National Dropout Prevention Center Trauma-Skilled Specialist Certification Program

The National Dropout Prevention Center (NDPC) is pleased to offer the Trauma-Skilled Specialist (TSS) Certification Program for educators and at-risk youth workers. The certification verifies knowledge of the Trauma-Skilled Schools Model and expertise to share the model with others within the certificate holder’s place of employment. Trauma-Skilled Specialist Certification is founded on NDPC’s Trauma-Skilled Schools Model, a research-based guide for structuring school climate, modifying instructional practices, and imparting educator skills to improve achievement and graduation outcomes for trauma impacted and adversely stressed students.

Program Eligibility

Trauma-Skilled Specialist 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 a similar setting.

Application and Program Requirement

Trauma-Skilled Specialist participants must:

  • Complete and submit the TSS application electronically.
  • Pay an application and processing fee of $450.00 which includes a one-year individual membership to the National Dropout Prevention Center. This fee must be paid or confirmed by purchase order within 30 days of completing TSS initial training and is refundable in the event of non-acceptance to the program.
  • Complete training in the TSS Model at either a Trauma-Skilled Schools Conference or Institute offered by NDPC.
  • Complete and submit an acceptable instructional unit in a component of the TSS Model and verify delivery of that instructional unit.
  • Pass an online examination to verify knowledge of the Trauma-Skilled Schools Model.

All costs incurred to participate in a Trauma-Skilled Schools Model training are in addition to the application and processing fee. Please note it is the responsibility of the participant to register and pay for training events, registration, and associated travel.  

Completing and Submitting a Trauma-Skilled Schools Instructional Unit or Activity

Trauma-Skilled Schools Unit Plan Template and Instructions (download)

Trauma-Skilled Specialist certificate holders will:

  • Receive documentation of knowledge and expertise in NDPC’s Trauma-Skilled Schools Model that will enable them to support the implementation of the model in their employment setting.
  • Be recognized on NDPC’s website,, the nation’s leading resource for dropout prevention information, as having completed the Trauma-Skilled Specialist certification program.
  • Become part of an interactive virtual community of Trauma-Skilled Specialists for sharing of ideas and strategies relative to the implementation of the TSS Model.
  • Receive discounts offered to members of the National Dropout Prevention Center.

Application and Program Requirements

Upon program admission, participants will receive detailed instructions for participating in TSS Model training offered by NDPC, for completing the instructional unit requirement, and program completion.

Questions about the program? Contact Nancy Nielsen at   

Upcoming Trauma-Skilled Conferences and Institutes

The National Dropout Prevention Center provides Conferences and Institutes that offer credit toward the Trauma-Skilled Specialist Certification at various dates and locations around the country.  Conferences and Institutes are scheduled in locations and on dates to meet local and regional demand. Registration at these events is open to individuals or groups seeking Certification as Trauma-Skilled Specialist.

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