POLICIES

Reference PCI Policy 28 for all policies related to the PCI Quality Personnel Certification Program. The information below supplements the Policy 28 requirements.

  1. Confidentiality requirements apply to all parties involved in the examination and certification process. These parties include the organization or individual requesting PCI proctored examinations, PCI QC school registrants, certification examinees and candidates, proctors, examiners, and PCI Staff.
  2. All parties involved in the examination and certification process must maintain the confidentiality of PCI’s confidential proprietary information furnished in oral, visual, written, and/or tangible form and not disclose such information to any third party.
  3. All parties involved in the examination and certification process must take necessary and appropriate precautions to protect PCI confidential information and not to disclose it to outside parties, other than what is required in the performance of the assigned activities.
  4. PCI is the sole owner of its proprietary information transmitted and obtained during the examination and certification process. PCI secures all documents and relevant information collected during the examination and certification activities and all confidential records are protected by PCI. Confidential proprietary information is and shall at all times remain the property of PCI. No intellectual property rights are hereby granted or intended, including any licenses or rights, implied or otherwise.
  5. If PCI receives a request for confidential information regarding a certified person or certification candidate, PCI will notify said certified person or candidate in writing via email or express mail and will only release such records with the authorization of the affected individual.
    1. When PCI is required by law to release confidential information, the person concerned shall, unless prohibited by law, be notified as to what information will be provided.
  6. The following information is considered confidential:
    1. Certification number
    2. Examination scores/results
    3. Exam date, location, and exam administrator
    4. Home address
    5. Telephone numbers
    6. Email addresses
    7. Employer and any other relevant employer information
    8. Qualifications and Prerequisites
    9. Last four digits of Social Security number
    10. Any training courses taken or CEU’s earned
    11. Any other information not defined as Public Information or defined in this section.
  7. Information about the certified person or certification candidate from sources other than the concerned person (e.g. complainant, regulators) shall be treated as confidential, consistent with PCI Policy 28, Quality Personnel Certification Program.
  8. All information obtained by PCI during the certification and examination process is kept confidential between PCI, the proctor, the examiner, and the candidate for certification. PCI takes measures to ensure that proctors, examiners, and certification candidates and/or PCI-certified persons keep all information confidential and act impartially throughout the certification examination process.
  9. PCI shares the following, public information about the PCI-certified person and/or certification candidate:
    1. Full Name
    2. State, Territory or Province
    3. Country
    4. Certification scope (Level I, II, etc.)
    5. Certification expiration date
  1. PCI Personnel Certification exams shall be administered in a standardized manner using proctors or examiners as necessary.
  2. PCI and those working on the behalf of PCI shall utilize equipment and facilities to ensure the secure handling of confidential information.
  3. To facilitate secure exam administration, all exams shall be administered by PCI-approved proctors following PCI procedures at facilities that met PCI requirements.
  4. Access to certification exams shall be controlled by an exam invitation code, generated by PCI staff, and the invitation code shall only be provided to the approved proctor.
  5. Other than the device used to take the online exam, no other materials other than blank note paper, pen or pencil, and a non-programmable calculator are allowed in the immediate area where the examinee is to take the exam. The proctor or examiner will collect and destroy the note paper from the examinee at the conclusion of the exam.
  6. PCI shall use a question pool to populate each exam and the associated answer options, so an indefinite number of exam variations exist. This reduces the possibility of cheating and protects the integrity of the examination and certification process.
  7. Misconduct by a candidate shall be cause to end participation in an exam or to invalidate scores on completed exams, as determined by PCI. Misconduct may include:
    1. Incidents observed during the assessment;
    2. Examinees giving or receiving unauthorized information or aid; or
    3. Examinees attempting to remove exam materials or notes from the examination room
  8. Depending upon the nature and/or severity of the misconduct or infraction, possible actions by PCI include:
    1. withdrawal of certification,
    2. withdrawal of a certification application,
    3. a requirement for re-examination,
    4. loss of approval to act as a proctor or examiner on PCI’s behalf,
    5. public notice,
    6. legal action,
    7. notification to other conformity assessment bodies,
    8. barring of participation in the PCI personnel certification program, or
    9. other appropriate measures.

Certified individuals are provided a certificate for display to recognize that achievement. The following rules govern the use of the certificate, PCI’s Personnel Certification Logo/Mark, and statements that the certified individual can make relative to their certification:

  1. PCI is the sole owner of the PCI Personnel Certification Logo/Mark. The PCI Personnel Certification Logo/Mark is included on PCI certification documents, such as, the certificate PCI provides to all certified individuals. To protect against the risk of counterfeiting, any interested party may contact PCI to verify the validity of a certificate.
  2. The PCI Personnel Certification Logo/Mark is a graphic representation of the PCI brand, which is a registered trademark. When a PCI-certified individual displays the logo/mark, the individual represents, by association, the values of the PCI brand: technical excellence, integrity, and longevity. Therefore, PCI requires that certified individuals:
    1. conform to PCI’s requirements when referring to their certification status in communication media such as the internet, brochures or advertising, or other documents,
    2. not make or permit any misleading statements regarding the certification, including prohibited or misleading use of a certification document or any part thereof, (such as, altering or counterfeiting certificates, claiming certifications not earned, and similar actions),
    3. not imply that the certification applies to activities outside the scope of certification, and amend all relevant advertising materials when the scope of certification has been reduced,
    4. not use the PCI Personnel Certification Logo/Mark in such a manner that would bring PCI and/or the PCI certification programs into disrepute and lose public trust.
  3. PCI exercises proper control and ownership of the PCI Personnel Certification Logo/Mark and shall address misuse of the PCI Personnel Certification Logo/Mark by means of corrective measures. Such corrective measures could include requests for correction, public notification, legal action, or withdrawal of certification.
  4. Individuals whose certification has been suspended or withdrawn must refrain from use of all references to a certified status, cease using any materials bearing the PCI Personnel Certification Logo/Mark and any promotional material making claims or statements relating to current PCI Personnel Certification status or scope.
  5. Upon withdrawal of certification, the certified person shall return all applicable certification documents to PCI.
  1. Candidates failing exams must wait two-months before a re-examination can be administered, per PCI Policy 28.
  2. Examinees who fail two (2) consecutive proctored exams must attend a PCI Quality Control Training Course prior to taking another exam.
    1. For Levels I, II, III, CFA and CCA (excluding GFRC), this includes any combination of two consecutive exams whether taken:
      1. after attending an online or in-person PCI Quality Control Training Course, or
      2. taken through the self-study PCI Proctored Exam Program.
    2. GFRC Examinees who fail the exam must request a proctored examination after a two (2) month wait. GFRC Examinees who fail two (2) consecutive proctored exams can request a third proctored examination after a two (2) month wait.

PCI controls the examination and certification processes to maintain the program’s integrity. However, it is recognized that PCI cannot control the PCI-certified person’s actions, so PCI enforces its certification agreement with each candidate and certified individual throughout the term of their certification or application.

  1. The certification agreement shall be acknowledged and accepted by each candidate every time a candidate completes an individual certification application, and a confirmation of this agreement shall be affirmed by each candidate before beginning an online exam. Through the certification agreement, each certification candidate agrees to:
    1. support and maintain the integrity of the examination and certification processes,
    2. comply with industry standards and policies and maintain professionalism and ethical practices in the field or plant,
    3. not release confidential exam materials or participate in fraudulent test-taking practices,
    4. not cheat on the exam or participate in any activity that could compromise the integrity of the exam, the exam process, or the certification program, such as by copying, photographing and/or removing tests or test materials from the testing facility, or other similar actions.
  2. The following shall be considered fraudulent activities. This is not an all-inclusive list. All complaints or reports will be reviewed by PCI following the process described in Steps 4 to 7 below, within in this section.
    1. Imposter – person posing as the individual seeking PCI certification
    2. Breach of exam materials – photocopying of PCI Personnel Certification examinations and answer sheets, saving screenshots of online exams, including the possession of any printed exam materials used during the examination process.
    3. Exam cheating – Use of aids, digital devices and/or other means of communicating certification examination answers is considered cheating. PCI’s examination process mitigates but does not eliminate possible exam cheating practices. Navigating away from the exam onto another browser window during the exam will be considered cheating and will result in automatic failure of the exam.
    4. Fraudulent/Falsifying records – the act of knowingly recording false data onto quality control/inspection reports and/or documents, including the record keeping of those reports and/or documents.
  3. PCI monitors examination results for quality assurance purposes and indications of cheating. Any patterns of exam grades for an exam group or an individual or individuals, by a specific or non-specific proctor/examiner will be noted.
  4. Written complaints or reports of concerns involving suspected fraudulent activities related to a certification candidate, certified individual, proctor, or examiner are to be reported to the PCI Director of Quality Programs. Whistle-blower identities will be protected, as required by law.
  5. The Director of Quality Programs shall review and validate all complaints and reports of fraud received.
    1. Any valid complaint or reported issue shall be communicated to the individual and any other appropriate parties involved to discuss the contents of the complaint or fraudulent issue.
    2. The individual and the appropriate parties involved shall be given the opportunity to provide documentation to address the complaint or fraudulent issue.
    3. Fraudulent activities already proven as a matter of public record will not require further investigation prior to determining the necessity for further action.
  6. The PCI Director of Quality Programs will further investigate and take appropriate actions as necessary if there is suspicion of fraudulent activities. Depending upon the nature and/or severity of the infraction, complaints or fraudulent issues may result in:
    1. withdrawal of certification,
    2. withdrawal of a certification application,
    3. a requirement for re-examination,
    4. loss of approval to act as a proctor or examiner on PCI’s behalf,
    5. public notice,
    6. legal action,
    7. notification to other conformity assessment bodies,
    8. barring of participation in the PCI personnel certification program, or
    9. other appropriate measures.
  7. If appropriate, the Director of Quality Programs shall respond to the complaining/reporting party with information regarding any actions taken by PCI.
  1. Failure to comply with PCI certification policies and procedures may result in withdrawal of some or all of an individual’s certifications or certification applications. Conditions for reinstatement of certification or certification application are at PCI’s sole discretion. See PCI Policy 28, for further details.
  2. An application will be revoked by PCI if the candidate has not met the certification requirements within one year of the candidate’s latest exam date.
  3. Certification will be withdrawn for certified individuals who:
    1. Fail two consecutive recertification examinations. For Level II and Level III certifications, this will require submitting an application to certify at the prior level, per the eligibility requirements of the certification program.
    2. Have not met the recertification requirements within a prescribed period after certification expiration.
      1. Level I and Level II certifications – failure to recertify within six (6) months after the expiration date shall require re-examination and recertification as Level I, and the individual’s certification records will reflect a gap in certification.
      2. Level III certification – failure to recertify within twelve (12) months after the expiration date shall require re-examination and recertification as Level I, and the individual’s certification records will reflect a gap in certification.
      3. GFRC, CFA and CCA certifications – failure to recertify within six (6) months after the expiration date shall require re-examination, and the individual’s certification records will reflect a gap in certification.

Initial Certification

  1. Effective Date is the date all requirements have been confirmed by PCI to have been met and certification granted.
  2. Expiration Date is five years from the date the exam was successfully completed.

Recertification with Examination

  1. Effective Date is the date all requirements have been confirmed by PCI to have been met and recertification granted.
  2. Expiration Date
    1. Timely recertification – five years from the date of the previous certification expiration.
      1. Timely recertification is when a recertification exam has taken place prior to expiration of the previous certification or within six months of the certification's expiration.
    2. Untimely recertification – five years from the date the recertification exam was successfully completed.
      1. Untimely recertification is when a recertification exam has taken place more than six months past the expiration date for Level I, II, GFRC, CFA and CCA.
      2. For example, if the previous certificate expired on 1/20/2021 and the recertification exam was on 8/15/2021, the recertified certificate will expire on 8/15/2026.
    3. Untimely recertification for Level III – see ‘Recertification without Examination’ below.

Recertification without Examination

  1. Effective Date is the date all requirements have been confirmed by PCI to have been met and recertification granted.
  2. Expiration Date
    1. Timely renewal – If a renewal application is received prior to expiration or within 90 days of the certification's expiration, then no examination is required, and the expiration date of the new certificate will be five (5) years from the date of the previous certification expiration.
    2. Level I, Level II, GFRC, CFA and CCA
      1. Untimely renewal (more than 90 days but less than six months after the expiration date of the previous certification) – the candidate must take a reinstatement/recertification examination, and the expiration date of the new certificate is five (5) years from the date of the previous certificate expiration.
      2. For example, if the previous certificate expired on 1/20/2021 and the reinstatement/recertification exam was on 5/20/2021, the recertified certificate will expire on 1/20/2026.
      3. Untimely renewal (more than six months after the expiration date of the previous certification) – the candidate will have to reapply for certification as a new candidate.
    3. Level III
      1. Untimely renewal (more than 90 days but less than twelve months after the expiration date of the previous certification) – the candidate must take a reinstatement/recertification examination, and the expiration date of the new certificate is five (5) years from the date of the previous certificate expiration.
      2. For example, if the previous certificate expired on 1/20/2021 and the reinstatement/recertification exam was on 10/20/2021, the recertified certificate will expire on 1/20/2026.
      3. Untimely renewal (more than twelve months after the expiration date of the previous certification) – the candidate will have to reapply for certification as a new Level I candidate.

PROCEDURES

View the PCI CMS Instructions on how to submit a proctored exam request, or to apply for Personnel Certification.

The PCI CMS has certain minimum hardware requirements for taking the PCI certification exams, as follows:

  1. The examinee shall use a laptop, less than 5 years old with:
    1. Wi-Fi capability and
    2. Google Chrome or MS Edge web browser.
      1. Examinees should update all web browsers and security settings.
      2. Internet Explorer is not supported.
  2. The examinee’s laptop must have a suitable operating system:
    1. Windows 10 or later, or
    2. any MacOS that is post-Maverick.
  1. The examinee must have access to a desktop computer or laptop with internet access and either Microsoft Edge or Google Chrome web browser installed to run the online exam application.
    1. Be sure to coordinate in advance whether the examinee or proctor will provide the desktop computer or laptop with internet access for the examinee’s use.
    2. If the examinee is taking the exam at an in-person PCI QC School, then the examinee must bring a laptop to the course. One will not be provided at the school.
    3. Examinees who are using a company owned laptop, should ensure with their company’s IT that the security settings do not prohibit accessing the PCI CMS.
  2. The examinee must have a PCI account to access the online certification exams and must confirm the ability to log into the PCI website and the Certification Dashboard from the computer to be used to take the exam.
    1. Review the Exam Login Instructions for more details on how to login to the PCI website and access the certification exam(s).
    2. Examinees must have their login information with them on the exam day.
    3. Any login issues must be resolved before the exam day.
    4. PCI cannot guarantee that a staff member will be immediately available to assist on the day of the exam with login issues.
    5. Contact Qualityprograms@pci.org for any login issues or call 312-786-0300.
    6. PCI website sign-in address, www.pci.org/signin
  3. The examinee must have a photo ID to take the exam.
    1. Failure to have a photo ID will result in the examinee not being eligible to take the certification exam(s).
    2. The proctor will confirm the examinee’s identity prior to administering the exam.
  4. The examinee is allowed to bring a nonprogrammable calculator for use during the exam session (See Calculator Rules). The proctor will check the examinee’s calculator to ensure no prohibited calculators are being used, prior to administering the exam.
  5. The examinee will not need any exam aids other than a pencil or a pen. The proctor will provide the examinee with blank sheets of paper for use during the exam.
  6. The examinee should not bring any study material to the exam session. The study manuals are not authorized aids.
  7. Cell phones are to be in airplane mode or turned off during the exam to limit disruptions, and should not be visible in the exam area.
  1. Use of programmable calculators is prohibited; such calculators shall be confiscated by the proctor for the duration of the examination.
  2. Cell phones, including electronic devices and “smart” devices, such as iPads and tablets, are not to be used as calculators, and these devices should not be in sight during the exam.
  3. Examinees may not share their calculators with each other.

Taking an online, computer-based exam can be an intimidating experience for some examinees. PCI has developed a practice exam that will assist those candidates not accustomed to this exam format prepare for the online exam experience, including the exam tools available in the CMS. Access the exam and enter the invitation code: practice

  1. Examinees who fail an exam must wait two (2) months before being eligible to retake the exam.
    1. The request for a retake exam can be submitted in advance of the two months.
    2. The examinee should refer to the score report to help understand which areas should be studied in more depth to prepare for the retake exam.
  2. The Proctored Exam Request must be completed to request a retake exam.
  3. If an examinee is attending the Level I and II QC school but fails the Level I exam, the proctor will prohibit the examinee from taking the Level II exam. The examinee can attend the Level II training but will be asked to leave before the proctor prepares the class for the Level II exam.
    1. The examinee should contact PCI regarding a disposition of the credit for the unused Level II exam. PCI will allow the use of this credit to retake the Level I exam after the two-month waiting period.