Professional Certification: Curriculum

The Forum on Education Abroad is the only Standards Development Organization (SDO) for the field of education abroad. Recognized as an SDO by the U.S. Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission, The Forum develops and disseminates Standards of Good Practice in order to promote quality education abroad for students who participate in programs.


The Forum Professional Certification in Education Abroad Curriculum is based upon the recognized Standards of Good Practice.

Certification in education abroad validates fundamental knowledge of the Standards of Good Practice for Education Abroad, recognizes the ability to articulate and to apply the Standards; establishes advanced capabilities in analysis and synthesis of the Standards; and demonstrates a commitment to professional excellence and ethical conduct.

The Certification curriculum comprises six modules plus a Culminating Project based upon the Standards of Good Practice. Each module consists of a workshop led by a Forum Trained Facilitator and Standards Assignments. The Standards Assignments are accessed and submitted online. All Modules are also available online.

Module 1 must be completed first; Modules 2-6 can be completed in any sequence. All modules are designed to complement each other and build toward the Culminating Project.

  • Module 1: Framing the Standards of Good Practice
  • Module 2: Program Design
  • Module 3: Program Management: From Implementation to Evaluation
  • Module 4: Health, Safety and Well-Being
  • Module 5: Student Learning & Development I: Advising & Orientations
  • Module 6: Student Learning & Development II: Reflection, Integration & Assessment
  • Final Culminating Project


The program is designed to be individualized, self-paced and flexible. However, the Certification Program must be completed within 12 months after your first workshop. Provided that at least 70% of the program has been successfully completed, a one-time extension may be petitioned in case of extenuating circumstances.


Forum Workshops are offered on a regular basis across the U.S. and around the world, and in conjunction with The Forum’s Annual Conference and Biennial European Conference. While workshops are open to all education abroad professionals, participants seeking Certification must also complete the Standards Assignments related to the content of each workshop.

Accelerated Residency

The Professional Certification Program can also be completed through the Accelerated Residency. This three-day residency offers the opportunity to attend all six Standards of Good Practice workshops. It provides a unique opportunity to learn and collaborate with colleagues in the field and intensely focus on professional development. The cost of the Accelerated Residency is the same. Attendees must cover transportation to/from the host site, hotel, and meals.

Virtual Cohort

The Professional Certification Program can also be completed through the Virtual Cohort. This cohort provides a structure and the unique opportunity to learn and collaborate with colleagues in the field for an entire academic year. Three live-virtual workshops are offered during the fall semester and three workshops in the spring. Office hours are provided in between each workshop to allow you to connect with others and discuss any challenges you might encounter when completing your Professional Certification Assignments. The cost of the Virtual Cohort is the same and participants interested in the cohort are encouraged to submit their application before the first workshop in the fall.

Standards Assignments

The specially-designed Standards Assignments relate to the content of the Standards of Good Practice and provide the means to evaluate your ability to articulate and apply the Standards. The Assignments require participants to apply what they learn to a variety of education abroad organizational and institutional contexts, and provide opportunities for real world application. Standards Assignments are evaluated by Forum Certification Assessors who are trained and appointed by The Forum.

Sample: Module 1 Assignments

Revision & Resubmission

All Standards Assignments will be reviewed for completeness and attention to detail.  If the assignment is deemed insufficient, it will be returned for resubmission before being sent to the Forum Certification Assessors. Participants who do not complete Assignments successfully will be given specific feedback to assist them to revise their responses. The revised assignments will be resubmitted and evaluated by Forum Certification Assessors. This process will continue until the participant achieves a successful result on all of the Standards Assignments.

Culminating Project

The Culminating Project is submitted after all of the modules have been successfully completed. It requires to draw upon all of the Standards in a project that relates directly to professional work in education abroad.


Successful completion of the program results in a professional credential that certifies the participant has demonstrated being able to articulate and apply The Forum Standards of Good Practice for Education Abroad and is a Certified Professional in education abroad.

Certification Maintenance

Certification maintenance is achieved by demonstrating continued professional development related to education abroad and the Standards of Good Practice for Education Abroad. This includes participating in a wide range of possible activities, including but not limited to continuing education, professional development, service, scholarship, program development and assessment.

Code of Ethics

Participants must understand and agree to abide by The Forum’s Code of Ethics for Education Abroad. They must also agree to exemplify high standards of honesty and integrity by maintaining the confidentiality of the contents of the Standards Assignments, including the questions and responses.

Logo of Sara's Wish Foundation, which includes the name of the organization and a photo of Sara Schewe smiling
Scholarship support for the Professional Certification Program is provided by membership and a generous donation from Sara’s Wish Foundation.


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