National Dropout Prevention Specialist Certification Program

The National Dropout Prevention Center (NDPC) is pleased to offer the National Dropout Prevention Specialist (NDPS) certification program for educators and 
at-risk youth workers. The certification will verify participant knowledge and expertise in at-risk youth issues and strategies for raising graduation rates. The NDPS certification program is founded on NDPC’s research-based effective strategies, known youth risk factors, professional learning participation, and field implementation of acquired knowledge.

Begin NDPS Application

Program Eligibility

NDPS participants must either:

  • Be employed or actively engaged in the field of education and/or;
  • Work in the area of at-risk youth services or in a similar setting.

Application and Program Requirement

NDPS participants must:

  • Complete and submit the NDPS application electronically.
    • The application and processing fee is $350.00 and includes a one-year National Dropout Prevention Network (NDPN) individual membership. This fee is refundable in the event of non-acceptance to the program.
  • Complete the program’s professional learning requirements.
  • Complete and submit a field project report.
  • Maintain continuous Network membership with the National Dropout Prevention Center.

Completing Professional Learning Requirements

Participants must meet the professional learning requirement of addressing 12 or more of the different research-based effective strategies. This can be met through both:

  • Attendance at NDPS professional learning events
    • Participants may self-select from identified event sessions offered at NDPC conferences and training events. Event sessions are coded with the effective strategy addressed in order to facilitate easy selection by NDPS participants.
    • A transcript report form is provided at the conference and allows participants to maintain a record of sessions attended and strategies addressed. At the conclusion of the event, the transcript report forms is submitted to the registration desk or emailed to Annette Bassett at

Professional learning costs such as event registration, travel, and online professional development courses are the responsibility of the program participant.

Completing and Submitting the Field Project Report

Certification Benefits

NDPS certificate holders will:

  • Receive documentation of current and research-based expertise in multiple areas of dropout prevention and at-risk youth services from NDPC, the nation’s leading dropout prevention organization
  • Be recognized on NDPC’s website,, the nation’s leading resource for dropout prevention information, as having completed the NDPS certification program
  • Share dropout prevention expertise and achievements through NDPC’s posting of field project reports
  • Receive discounts offered to members of the National Dropout Prevention Network

 Application and Program Requirements

The NDPS professional learning requirement can be met by attending NDPC conference event sessions sufficient to address 12 or more different research-based effective strategies. Participants may self-select from identified event sessions offered at any NDPC training event such as the annual National Dropout Prevention Conference, the annual At-Risk Youth National FORUM, or the annual National Forum on Dropout Prevention for Native and Tribal Communities. Beginning January 1, 2015, all NDPC/N event sessions will be coded to various effective strategies to facilitate easy selection by NDPS participants. Professional learning costs such as event registration, travel, and online professional development courses are the responsibility of the participant.

The NDPS field project requirement may be met by either a program submission to the NDPC Model Program Database or submission of a Field Project Report, both of which will be shared worldwide with other practitioners via the NDPC website.

Upon program admission, participants will receive detailed instructions for professional learning participation, field project completion, and program completion.

For those wanting to learn more about the field project requirement, check out this video presentation and accompanying PowerPoint. Please submit your field projects to Annette Bassett,

NDPS Field Project Presentation, presented by Holly Mauney, February 2017,

NDPS certification is issued by the National Dropout Prevention Center for a three-year validity period and is renewable by participation in four or more professional learning sessions and maintenance of NDPN membership during the certification period. This may be obtained through conference and event attendance. Please contact NDPC with questions about maintaining certification.

Begin Application

Questions about the program? Contact us at

Certified Dropout Prevention Specialists

Certified Dropout Prevention Specialists complete a professional learning program founded in the Center’s 15 Effective Dropout Prevention Strategies, document their experience by completion of a job-embedded field project, and server as a national resource for others who work with at-risk youth.

Meet the Certified Dropout Prevention Specialists, and access their Field Project Reports.

National Dropout Prevention Specialist Certification: In The News

National Dropout Prevention Center/Network Unites Efforts in Combatting Dropout | July 2016

National Dropout Prevention Network Recognizes Nine Graduates of Its National Dropout Prevention Specialist Certification Program | February 2016

National Dropout Prevention Network Celebrates First Graduates of Its National Dropout Prevention Specialist Certification Program | December 2015