SPēD Help/FAQs

REGISTRATION

TESTING

CONFERRAL

CERTIFICATION MAINTENANCE

CONTRACTORS AND INDUSTRY

APC/DPAPC ASSESSMENT

REGISTRATION

How do I get started in the SPēD Certification Program?

  • Notify your supervisor and DoD Component SPēD PMO of your intent to participate in the SPēD Certification Program
  • Create or update your STEPP account
  • Select the Profile link in STEPP located on the top-right navigation bar
  • Check the box indicating your desire to participate in the SPēD Certification Program
  • Select the "My SPēD Certification" link in the SPEDCERT email you will receive 24-48 hours after
    checking the box
  • Verify your account information
  • Request authorization to test by going to "Complete a Form"
  • Select the desired certification
  • Create an account in VUE Testing after receiving the email with the link to VUE Testing
  • Schedule an assessment after receiving approval from your DoD Component SPēD PMO
  • Select a date, time, and test center most convenient for you

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What is "My SPēD Certification" and why do I need this account?
Your "My SPēD Certification" account is your gateway to SPēD Certification testing and managing your SPēD Certification(s), except for Adjudicator Professional Certification/Due Process Adjudicator Professional Credential (APC/DPAPC). An account is needed for you to register or maintain the SPēD certifications. Please go to the following link after activating your My SPēD Certification account through STEPP.

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What is the My SPēD Certification website address?
The My SPēD Certification login page is https://i7lp.integral7.com/dss.

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Do I still have to maintain my DSS STEPP account?
Yes, you must maintain your STEPP account. STEPP is the system of record for the SPēD Certification Program.

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Some of the information on My SPēD Certification account is incorrect, what do I do?
After activating your account, you will be able to verify the information transferred from your STEPP account. If this information is incorrect, simply log into your STEPP account and correct the errors. The database will automatically transfer any corrections you make in your STEPP account to your My SPēD Certification account within 48 hours.

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It’s been more than 72 hours since I updated my information through STEPP. It hasn’t transferred to my SPēD Certification, what do I do?
Log into your STEPP account and re-save your information. If after 72 hours your information is still not updated in "My SPēD Certification" account, please contact SPEDCERT@dss.mil.

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If I update my STEPP account, is "My SPēD Certification" account updated (and vice versa)?
Demographic information can only be modified in STEPP. In turn, STEPP will transfer this information automatically to your "My SPēD Certification" account. This process normally takes 48 hours.

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I have checked that I am interested in participating in the SPēD Certification Program, waited 48 hours, but I still haven’t received an email. What do I do?
Email SPEDCERT@dss.mil. CDSE will investigate the issue.

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Where can I find test locations?
Eligible to test candidates must create a Pearson VUE Testing Account to schedule an assessment. Test site information for the SFPC, SAPPC, and SPIPC is available via your Pearson VUE Testing Account. If you are unable to locate a nearby test center, expand your search to find one that is closest to you.

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What if I have a question about Registration?
For queries related to participation in the SPēD Certification Program, please contact your DoD Component SPēD Program Office. If you have registration questions regarding SPēD Certifications after you have received approval to participate in the SPēD Certification Program, please send an email to: SPEDCERT@dss.mil.

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What if I forget my password in STEPP?

  • From the STEPP Log On screen, select the "Forgot your password?" link.
  • Type your STEPP username and email address on the Forgotten Password Assistance Screen, then click Submit.
  • A new password will be sent to your email account of record.
  • From the STEPP Log On screen type your username and the password provided in the email. (We recommend copying and pasting the new password from your email.) You will have three attempts to type the password correctly. If you lock yourself out (disable your account), please call the Call Center at 888-282-7682 to have your account enabled. The Call Center is available Monday through Friday from 6:00 am to 8:00 pm EST and is closed on weekends and all Federal holidays.
  • Once logged in, you must change your password; use the password sent in the email as the "old" password, then provide a new password of your choice and re-type it to confirm. Then click OK.
  • When the password has been changed, the Change Password screen displays. To access STEPP click "You have successfully changed your password. Click here to continue."

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Who do I contact for help with my STEPP user name and password?
Please contact the DoD Security Services Call Center at (888) 282-7682. The DoD Call Center is open from 6am to 8pm EST.

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Who do I contact for help resetting "My SPēD Certification" account password?
Please use the automated account reset feature on the Login Page on your "My SPēD Certification" account by clicking here. If your email address has changed, please login to STEPP and change your account information first. If you are having further difficulties, please email SPEDCERT@dss.mil for assistance.

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What do I do if my STEPP account is disabled and needs to be reset?
Contact the DoD Call Center at 1-888-282-7682.

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What if I changed my password but can't log in with it?
For STEPP: Use the "Forgot your password?" link.
For My SPēD Certification: Your account may need to be reset. Contact the Customer Call Center at 1-888-282-7682.

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I’m trying to access My SPēD Certification, but the screen says "Internet Explorer cannot display the webpage." What do I do?
In Internet Explorer, go to Tools > Internet Options > Advanced Tab. Scroll down and select the check box next to the TLS 1.0 security setting. Close and relaunch Internet Explorer. If this doesn’t solve the problem, contact your IT support for assistance.
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Why can't I get past the My SPēD Certification login screen once I've entered my login and password?
Please contact SPEDCERT@dss.mil.
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How do I find my personal information on My SPēD Certification?
Once you log into My SPēD Certification, select "Personal Information" from the left-hand column of options available.
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I checked that I am interested in participating in the SPēD Certification Program; but I changed my mind. What do I do?
If requested, CDSE will inactivate your My SPēD Certification account. Requests should be sent to SPEDCERT@dss.mil.
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What do I do if I receive a prompt asking me to click to run an ActiveX control on this webpage?
STEPP requires ActiveX. Contact your IT support for assistance.
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Why isn't the website displayed/working correctly?
Some users experience problems when connecting to websites using Internet Explorer 8. To correct this problem, follow these instructions to enable the view compatibility function for Internet Explorer 8.
Start Internet Explorer 8.
On the "Tools" menu, click "Compatibility View Settings."
Click to select the "Display all websites in Compatibility View."
Visit several websites that were not displayed correctly or that were not working to see whether the problem is now resolved.
If this method doesn’t work, contact your IT support for assistance.
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TESTING

What is Pearson VUE?
The Defense Security Service (DSS) Center for Development of Security Excellence (CDSE) has partnered with Pearson VUE to deliver SPēD Certification testing through their comprehensive and secure network at over 900 sites worldwide including many DoD bases. Pearson VUE provides DSS the capability to offer SPēD Certification Assessments at dates, times, and locations convenient for candidates.
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When can I start taking the SFPC, SAPPC, and SPIPC at a commercial testing facility?
SFPC, SAPPC, and SPIPC SPēD certification assessments are now available through Pearson VUE. To schedule an assessment, begin by checking the box in the Profile section of your STEPP account indicating your desire to participate in the SPēD Certification Program. Then follow the directions in the email you'll receive 24-48 hours later.
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It’s been more than 15 days, why haven’t I been approved to test yet?
After 15 days, contact your DoD Component SPēD PMO as listed here.
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My request form has been approved, what’s next?
Your next step is to create an account in Pearson VUE Testing and schedule to take your exam. Please follow the link that is provided on your My SPeD Certification home page, by clicking here. Once you are directed to the next screen, remember that you are a new user in the Pearson VUE scheduling system.
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It looks as though my form was rejected, what does that mean?
Re-submit your form after completing the requested actions.
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It looks as though my request to test was denied, what does that mean?
If your request was denied, you were not authorized to test. Contact your DoD Component SPēD PMO if you have additional questions.
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I am attempting to schedule my exam but the system doesn’t recognize my username and password, what do I do?
You must create a separate username and password to establish a Pearson VUE testing account after you have received authorization to test. A specific link is provided on your My SPēD Certification homepage after you have received authorization to test.
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How do I prepare for an assessment?
Select the "Prepare for SPēD Certification" link and then choose the desired certification. There you will find Competency Preparatory Tools and Resources. The Competency Preparatory Tools include a Knowledge Test, Experience Checklist, and Practice Test. Resources include the Candidate Handbook as well as a Learning Resources Guide that identifies by topic area within each of the five security functional categories (General, Industrial, Information, Personnel, and Physical) the courses, information, and materials available to assist you in increasing your proficiency.
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How do I cancel or reschedule my test?
To cancel or reschedule a test, sign into your Pearson VUE testing account at https://www1.pearsonvue.com/testtaker/signin/SignInPage/DSS. At your home page, click on the appointment you wish to cancel or reschedule and follow the system prompts. You may also call Pearson VUE at 1-888-477-0284 to cancel or reschedule. If you cancel less than 24 hours before your test appointment or do not appear at your scheduled time, you will be required to wait 90 days before resubmitting a request for authorization to test. Please note, cancellations or rescheduling CANNOT be made through the test center, your DoD Component PMO, or the DSS SPēD Certification Branch. All changes must be made through Pearson VUE.
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How do I find out my test results?
SFPC, SAPPC, and SPIPC SPēD certification test results are provided immediately upon completion of your test at the Pearson VUE test center.

APC/DPAPC SPēD certification test results will be available within 24 hours after the testing event via your STEPP account. You can access your results by logging into your STEPP account at https://stepp.dss.mil/SelfRegistration/Login.aspx. On the STEPP home page, select "Learn," select "Training Schedule," and select "View Completed Registrations." The last column to the right of your Certification assessment, "Status," will indicate the results of your assessment.
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What is a "cut score"?
The Angoff method is used to set the minimum passing score for the core SPēD Certification assessments. The Angoff method has a well-established history of determining creditable passing standards for multiple-choice examinations. The method involves two basic elements: conceptualization of a minimally competent examinee and using SMEs to estimate whether a minimally competent examinee will answer an item correctly. Given this, a panel of SMEs make predictions for each item on the SPēD Certification assessment and the average of the SMEs ratings on the items sets the minimum passing score for the assessment. Results of the Angoff method establish the foundation for the provisional cut score. The provisional cut score is then calibrated using data collected during the beta test phase.
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Will CDSE in Linthicum still be doing assessments?
CDSE will continue providing the APC and DPAPC assessments at Linthicum, MD. However, the SFPC, SAPPC, and SPIPC assessments will only be administered through Pearson VUE test centers.
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Will there still be large-scale public testing events at security conferences?
DSS SPēD Certification Branch and our commercial testing partner, Pearson VUE, will support testing at conferences on a case-by-case basis. Please have the conference organizer contact DSS SPēD Certification Branch at SPEDCERT@dss.mil.
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CONFERRAL

Will CDSE still distribute certificates and lapel pins?
Yes. For Industry, certificates are shipped via express mail to the address listed in your STEPP account. For all others, SPēD certificates and lapel pins are sent to your owning DoD Component for presentation.
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When do I receive my certificate?
From the date of testing, it takes approximately 90 days for a conferred candidate to receive a SPēD certificate and lapel pin.
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Why am I releasing my Defense Manpower Data Center (DMDC) files to DSS?
DSS CDSE SPēD Certification Branch, in coordination with Defense Civilian Personnel Data System (DCPDS), is officially updating the personnel records of DoD civilians to reflect the conferral of SFPC, SAPPC, SPIPC, and APC. DMDC currently houses the credential records for DoD civilians. To release (and upload) records from DMDC to the DCPDS, you must first authorize the release of these records.
Please note that this action applies only to DoD civilians; it does not apply to industry security professionals or to military personnel.

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CERTIFICATION MAINTENANCE

How do I maintain or renew my SPēD Certification?
To maintain SFPC, SAPPC, and SPIPC certifications, a security professional must:
1) Successfully meet approved continuing Professional Development Units (PDUs) biennially and
2) Maintain an active and up-to-date STEPP account.
Adjudicators conferred the Adjudicator Professional Certification (APC) must maintain their professional certification by completing 30 hours of PDUs during each biennial (2-year) period following their initial certification. A minimum of 50 percent (or 15 hours) of PDUs must come from personnel security-related courses. Other types of security activities require approval from the CAF Director(s) or his or her designee(s) and may account for the remainder of the 30 PDUs. For more information, contact your CAF Certification Representative (CCR)/Organizational POC.
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How do I designate my SPēD credential?
Those who have been conferred the SFPC are authorized to use the SFPC designation on business cards, resumes, and signature lines. SFPC credential holders may use this designation as long as they maintain active status. The designation "SFPC" should appear in all capital letters after a comma following the credential holder's name. An example follows:

John Doe, SFPC

Those conferred the SAPPC or SPIPC credential are authorized to use the SAPPC or SPIPC designation in the same manner as described above for using the SFPC. Because the SFPC must be earned to obtain the SAPPC or SPIPC, holders need only list SAPPC or SPIPC.
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What about other certifications? Will the SPēD Certification Program recognize them?
The SPēD Certification Program does not recognize equivalents and cannot confer SPēD certification(s) based on other credentials achieved by an individual. Each SPēD certification will be nationally accredited by an external accreditation organization. The standards for accreditation of the certification program prevent equivalencies and grandfathering except in narrow and predefined scenarios. For renewals of certification by holders, the SPēD Program Office will recognize other credentials and professional development events.
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Who do I contact if I have a question regarding the SPēD Certification Program?

Contact your DoD Component SPēD PMO as indicated here.

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CONTRACTORS AND INDUSTRY

Is SPēD available to contractors?

SPēD Certifications, with the exception of APC and ISO, are available to contractors if they are performing security duties on behalf of the DoD. (If you are a DoD contractor, please indicate "Industry" as your organization in STEPP. For example, Jane.Doe.ctr@any.af.mil would select "Industry" rather than "Air Force.")
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I am a DoD contractor. Am I eligible for the SPIPC?
Yes, but you must first request permission from the DoD Component you support as indicated here.
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I am a DoD contractor performing security duties on behalf of a DoD Component, Agency, or Activity. Who do I contact to get more information about commercial testing?
If you are a contractor affiliated with DoD, your DoD Component SPēD Program Management Office (PMO) will advise you. For example, if you are a contractor under PFPA, you will contact the PFPA SPēD PMO. The list of DoD Component SPēD PMOs is here.
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I am an industry security professional, not affiliated with DoD. Who do I contact to get more information about commercial testing?
You may contact SPEDCERT@dss.mil.
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What is a CAGE code? Why is it needed for industry security professionals not affiliated with DoD to register for SFPC, SAPPC, and SPIPC testing?
The Commercial And Government Entity (CAGE) code is a five-character ID number used within the Federal Government. Industry security professionals not affiliated with DoD need to enter their CAGE code when requesting authorization to take an assessment on My SPēD Certification; this will link the individual with their associated facility. Contact your Facility Security Officer (FSO) if you do not know your CAGE code.

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APC/DPAPC ASSESSMENT

How do I get started in the APC/DPAPC Program?
For Adjudicator Professional Certification (APC)/Due Process Adjudicator Professional Credential (DPAPC) testing, your Central Adjudication Facility (CAF) Certification Representative (CCR) will identify you as an applicant or you may volunteer based on your Component's policy.
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How can I register for the Adjudicator Professional Certification (APC) and Due Process Adjudicator Professional Credential (DPAPC)?
APC and DPAPC assessment registration must be coordinated with your organizational POC. Your POC will approve your eligibility to register for the assessment(s) and then forward a request to the CDSE.Registrar.Support@dss.mil for scheduling. Once your scheduled date and time of testing has been confirmed, your organization POC will coordinate with you, sharing your scheduled date and time. For additional information regarding the APC Program, click here. For questions regarding the APC Program, feel free to contact SPEDCERT@dss.mil.
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Where can I test for APC and DPAPC?
Adjudicator Professional Certification (APC) and Due Process Adjudicator Professional Credential (DPAPC) testing is offered on Tuesdays at the Center for Development of Security Excellence (CDSE), 938 Elkridge Landing Road, Linthicum, MD 21090.

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Are there any test-taking tips for the APC or the DPAPC I should employ?

  • Do what is needed to feel comfortable and relaxed before the test. Check out the location in advance, get enough rest, eat a good meal, etc.
  • Arrive early—at least 20 minutes before the scheduled test time.
  • Trust first impressions; do not over-analyze answers.
  • If uncertain about a question, return to it later, and if you are still uncertain, make an educated guess.
  • Do not look for answer patterns.
  • Do not select an answer based on length; it may be a false clue.
  • Do not rush. Consider each choice before selecting the best one.
  • Use time well. Extra points are not awarded for finishing early.

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