Application – the form is self-explanatory. Please be sure to check only the one Functional Area Certificate Type for which you are requesting skill-based pay. If you have had one or more Previous Functional Area Certification requests, please check one or more areas.
  • Copy of Confirmation email from the University of Oklahoma (OU) indicating passage of Functional Area Assessment

Step Three

After completion of all functional areas certifications, candidates may apply for Full Certification which includes a monthly pay differential. If applying for Full Certification, you should send the following document to the Certification Program Manager:

CSS Certification Program Monthly Differential and Recertification Application – the form is self-explanatory. Please be sure to check Monthly Differential (Initial) in the Application Type.

Step Four

For those who become fully certified, every two years 20 credit service hours and a re-certification assessment must be successfully completed by the participant to continue receiving the monthly pay differential.

If you have any questions about the CSS Certification process, please contact the Certification Program Manager.

Certification Study Guide

The Certification Study Guides are separated into a 2021 CORE Study Guide and a 2021 Functional Study Guide.

These guides were developed for use by all participants in the CSS Certification Program.

The Certification Study Guide provides:

  • Links to Certification definitions and Frequently Asked Questions and Answers
  • Links to Pre-Assessment practice tests for all core and functional areas
  • Information about the core and functional knowledge areas, and
  • Links to training, policy and legal materials that are sources for the questions which should be reviewed in preparation for the CSS Certification Assessments

Important Study Note: To see a list of approved Consistent Excellence business process documents, go to Consistent Excellence Business Process Documents where you will find access to the actual CE documents which are found on the Center for Business Excellence and Customer Service page on the InfoNet.

Each year at the Certification Summit, questions are updated, newly inserted, or deleted. Study Guides are updated shortly after the summit.

Note: You can also access ALL Study Guides from the Quick Links on the Child Support Services Infonet home page and the Infonet CSS Professional Development Certification Program page.

Note: If you would rather study just one subject area at a time, please go to either the Core Assessment Knowledge Areas and Study Guides or the Functional Assessment Knowledge Areas and Study Guides.

Note: If you have already been fully certified and are attempting re-certification, please use the Re-Certification Study Guide.