Become a Certified Public Records Officer
What is the WAPRO Certification Program?
In 2012, WAPRO initiated a program to provide certification for public records officers meeting high-quality professional standards. WAPRO certification requirements are designed to promote and support a sound background in public records laws, procedures, work processes and educational achievement for certificate earners. Certification demonstrates personal commitment and dedication to administering the Washington State Public Records Act (RCW 42.56). Upon approval of the application, the applicant will be issued a certificate and recognized both on the WAPRO website and during the WAPRO Annual Business meeting.
Certification Program Objectives
- Develop uniform standards of excellence and professionalism for public records officers
- Strengthen open government by increasing staff qualifications and training
- Increase efficiencies and reduce costs of public records compliance
- Establish curriculum of core courses to be completed for certification
- Facilitate compliance with Public Records Act requirements and promote transparency in government
- Provide standards for training and develop core competencies and skills
- Enhance and recognize professional achievements of public records officers
Interested in becoming a Certified Public Records Officer?
Applications may be submitted throughout the year, with certification being awarded to qualified candidates quarterly. Certification is valid for three years from the date of application. Core certification requirements can be met by attending:
- WAPRO training conferences
- Public Records Act (PRA) trainings
- Related course area trainings offered by other recognized programs that are reviewed and accredited by the Certification Subcommittee
Applications are reviewed by the WAPRO Certification Subcommittee. The subcommittee may request additional information as needed to verify that certification requirements have been met. Upon approval of the application, the applicant will be issued a certificate and recognized both on the WAPRO website and during the WAPRO Annual Business meeting.
Subcommittee recommendations for approval, denial, or revocation of certification must be approved by the full WAPRO Board. Please be aware that the WAPRO Board of Directors can revoke certification status at any time for reasonable cause. Revocation decisions may be appealed to the WAPRO Board of Directors. Any appeal must be filed within sixty (60) days of notification of the Board’s action.
Requirements for Certification
Reliance is placed on the ethics and honesty of the applicants. Applicants must complete the official certification application to establish the required background and show how courses fit the certification subject areas and curriculum. Training attendance must be demonstrated. WAPRO will provide monitoring and verification of WAPRO conference attendance. To be eligible for initial certification, an applicant must:
- Have attended at least one WAPRO conference in the three years prior to submitting their application
- Provide documentation demonstrating that the initial training requirement has been met for any non-WAPRO/non-WCIA courses
- Meet the minimum number of credit hour requirements (see below for more detail)
- Pay certification fee (no refunds will be made once application is received; however, applicants will be allowed six months to resubmit)
A minimum of 1/3 (10 hours) of training toward initial certification must be WAPRO provided.
|Subject matter||Category||Minimum Hours Required|
|Washington Public Records Act: Law & Theory||A||2|
|Public Records Request Response Processing||B||10|
|Legal Updates||C||4 (within past 2 years)|
|Electronic Records and Technology||D||4|
|Substantive Program Area Courses||F||2|
*Elective Courses (Category G) are meant to allow for flexibility to take classes that are specific to your work. Any course from any category can count towards your Category G requirement as long as it has not been used elsewhere on your application already.
Course Expiration Dates
All courses expire after five years, with the exception of Category C – Legal Updates courses. Legal Update course credits expire two years from the date of the course.
CPRO Application Fee
WAPRO members: $100
Training Standards and Approved Course List
Training credits can be earned through WAPRO training hours (automatically accredited) or through other recognized programs addressing the Washington State Public Records Act and related topics, including those sponsored by WCIA, WA-COG, WSAMA, WSMCA, WSBA, ARMA, IIMC, WMCA, state agencies, state bar approved continuing legal education, accredited colleges, paralegal programs, or law schools.
All courses must have been completed within the five years prior to application, except those that were successfully completed in progress to an academic degree, unless otherwise specified. A minimum of 1/3 of all credits applied toward certification must come from WAPRO trainings.
One hour of credit is awarded for each sixty minutes of in-class or video or audio tape time or for each two hours worked on a correspondence or online class. Up to ten hours of training may be met through the use of approved video or audio tapes.
If an applicant did not attend the full course, they must adjust their attendance to reflect the time actually present at the training. Credit will not be given for classes less than 30 minutes in duration. Credit will be given for classes over 30 minutes in duration and will be calculated in 15-minute increments otherwise.
Accreditation of hours accepted by other professional organizations such as WSBA for CLE credit will be accepted by WAPRO if they are related to the Public Records Act. Please consult WAPRO’s approved course list to view hours and credits awarded for WAPRO, WCIA, and other accredited courses.
Don’t see a course you took on the approved course list? Any course or source of courses not listed on the approved course list will not count towards certification until after they are approved by the Certification Subcommittee upon written request. Please complete the Approved Course List Request Form here and emailing to firstname.lastname@example.org. Persons seeking certification must attest to their attendance at the training and provide copies of their certificates of attendance and of the schedule or agenda listing presenters, topics, and a summary of the curriculum for each course claimed, except for courses offered through WAPRO or WCIA. A passing grade is required for academic (college, university or technical school) courses.