Development of a New National Intervener Certificate

Posted on November 19, 2014


Jay Gense  NCDB Project Director

At the request of OSEP, and consistent with NCDB’s Intervener Services Recommendation (NCDB, 2012a) to “expand opportunities for interveners to obtain a state or national certificate or credential,” NCDB, in partnership with the National Deaf-Blind TA Network, is developing a National Intervener Certificate for individuals who can currently demonstrate competencies as interveners in educational settings.

Why is this certificate needed?

Prior to developing the recommendations, NCDB conducted a number of surveys and interviews to gather data about the current status of intervener services across the country.  One of the things we learned is that there are currently two accepted models of intervener training being used in the United States:

1)  online university courses with local support from state deaf-blind projects and

2)  comprehensive programs operated by state deaf-blind projects. 

Our data indicated that both of these types of programs are highly valued by the majority of professionals who responded to our surveys (Malloy, Parker, & Gense, 2012).

The data also indicated widespread support for certification or credentialing of interveners (NCDB, 2012b).  The two primary advantages identified were: (a) to promote awareness and recognition of interveners and (b) to help ensure consistent training and a standardized knowledge and skill set.

Currently, there is a National Intervener Credential offered by the National Resource Center for Paraeducators (NRCP).  The credential can be applied for by interveners who complete the Intervener Training Program in Deafblindness at Utah State University.  However, because the credential requires a “a minimum of 10 hours of credited coursework from an Institution of Higher Education” (NRCP, no date), interveners who complete training offered by a state deaf-blind project, as well as those who are already working in the field (who did not attend USU), are not eligible to apply.

Due to the fact that there are numerous interveners who are not eligible for the NRCP credential, NCDB recommended that options for certification or credentialing be expanded.  The current project to develop a new national certificate carries out that recommendation.

What will the new certificate be like?

Although the details are still in development, this new national certificate will involve a review process that will allow candidates to demonstrate their mastery of CEC’s specialization knowledge and skills for paraeducators who are interveners for individuals with deaf-blindness.  An applicant’s documentation of the competencies, using a specified portfolio process, will be independently reviewed and certification-related recommendations will be made. 

Who will be eligible to apply for the certificate?

The option to apply for this National Intervener Certificate will be available to individuals who have received intervener training offered by a variety of entities, including but not limited to, state and local agencies, State or Multi-State Deaf-Blind Projects, IHE programs, or a combination of training entities.  It will also be available to those currently working as interveners who are able to demonstrate competency, regardless of training background.

Is the new certificate meant to replace the NRCP National Intervener Credential?

The certificate is not intended to replace the credential currently available through NRCP.  In fact, we anticipate that some interveners will wish to attain both the certificate and the credential.

How will the new certificate be developed?

A workgroup is currently in place to help shape the development of this certification option, including creation of the portfolio that will outline how the CEC competencies are to be demonstrated.  The group includes colleagues from State and Multi-State Deaf-Blind Projects, as well as representatives from higher education programs and OSEP. 

What does all this mean for the future of intervener training?

The development of a new national intervener certificate is not meant to promote one model of training over another.  As noted above, eligibility to apply for the certificate is open to interveners who have completed any type of training program or who are already working as interveners. Obtaining the certificate will be based on demonstration of competencies met.  Efforts related to the development of additional training programs, identifying characteristics of high-quality programs, and creating resources to support training programs are also ongoing and many experts and agencies, including NCDB, are deeply engaged in this important work.

More information will be available about this new national certificate, how one may apply, and the process for demonstrating competence in the coming weeks and months.


Council for Exceptional Children [CEC]. (2009). Specialization knowledge and skill set for paraeducators who are interveners for individuals with deaf-blindness. In, What every special educator must know: Ethics, standards, and guidelines, 6th ed., pp. 195–201. Arlington, VA: CEC

Malloy, P., Parker, A., & Gense, J. (2012). Moving forward with intervener services recommendations: Development of intervener training modules. Deaf-Blind Perspectives, 19(1), 11-14. Retrieved from

National Consortium on Deaf-Blindness. (2012a). Recommendations for improving intervener services. Retrieved from

National Consortium on Deaf-Blindness. (2012b). Intervener certification/credentialing. Intervener Services Data Summary. Retrieved from

National Resource Center for Paraeducators [NRCP]. (no date). National intervener credential. Retrieved November 11, 2014 from

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