Family and Community Services

Description of the Assessment/Certification

The Family and Community Services Assessment and Certification are

  • driven by industry standards;
  • based on relevant content standards and consistent with the National Standards for Family and Consumer Sciences Education and the National Career Clusters Initiative;
  • appropriate to validate achievement of competencies related to family and community services;
  • useful in a broad range of education and employment settings, such as secondary and post-secondary education, community-based programs, non-profit organizations, and employer-based human resource and staff development programs; and
  • advantaged to utilize a gold-standard, computer-based testing platform format that provides for valid and reliable competency measurement, and a reporting mechanism for data-driven program improvement, accountability, and individual remediation and acceleration.

Uses of the Assessment and Certification

The assessment and certification are used to:
  • document exit-level achievement in rigorous secondary programs and lower division post-secondary courses;
  • satisfy federal accountability reporting mandates required by Perkins IV legislation;
  • facilitate seamless articulation, placement, and credit-by exam within post-secondary institutions;
  • validate competencies required for employment at the pre-professional and/or paraprofessional level; and
  • provide an industry-recognized certification.

Assessment and Certification Resources

Alignment Matrices
21st Century Student Outcomes Career Ready Practices (CCTC) Employability Skills Framework

* Bulletin includes detailed information on assessment design, scoring, content, sample test items, and resources)

Family and Community Services Fundamentals Resource Directory 

  • Click here - Alignment to the Employability Skills Framework (US Dept of Education)


It is anticipated that the Family and Community Services assessment and certification will facilitate employment in early career ladder positions and promote continuing education at the post-secondary level preparing for careers associated with:
  • child, youth, and family services;
  • community services;
  • personal and home care services;
  • elder care services;
  • social services;
  • volunteer services; and
  • religious ministries and services.

Scoring Information

Once the assessment is submitted, results are immediately available to the test candidate. The results provide an overall percentage score, a breakdown of scores corresponding to domains, and the indication whether pre-professional certification was achieved. The national cut score for pre-professional certification eligibility is established annually by AAFCS. Scores can be used to demonstrate competency, pinpoint weaknesses or gaps in performance, improve programs and curricula, and demonstrate accountability to stakeholders. Through articulation agreements, scores may be used as the basis for advanced placement and/or credit-by-exam at post-secondary institutions. Thus, local and state entities have latitude for independently establishing passing or qualifying scores for other purposes.

Pre-Professional Certification Score:  Click here for the list of current certification scores

Developed by National Leaders and Professionals in Family and Community Services

AAFCS has engaged the assistance of a broad range of esteemed family and community services professionals, practitioners, and educators from across the nation to assist in identifying relevant industry standards and to develop the assessment instrument. Recognizing the value of a solid assessment tool in assuring that individuals are prepared with the knowledge and skills to provide quality services to individuals, families, and communities, the following stakeholders participated on the development panel for the assessment and certification:
  • Sarah Shirley, U.S. Air National Guard Chief of Chaplains Office, Alexandria, VA
  • Mary Bold, National Council on Family Relations, Minneapolis, MN
  • Kirsten Bays, Family Choices Adoption Services, Charleston, IL
  • Barbara Fiese, Family Resiliency Center, Urbana, IL
  • Tammy Gray, Arkansas Children's Trust Fund, Little Rock, AR
  • Lynda McGehee, Area Agency on Aging, Monroe, LA
  • Kelly Niles-Yocum, Association for Gerontology in Higher Education, Worcester, MA
  • Andy Stoker, Children, Youth, and Family Ministries, United Methodist Church, Plano, TX
  • Tammy Henderson, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK
  • Pamela Schulze, University of Akron, Akron, OH
  • Geralyn Dries, Smyrna High School, Smyrna, DE
  • Kendra Naef Scherg, Kimberly High School, Kimberly, WI

Further Information

For further information please contact AAFCS at or 703-636-7641

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