Top 11 Independent Contractor Certifications
This article provides an overview of the best certifications for independent contractors to increase their professional credibility and boost their earning potential.
Updated 17 min read
Certifications are an important tool for independent contractors to demonstrate their knowledge and experience in a particular field or profession. They can help independent contractors stand out from the competition by proving that they have the skills and qualifications necessary to do the job. Additionally, certifications may provide access to better paying jobs, as employers may be more likely to hire someone who has been certified in a particular area of expertise. Finally, certifications can help independent contractors build credibility with potential clients and customers, as it shows that they are knowledgeable and experienced in their chosen field.
This article reviews some of the top certifications for Independent Contractors and explains how they can help to advance an independent contractor's career.
What are Independent Contractor Certifications?
Independent contractor certification is a designation that is earned by individuals or businesses who have met certain standards in terms of their ability to perform tasks as an independent contractor. This certification is typically offered by professional organizations or other industry-related entities and provides recognition for those who have proven their expertise and professionalism as independent contractors.
The benefits of obtaining independent contractor certification can be substantial, both for the individual or business seeking the designation and for the clients they serve. By being certified, individuals and businesses can demonstrate their commitment to quality work and professionalism, which can help them stand out from competitors in the marketplace. Additionally, having this certification can help qualify for higher rates and more desirable contracts with clients. Finally, some states require independent contractors to have a certain level of certification before they are allowed to work in certain industries. Having this certification can help ensure that individuals are compliant with these regulations.
Pro Tip: Make sure to research the requirements for independent contractor certification in your state or region. This will ensure that you are meeting all of the legal requirements and give you an advantage when competing for contracts.
Top 11 Independent Contractor Certifications
Here’s our list of the best certifications available to Independent Contractors today.
1. Certified Independent Contractor (CIC)
A Certified Independent Contractor (CIC) is a designation given to independent contractors who have successfully completed a certification process. This certification is designed to provide assurance to employers that the contractor has the necessary skills and experience to perform the job they are hired for. The CIC designation is issued by an independent organization and can be used as proof of a contractor’s qualifications when applying for jobs or contracts.
The process of becoming a CIC typically involves completing an application, passing an examination, and providing proof of professional experience and/or education. Depending on the organization offering the certification, it may take anywhere from several weeks to several months to complete the process.
To become certified, you must first find an organization that offers CIC certification. You can search online for organizations that offer CIC certification or contact your local business associations or chambers of commerce for more information. Once you have found an organization that offers CIC certification, you will need to complete their application process and pay any associated fees. After submitting your application, you will need to pass their exam in order to receive your certification.
The cost of becoming a CIC varies depending on the organization offering the certification. Generally speaking, it can range from $50-$500 USD depending on the level of certification being sought after and any additional services offered by the certifying body.
2. Certified Professional Contractor (CPC)
Certified Professional Contractor (CPC) is a certification program designed to help contractors demonstrate their commitment to professional excellence and customer satisfaction. This certification is offered through the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).
It typically takes between four to six months to complete the CPC program, depending on the individual’s knowledge and experience in the industry. To get certified, applicants must first complete a comprehensive online application and submit it along with supporting documents. Once approved, they must then pass an exam that covers topics such as business management, financial management, safety practices, legal compliance, and customer service.
The cost of becoming a Certified Professional Contractor varies depending on the state in which you are applying. Generally speaking, it costs between $400-$600 for the application fee plus additional fees for any required courses or exams.
Once certified, contractors are eligible for discounts on NAHB products and services as well as access to exclusive networking opportunities with other professionals in the industry. They also gain recognition from potential clients who may be more likely to hire them due to their certification status.
3. Certified Freelance Consultant (CFC)
A Certified Freelance Consultant (CFC) is a professional certification for independent consultants who provide services to clients. This certification is designed to give freelancers the skills and knowledge needed to be successful in their chosen field.
The CFC program is offered through the Association of Professional Freelance Consultants (APFC). To become certified, applicants must have at least three years of experience as a freelance consultant and pass an exam. The exam covers topics such as project management, business strategy, client relations, and marketing.
The process of becoming a CFC typically takes about six months to complete. Applicants must first submit an application form and pay a fee of $100 USD. Once accepted into the program, applicants must then take the online exam, which consists of multiple-choice questions related to freelance consulting. After passing the exam, applicants will receive their CFC certificate.
The cost of becoming a Certified Freelance Consultant varies depending on the applicant's experience level and other factors such as location and type of service provided. Generally speaking, it can cost anywhere from $500-$1,500 USD to become certified.
4. Certified Self-Employed Professional (CSEP)
Certified Self-Employed Professional (CSEP) is a certification program that is designed to help self-employed professionals demonstrate their competency and expertise in their chosen field. It is administered by the International Association of Self-Employed Professionals (IASEP).
The CSEP certification process involves taking an online assessment, which consists of multiple choice questions related to the self-employed professional’s industry. After passing the assessment, applicants must submit a portfolio that demonstrates their experience and knowledge in the field. The portfolio should include examples of work, client testimonials, and other relevant information.
The entire process typically takes 4-6 weeks to complete. Applicants will receive notification of their status within 2 weeks after submitting their application.
The cost for the CSEP certification varies depending on the type of membership you choose. A basic membership costs $99 per year and includes access to all CSEP resources, discounts on IASEP events, and more. A premium membership costs $249 per year and includes additional benefits such as access to exclusive webinars, networking opportunities, and discounts on services from IASEP partners.
5. Registered Independent Contractor (RIC)
A Registered Independent Contractor (RIC) is an individual who has registered with the IRS as a self-employed business owner. This registration allows them to be taxed as an independent contractor, rather than as an employee.
It takes approximately two weeks to register as a RIC after completing the necessary paperwork and submitting it to the IRS. The paperwork includes Form SS-4 (Application for Employer Identification Number), Form 1040 Schedule C (Profit or Loss from Business), and Form W-9 (Request for Taxpayer Identification Number and Certification).
In order to get registered, you must have a valid Social Security Number or Employer Identification Number (EIN). You will also need to provide proof of your business activity such as invoices, contracts, or other documents that demonstrate that you are conducting business activities.
The cost of registering as a RIC depends on the state in which you reside. Generally, it costs between $50-$100 to register with the IRS. Additionally, some states may require additional licensing fees or taxes in order to operate as a RIC.
6. Accredited Independent Contractor (AIC)
Accredited Independent Contractor (AIC) is a classification of independent contractor that has been approved by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). AICs are typically used by companies to hire contractors who are not employees.
In order to become an AIC, the individual must meet certain criteria set forth by the IRS. This includes having a valid Social Security Number, filing taxes as a self-employed individual, and providing proof of business insurance. In addition, the contractor must demonstrate that they have the necessary skills and experience for the job they are being hired for.
The process of becoming an AIC typically takes several weeks or months to complete. The first step is to register with the IRS as a self-employed individual and obtain a valid Social Security Number. After this is done, business insurance must be obtained and proof of it provided to the IRS. Finally, documents such as tax returns and contracts should be filed with the IRS in order to prove that you meet all of their requirements for becoming an AIC.
The cost of becoming an AIC varies depending on factors such as how much business insurance is needed and what type of documents need to be filed with the IRS. Generally speaking, however, it can cost anywhere from several hundred dollars up to thousands of dollars in some cases.
7. Professional Independent Contractor (PIC)
A Professional Independent Contractor (PIC) is a self-employed individual who provides services to a business or organization. They are not considered employees of the company and do not receive benefits such as health insurance, vacation pay, or sick leave. Instead, they are paid on an hourly or project basis for their work.
The process for obtaining a PIC status can vary depending on the type of business you are working with and the country in which you are located. Generally, it involves completing an application form, providing proof of your qualifications and experience, and paying any applicable fees. Depending on the company’s requirements, you may also need to provide references from previous employers or clients.
The timeline for obtaining PIC status can vary from a few days to several weeks depending on the complexity of the application process and how quickly the company processes your paperwork.
The cost of obtaining PIC status varies depending on the company’s requirements and fees associated with processing your application. Generally, there is an initial fee that covers administrative costs such as background checks and verifying your credentials. In addition, some companies may charge additional fees for ongoing support services such as tax filing assistance or access to exclusive discounts and resources.
8. Certified Independent Business Owner (CIBO)
A Certified Independent Business Owner (CIBO) is a designation that recognizes entrepreneurs who have achieved success in their business ventures. It is awarded by the National Association of Small Business Owners (NASB).
To become a CIBO, an individual must meet certain criteria such as having been in business for at least three years, having an annual revenue of at least $250,000, and having a minimum of five employees. The applicant must also demonstrate a commitment to ethical business practices and provide evidence of financial stability.
The process of becoming a CIBO typically takes between four to six weeks. To begin the process, applicants must submit an application form along with supporting documents such as financial statements and tax returns. Once the application is approved, the applicant will be required to complete an online course on business ethics and management practices. After completing the course, applicants must pass an exam to become certified.
The cost for becoming a CIBO varies depending on the size of the business and other factors. However, it typically costs between $500-$1,000 USD to apply for certification.
9. Master Independent Contractor (MIC)
Master Independent Contractor (MIC) is a type of business entity that provides services to other businesses. It is similar to a sole proprietorship, but with more legal protection and tax benefits. MICs are not employees of the companies they serve, but rather independent contractors who provide services on their own terms.
The process of becoming an MIC can take anywhere from a few days to several weeks, depending on the complexity of your business structure and the paperwork required. Generally, you will need to register your business with the relevant government agencies, obtain necessary licenses and permits, and set up a separate bank account for your business funds. You may also need to purchase insurance coverage for yourself and your business.
Once you have registered your business as an MIC, you will be able to start providing services to other companies or individuals. The cost of becoming an MIC varies depending on the complexity of your business structure and the paperwork required. Generally speaking, it can cost anywhere from a few hundred dollars up to several thousand dollars in legal fees and other expenses associated with setting up a new business entity.
10. National Association of Professional Independent Contractors (NAPIC)
The National Association of Professional Independent Contractors (NAPIC) is a non-profit organization that provides independent contractors with access to resources, education, and advocacy. NAPIC was founded in 1993 and is dedicated to helping independent contractors succeed in their business endeavors.
It takes about two weeks to get NAPIC membership. The process involves filling out an application form and providing proof of identification, such as a driver’s license or passport. You will also need to provide proof of your professional credentials, such as certificates or degrees. Once the application is approved, you will receive a welcome packet with your membership card and other materials.
To get NAPIC membership, you must pay an annual fee of $99 USD. This fee covers the cost of membership benefits such as access to educational resources, discounts on products and services, and access to legal advice from experienced professionals. Additionally, members have access to networking opportunities with other independent contractors through the NAPIC website.
In addition to the annual fee, there may be additional fees for special events or services offered by NAPIC. It is important to read all information carefully before signing up for any additional services or events offered by the organization.
11. International Association of Self-Employed Professionals (IASEP).
The International Association of Self-Employed Professionals (IASEP) is a non-profit organization that provides resources and support to self-employed professionals around the world. The organization was founded in 2002 with the mission of helping self-employed professionals succeed in their businesses.
Getting IASEP membership is easy and takes only a few minutes. All you need to do is fill out an online application form on the IASEP website. Once your application is approved, you will be sent an invoice for your membership fee. The cost of membership depends on the type of membership you choose, but generally ranges from $50 to $100 per year.
Once you become a member, you will have access to numerous benefits, including discounts on products and services, networking opportunities, educational resources, and more. You can also take advantage of IASEP’s mentorship program which provides one-on-one guidance from experienced professionals in your field.
In addition to these benefits, IASEP members are also eligible for exclusive discounts on conferences and events related to self-employment. These events provide invaluable insight into the latest trends in entrepreneurship and help members stay up to date with industry developments.
Overall, becoming a member of IASEP is a great way for self-employed professionals to gain access to valuable resources and support that can help them succeed in their businesses.
Do You Really Need a Independent Contractor Certificate?
Whether or not you need an independent contractor certificate depends on the type of work you are doing and the jurisdiction in which you are working. In some jurisdictions, an independent contractor certificate is required in order to legally provide services as an independent contractor. The purpose of the certificate is to prove that you have met all the legal requirements to be classified as an independent contractor.
If you are working in a jurisdiction where such a certificate is required, it is important that you obtain one in order to protect yourself from potential legal problems down the line. Without a valid certificate, your status as an independent contractor may be called into question and you could be liable for back taxes or other penalties.
In addition to proving your legal status, having a valid certificate can also help ensure that clients and employers know that they are dealing with a professional who meets all local regulations. This can help create more trust between parties and make it easier for them to do business together.
Overall, whether or not you need an independent contractor certificate will depend on where you are working and what kind of services you are providing. If it is legally required in your area, then it is important that you obtain one in order to protect yourself from any potential legal issues down the line.
FAQs About Independent Contractor Certifications
1. What is an independent contractor certification?
Answer: An independent contractor certification is a credential that verifies that an individual has the necessary knowledge and skills to work as an independent contractor. It typically involves completing a course or program, passing an exam, and/or obtaining licensure from the appropriate government entity.
2. How do I get certified as an independent contractor?
Answer: The process of becoming certified as an independent contractor varies depending on the requirements in your state or country. Generally, you will need to complete a course or program related to independent contracting, pass an exam, and/or obtain licensure from the appropriate government entity.
3. Are there any special qualifications for becoming certified as an independent contractor?
Answer: Yes, in some cases there are special qualifications that must be met in order to become certified as an independent contractor. This may include having a certain amount of experience in the field and/or being able to demonstrate specific skillsets related to the job role you wish to pursue.
4. How long does it take to become certified as an independent contractor?
Answer: The length of time it takes to become certified as an independent contractor varies depending on the requirements in your state or country. Generally, it can take anywhere from several weeks to several months before all requirements have been met and you receive your certification.
5. Is there a fee associated with obtaining certification as an independent contractor?
Answer: Yes, most states or countries require payment of a fee when applying for certification as an independent contractor. Fees vary depending on the type of certification and where you are applying for it; however, they can range from $50-$500 USD or more depending on the complexity of the process required for obtaining certification in your area.