So you’re a CPST now. Congratulations!
For most new technicians, the first year or so is really about getting your feet wet. You’re getting the hang of working with parents and understanding different seats and vehicles. Once the initial class is complete, recertification can seem to be a ways down the road; until all of a sudden it’s two months before the expiration date and an email pops up reminding you to recertify.
The process can be a little confusing the first time, so we have created a guide to help walk both American and Canadian CPSTs through it. If possible, start early! You can complete the requirements at any time during your certification cycle, and submit them up to four months before your expiration date. Cycle dates will still stay the same, you can submit early without losing any time.
Child Passenger Safety Technicians in the United States must renew their certification every two years (Canadians, scroll down for details!). Here are the requirements:
- Perform 5 seat checks
- Work at one community event — either a seat check event or a community workshop
- Earn 6 continuing education units (CEUs)
- Pay a renewal fee
To start the renewal process, log in to http://cert.safekids.org
Your login is your tech number without the T. Once logged in, scroll down a bit and under your name will be these action items. Click on number one.
The first component of recertification is having an Instructor sign off on five seat checks. Checks must be from the following categories:
- Rear facing only car seat
- Rear facing convertible car seat
- Forward facing car seat with harness
- Belt positioning booster
- LATCH installation (can be any seat)
Ideally, these seat checks are done with actual parents while an instructor observes. For this reason, it is very important to try to schedule to work with an instructor well before your expiration date. At the Instructor’s discretion, mock scenarios may be used as a substitute, but an actual vehicle must be used for all installations. The National CPS Board Seat Check Guidelines have more information.
Once you have completed your seat checks, enter the date and the verifying instructor for each one. This sends an email to the instructor, who will log in and approve each of them. You can find a step by step PDF with screenshots of the entire process from National CPS Certification here.
There are two options to fulfill this requirement:
- Participate in a seat checkup event. The event must be a minimum of two hours, have at least one other technician present, and use a standard check form.
- Provide 4 hours of community education. This includes speaking about child passenger safety at a parenting group, health fair, etc. The attendees must not be fellow CPSTs. Sessions may be broken up as needed, as long as the total is 4 hours (ie: four one hour presentations).
Continuing Education Units (CEUs)
The next step of recertification is entering six CEUs. There are many ways to earn the necessary CEUs:
- In person sessions: many CPS Coalitions offer one day recertification courses for technicians. These classes will often cover all or part of your CEU requirement, and sometimes the instructors will arrange the opportunity for seat checks at the same time. These events can be a great way to refresh your CPS knowledge and cover recertification requirements as well.
- Teleconferences: a maximum of 5 CEUs can be counted in this category. Teleconferences are sessions that require the participant to call in and listen to an audio presentation and perhaps participate in the discussion. Many state CPS organizations hold these types of calls.
- Online/Web session: a maximum of 6 CEUs can be counted in this category. These include web-based CPS presentations. Safe Kids holds webinars frequently. A great place to keep track of these webinars is by following National CPS Certification on Facebook and by subscribing to CPS Express.
- Newsletters/Manuals/Journals: a maximum of 3 CEUs can be counted in this category.
Links to earn CEUs:
- Read two CPS Board Technician updates and take two accompanying quizzes for 1 CEU in the newsletters/manuals/journals category. Only one CEU can be earned from CPS Board tech updates.
- Take the LATCH Manual Quiz OR the Child Restraint Manufacturer’s Instructions Quiz (click CEUs for re certification in the center menu) for 1 CEU in the newsletters/manuals/journals category. Only one CEU can be earned for taking either one of the quizzes.
- Subscribe to Safe Ride News for 1 CEU per year of subscription in the newsletters/manuals/journals category.
- Subscribe to Safety Belt Safe News for 1 CEU per year of subscription in the newsletters/manuals/journals category.
- Go to safekidswebinars.org for several options with varying CEU eligibility in the online/web sessions category.
- CPS Board has several online presentations and accompanying quizzes for CEUs in the online/web sessions category.
- Britax, Evenflo, and Orbit Baby all offer CEUs for technicians. These are online presentations followed with a quiz, most worth 1 CEU in the online/web sessions category. To access these, log in to your CPST profile, click “Online CEUs” and follow the links to the manufacturer CPST websites.
Payment: The Final Step
Once all of the information has been entered, your screen will say that you are eligible for re certification. Hooray! At this point you must pay the $50 recertification fee, and your recertification will be submitted for approval. This step by step PDF has instructions for this portion of the process.
Don’t kick your feet up just yet: make sure that you have kept documentation for each of the items you have entered for your recertification. This means completion certificates and/or passed quizzes for CEUs, proof of community event participation, and seat check records. Safe Kids audits recertifications and they may ask you to send in all of your documentation for review.
Technicians in Canada
Child Passenger Safety Association of Canada (CPSAC) has a looser set of recertification requirements than its American counterpart, SafeKids Worldwide. CPSAC certification remains valid for three years from the original certification date. After this there is a three month grace period for renewal without penalty, however, CPSAC techicians are not certified or insured during those three months.
CPSAC offers two different ways to recertify:
- Complete two different online technician updates (tests) within the three years of certification.
- Successfully complete the Recertification exam with a minimum mark of 80%.
- Complete one of the following options:
- (a) Keep a minimum of fifteen car seat check forms on file documenting full checks. These files must kept for four years by the Technician. CPSAC may request these forms to be submitted via random audit.
- (b) be observed at three car seat checks by a Technician, an Instructor, or an Instructor Trainer within the last three years using the peer coaching form. CPSAC may request these forms to be submitted via random audit.
- Successfully pay the CPSAC Registration fee of $50.
- Take an in-person 3-4 hour Recertification course, which can include the one hour Recertification exam mentioned in requirement #3 below.
- Complete a practical examination (pass/fail) at one car seat clinic, supervised by an Instructor or Instructor Trainer within one month of the Recertification course.
- Pass the Recertification exam with a minimum mark of 80%.
- Pay the CPSAC Registration fee of $50.
The recertification exam is an online “closed book” exam comprised of 50 multiple choice questions with a 60 minute time limit.
Get Out There!
Thanks for all you do, technicians!
Originally written by Emma Douglas. Edits maintained by CSFTL.