Over a seven-year period, three independent entities (AAGP*, GPCI® and USF) provided knowledge, data and psychometric expertise to identification and validation the competencies and skills a grant professional should possess in order to fulfill their duties and obligations within the field of grantsmanship. A competency is a broad area of knowledge in a discipline or profession. A skill is the behavior that demonstrates that competency.

More specifically, the process to identify and validate the competencies and skills included the following data collection and validation tasks:

1999 – 2000 Documented conversations with approximately ten experts in the field.

2000 Informal electronic survey completed by the Credentialing Committee in 2000, response rate of 18.

2001 A Survey of Grant Professionals was distributed at the 2001 National AAGP Conference in Orlando Florida, 125 attendees, 50 returned surveys.

2003 “Identifying Professional Competencies” by Deanna Nurnberg (Journal of the AAGP, Spring 2003).

2003-2004 AAGP Professional Growth and Development Committee two-year review of the tasks associated with grantsmanship.

2004 AAGP Credentialing Committee Stakeholder Education Meeting to identify core competencies, a two-day workshop facilitated by the University of South Florida. In attendance 16 content experts.

2004 GPCI® incorporated in the State of California.

2004-2005 Presentation of competencies at two AAGP conferences (Kansas City and Boston), along with solicitation and consensus building from workshop presenters (approximately 30 participants).

2005 Literature Review conducted.

2006 Inaugural development team of twelve content experts who met for two days at the University of South Florida. The inaugural team, who represented major regions of the United States, consisted of school district grants office directors, consultants, authors, an educational research consultant, president of a family resource center’s grants section, and policy expert on juvenile justice, among others.

Job Analysis and external validation by approximately 1,300 grant professionals through a survey of AAGP members and grant professionals not associated with AAGP. The survey was also sent to other stakeholders with knowledge of the field and likely impacted by certification. Survey return rate of 40%.

Second internal validation of the external validation by a subject matter team at USF. Four inaugural team members preserved historical perspective, and three new experts contributed significantly to revisions informed by the survey results. The validation team focused their attention on those survey items outside acceptable statistical parameters.
Competencies and skills for a grant professional certification were validated using standard psychometric protocols. These “comps and skills” represent the first step toward the development and adoption of industry-wide standards for the grants community.

2007 Hundreds of grants professionals took various forms of a pilot test and provided invaluable feedback on how to improve the questions. Two panels of experts, one in Portland, OR and one in Washington, DC, convened to rewrite, refine and in some cases replace test items. This process culminated in final test items and cutoff scores. Registration for the first examination, scheduled for November 10-11, launched in July. In November, over one hundred individuals sat for the first GPC exam in Arlington, VA.

2008 Exams were offered in Chicago, IL; Atlanta, GA and Long Beach, CA.

2009 Exams were offered in Madison, NJ; Ft. Lauderdale, Fl; Middleton, OH and Austin, TX.

2010 Exams were offered in Indianapolis, IN; Washington, DC; Kansas City, KS; Atlanta, GA and St. Pete Beach, FL.

2011 Exams were offered in Nashville, TN; Monroe Township, NJ; Las Vegas, NV; Yellowsprings, OH and Washington, DC.

GPCI® Board suspended the paper and pencil exam after the 11/9/11 exam in Washington DC. This break provided the Exam Development Committee time to develop an electronic version of the exam.

A new literature review was completed by Michael Wells.

2012 GPCI® Board executed a contract with Kryterion on 2/23/2012 to provide electronic software and testing centers for the GPC exam.

The GPCI® Board launched the electronic exam on 6/15/2012. The exam is now available in approximately 500 testing centers across the United States and could be scheduled at the candidates’ convenience.

A total of 13 individuals passed the GPC exam during the last six months of the year.

2013 The GPCI Board publishes their first annual report in an effort to maintain transparency for both current and potential GPCs. This was the first full year of electronic testing with 35 individuals successfully passing the exam. GPCI transitioned to conducting monthly eligibility packet reviews and scoring exams. Our first public board member, Scott Harper, President of the Greater Conroe Chamber of Commerce, was appointed to the board. Four new essay prompts were developed.

2014 GPCI moved to a quarterly re-certification process for previous cohorts to be in alignment with electronic test takers. An adobe fillable form for the certification maintenance program (CMP) was developed and launched. GPCI established an account through the AmazonSmile Foundation for individuals to contribute a portion of their purchased to GPCI. A Grievance and Disciplinary Policy was established. The “Get Certified Sweepstakes” was designed to increase the number of GPCs within chapters. Twenty-two individuals passed the GPC exam in 2014.

2015 A total of 32 individuals successfully passed the exam. GPCI launched the “31 Days of GPC” in conjunction with International Grant Professionals Week. GPCI appointed a new public board member, George Suttles of US Trust, Bank of America Private Wealth Management. A GPC Retirement Policy was developed and announced to encourage retiring GPCs to maintain their status.

2016 A total of 37 individuals successfully passed the exam. Since transitioning to electronic testing in 2012, GPCI recognized the 100th test taker in 2016. GPCI invested in a total revamp of the website. A job analysis process was begun in late 2016 as the first step in reviewing the exams current competencies and skills.

2017 A total of 36 individuals successfully passed the GPC exam. The board of directors voted to transition from a six-month eligibility window to a 90-day window in an effort to reduce the amount of time a candidate has from application to becoming credentialed. This went into effect on July 1, 2017.  In late 2017 the board conducted a session to update the multiple choice section of the exam.

2018 A total of 37 individuals successfully passed the GPC exam. The GPCs involved in updating the exam completed a cut score session and the board approved the new cut score for the multiple choice section. The new multiple choice exam was rolled out in March 2018. The GPCI board worked with an accreditation consultant from Seacrest (www.seacrestcompany.com) to update policies and procedures and complete a National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) accreditation application for submission to the Institute for Credentialing Excellence (ICE) (to be submitted in early 2019). NCCA accreditation is based on 24 credentialing standards with multiple essential elements within each standard. Standards cover a variety of topics under four key areas: Purpose, Governance, and Resources; Responsibilities to Stakeholders; Examinations; and Maintaining Certification. GPCI also implemented an intensive marketing campaign to increase awareness of the credential across the nation.

GPCI submitted its application in January of 2019 and received our provisional accreditation on May 31, 2019. See press release here.

For more information about grant credentialing, please email info@grantcredential.org

* American Association of Grant Professionals